State QSO Parties

I spent a couple of hours again this weekend playing with the N1MM contest logging software and getting back into the contesting groove. My new K1EL USB interface continues to work flawlessly, even on my ancient XP laptop ... gone are the occasional keying stutters produced when previously keying from the serial port. N1MM is one of the most widely-used contest loggers and is freely available for download here. I still run the older 'Classic' version as I don't think my laptop could handle the newer 'N1MM +' edition ... I'll upgrade when I get a newer contesting laptop.

Both the Colorado and the Tennessee State QSO Parties were held this weekend, providing me another round of CW contest practice. Both activities are pretty low-key affairs when it comes to contesting but hey, every bit of practice helps.

I found surprisingly little action in the CO Party, making just 18 contacts ... 12 on 20m CW and 6 on 40m, with 17 sections worked. There seemed to be more activity from TN amateurs though, with 38 QSO's in 33 sections, 28 on 20m and 10 on 40m. All contacts were made on CW. All of the 40m contacts were made several hours before local sunset here, surprising the heck out of me that the W4's could even hear me in broad daylight ... the stations worked must have very quiet locations.

The state QSO parties are a good way to enjoy a short round of contesting without blowing an entire weekend, which I don't think I would really like to endure, and there seems to be at least one or two of them each weekend ... an easy way to ease into contesting or to keep up your on-the-fly contest keyboarding skills.
Steve McDonald, VE7SL, is a regular contributor to and writes from British Columbia, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

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