NA Sprints, ARRL DX, and other notes

February, like November, is a busy month for contesting:  the CW edition of the NA Sprint leads off the month (along with the Minnesota QSO Party), followed by the phone edition of the NA Sprint the second weekend, and of course, the ARRL DX CW contest on the third weekend.

In short…

NA Sprint CW SO-LP:  claimed 162 x 38 = 6156, preliminary 158 x 38 = 6004.  Four busted QSOs is actually better than I felt at the end.  So, that is good.  Still not happy with the numbers, though.

NA Sprint Phone SO-LP:  claimed 28 x 16 = 448 in 1 hour operating time.  As KE3X told me, his NS score was higher that week!  The phone Sprint is more fun from a bigger station, but really suffers from lack of participation.

ARRL DX SOAB-LP:  claimed 544 x 243 = 396,576 in 14 hours.  This should have been a bit better, but I got sucked into trying to make myself heard in EU on 160 before their sunrise.  Killed almost 60 minutes on 15 QSOs there.  Also only operated about 1-2 hours during prime EU time on each of Sat/Sun morning.  Efforts at getting a run started were a complete failure.  Need. More. Firepower. I was very pleased to work ZM1A on 10 meters, though.

Other notes…

After 17ish years of amateur radio, I finally installed my first 30-meter antenna—a dipole at 35ish feet.  First QSO was ST2AR, so I guess it’s working alright.

A box full of goodies arrived from Down East Microwave this week and I started working on buttoning up the 1296-MHz W1GHZ transverter.  Massive thanks to Ben, N3UM, who lives nearby for sharing his construction notes with me.  Not too far along other than punching and tapping a few holes in a diecast box.  The DEMI box also included a couple of LNA boards that I hope to tune up for 432.

High winds (90 km/h gusts, according the forecast) from Friday night through Saturday night did not manage to topple my FO12 and A50-3S from their perch on the chimney.  I haven’t checked the rotator to see if they still turn, though.  This antenna situation needs to change eventually.

Finally, I also managed to score about 250 feet of RG-213 and 10 feet of LMR-600 from a dumpster-diving excursion.  The LMR will make nice jumpers from the 903 and 1296 transverters to their respective antennas and I can use the RG-213 to replace the RG-8X on some of my HF antennas.

Ethan Miller, K8GU, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Maryland, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

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