I’m no contest(er)
So with my PSU fixed I thought I would try my luck in the ARRL 10-meter contest. I have never participated in a contest before, but with 10 meters so hot nowadays I’d thought I’d give it a try. Murphy reared its head, so with the wife and kids all sick there was lots of housework to do and too little time behind the set. But I did sneak in an hour or four over two days. My goal: to practise my CW skills. My thought was that doing many short exchanges would give me enough practice to get a little more fluent with the key. So I started out on Saturday morning answering CQs, but nobody came back to me. Fiddled with my side tone, checked my signal with another receiver, no problems found. After four tries I gave up and went up to the SSB portion. Great fun: one Brazilian after another and my first Argentinian on 10 meters. Great to have the comfort of 100 Watts – makes life a lot easier.
Sunday morning the sunspots were lower, but I did manage a couple of State side stations. But it irked me that I hadn’t logged one CW QSO, so I tried again in the afternoon. Found a strong enough signal from Japan and after the second try it worked. Europe was okay and I did log one Dutch station: PI4TUE, the station of the University of Eindhoven, very close to my place of birth.
I had to stop there, but when I came back I switched to SSB again. Worked some Europeans and then, all of a sudden, CX2DDP. via long path. These kind of QSOs are fun though short and I guess Hector Rubens was as surprised as I was. After 75 QSOs I called it a day, which that was right when the band was closing. I’m not in for the numbers, so I am already happy with so many QSOs. I worked 32 different entities in SSB and six in CW, so a grant total of 38 multiplier points. Indeed, no contest for die-hard contesting hams and I doubt that I will often enter other contests.
But the best thing about this contest was that I got my private language student to do a QSO. He is a 16 year old, very shy boy, whom I teach English on Saturday afternoons. He just graduated from high school and he now goes to polytech, which give us a common interest: electronics. Every week I show him some radio related stuff, so this week it was how a QSO is being done. After showing him the ropes and teaching him the NATO alphabet I let him answer CQs with my call sign. He soon found out that you have to open your mouth and speak slowly, clearly and – when using SSB – loudly. Unfortunately these are traits that most Asians don’t possess. But he found it very “cool” that you could call all the way to Europe so he made an effort and in the end he managed a QSO on his own with JA7BEW. He will soon know more about electronics than I, so the exam for a radio licence will be a piece of cake then. Another ham in the making. Who says contests have no use?
Thanks for the nice story, Fong. I’m a bit more of a contester but also enjoy occaisional DXing and ragchewing. It’s nice that we have many ways (including contesting) in which to get on the air.
vy 73 es gud dx,
Everett, WA USA
Well I do hope you get the CW issue worked out and it was nice that you were able to perk the interest of a new comer to the hobby. Hope the interest continues and he gets his ticket.
Well Mike, it’s probably me that doesn’t understand the TS-440S. My TS-130v has a set side tone of 800 Hz. You zero-beat on the station you want to work, then move 800 Hz lower and you are transmitting on the other one’s frequency and listening 800 Hz lower. I thought the TS-440S works the same way, but the manual simply says to tune in a station and work it.
Contests would stink if it only were the usual 100 or so big guns on all of the time. The little guys like you and I who are mainly in it to make more contacts in our limited free time are what are the contacts for the big guns.
If you are in it to win it, it’s a different story: it may be an obsession, for the rest of us it’s a chance to work more QSOs and more countries/states/regions than we would otherwise.
I’ve made peace with contests/contesters because of that. I just wish there wasn’t a contest/QSO party, etc every single weekend of the year.