Posts Tagged ‘Contesting’

IOTA contest

 


 The Islands on the air contest is sponsored by the Radio Society of Great Britain or RSGB for short. This contest is only 24 hours long and hosts some very nice DX from sometimes remote and DXpedition Islands. If memory serves me correctly I found this year to be more work to pull stations out. The QSB at this end was very deep. At one moment England was there at S5 and then gone. I'm not thinking it was just me as many stations I listened to were asking for report repeats. Oh well, it's all part and parcel of the contesting dream. 


I entered the CW-only category at 100 watts and it was the first time using my new Hustler 4BTV vertical antenna. As everyone has told me and it is true the vertical antenna is a bit noisier than my horizontal End Fed BUT I had better results with the Hustler 4BTV. The very small extra noise with the vertical was taken care of with the noise reduction on the Icom 7610. 


For me, this was not a contest where I was running (calling CQ contest) it was 99% search and pounce. The reason for this was Island stations gave you 15 points compared to 2 points for all other contacts. The Island stations for the most part were running calling CQ contest. With this contest I found it harder to move up the band and bang off contacts and the reason for this was island contacts are big points and they are limited in numbers and that equals pile-ups.
Below is the score summary: 


 


Here are some takeaways of mine from the contest: 


- My CW is improving so the twice-daily practice time is helping. 


- Keeping my butt in the chair even during slow times helped my score. 


- Getting my backside out of bed early on the final day of the contest gave me the rewards of contacting     New Zealand, Austria and Hawaii, along with the 15 bonus points for each.


Contesting with a vertical compared to my End Fed antenna:


- Most all the time if I could hear them I could work them. 


- Omni directional was nice compared to End Fed horizontal directional characteristics. 


-Using the Icom 7610 second receiver to its full potential. I was able to listen to another band with the second receiver. I was not able to do this with the End Fed as I needed the tuner for all bands. I found without using the tuner the receive was very poor with the End Fed.

Where’s My WAZ Certificate?

Guess what! Today, I received (by postal service) this very nice plaque from CQ, for working and confirming all 40 of the worldwide CQ DX Zones.

CQ WAZ NW7US - Mixed

CQ WAZ NW7US – Mixed – Plaque

Many of you wonder, “where are my paper certificates for my WAZ efforts?

At least one, if not all of the following, are reasons why there has been such a long delay in getting paper certificates for the WAZ CQ program:

  1. Paper certificates (blanks) were not available and backordered (Covid, folks).
  2. There is only ONE person doing the lettering (by hand).
  3. The advent of FT8 and FT4 in the WAZ program has SWAMPED the program. There’s a HUGE backlog.

That said, the new CQ WAZ Manager (N4BAA, JOSE CASTILLO) has made the following statement available:

— quote follows —

Effective September 1, 2022, CQ Magazine will no longer provide the Hand Lettered CQ WAZ paper certificate for free.

CQ WAZ AWARD RECIPIENTS HAVE 4 AWARD OPTIONS:

  1. Accept the standard award offering which is a High-Definition PDF file. This file can be printed in color and framed and is very nice. This award is delivered immediately with award letter, thus, no waiting.
  2. Select the traditional CQ WAZ Hand-Lettered award: the cost is $19.00 and includes shipping worldwide. This award option is managed by CQ Magazine and can take up to 180 days to receive.
  3. Select a Level I plaque: 7” x 9” two-tone engraved wood plaque: cost is $57 US / $100 International and includes shipping. Delivery time is under 30 days for US stations and less than 60 days internationally.
  4. Select a Level II plaque: 9” x 12” Floating Etched Acrylic over Black Wood: cost is $91 US / $135 International. and includes shipping.

Here is a video that the administrator has posted, about this:

Delivery time is roughly 30 days for US stations and less than 60 days internationally depending on the actual address.

The intent of this program is to respond to the ever-increasing demand for more options that are still very personalized as well as very elegant.

Not every ham is able to achieve the requirements for a 5BWAZ or 160 Meter plaque, so he is making this offering to everyone!

All questions or inquiries and plaque orders should be directed to the CQ WAZ Manager via email at [email protected] or postal mail via QRZ.com address.

All plaque data will be taken directly from the information provided in your email. The CQ WAZ manager will not be responsible for errors in data supplied by the recipient other than AWARD type and Award number.

To Place Order: send the information below via email to [email protected] or via postal mail to my QRZ.com address and please double-check spelling etc.

Email Subject line should be: “WAZ PLAQUE ORDER – YOUR CALL

Then, provide the following information:

Call Sign:
Desired Name on Plaque:
WAZ AWARD Type
(example: MIXED, RTTY, 15M CW, EME, etc.)
SERIAL NUMBER on award:
Date on Award:
Award Desired:
– Level 1 plaque – $57 US / $100 International
– Level 2 plaque – $91 US / $135 International

There you have it…

73 de NW7US dit dit

 

CQ WPX CW contest….well I started with great hopes!

Intentionally left upside down as this was how things turned out.

 Well here we are it's Monday and as I look back to Friday and the dreams of contest sugar cookies dancing in my head and how things can change! The contest was the CQ WPX CW contest and as of Friday evening I was all ready to give it a decent go. The propagation numbers were not in our favour as the Kp index rolled up to 5 and thus lots of signal QSB.

It was Saturday morning and I was just beginning to call CQ TEST when my dear wife came in and announced "I think I hear water running come and have a listen". Those words are any given day are not what you want to hear. The contest came to a grinding halt and it was taken over by contractors, plumbers and various odds and ends.  I was able to get in and out of the contest but only for very short times. The outcome was a poor showing but a better and upgraded plumbing! 

For the limited time I was in the contest here are some of my take a ways from it:

As said the conditions on Saturday were poor and I found myself calling CQ TEST and as time past with no answer my mind began to wonder. Looking around the shack, looking at the operating desk and icons on the desktop. Then all of a sudden an answer came and I was not at all ready for it. Thus repeats and some frustration. 

I really wanted to work in the contest at improving my run abilities and it was just not happening as I was calling CQ TEST sometime for over 10 minutes with no answer. I then went to search and pounce and did up my score that way. Lesson learned....go to search and pounce when calling CQ TEST is just not happening. 

Murphy did hit me with the plumbing issue as well my own carelessness...for example when I setup my CW macros and tested them before the contest I turned the power out to zero. Well this ham radio guy forgot to turn the power back up to 100 watts and for about 20 minutes I was calling CQ TEST with ZERO output!! To boot the radio have a LARGE meter showing zero out and my LDG tuner has the same. Lesson learned to pay attention and not to wonder. 

Not much else and since this is not a home repair blog I will skip the very expensive plumbing repairs.

Below is the final score. 




CQ WPX CW contest….well I started with great hopes!

Intentionally left upside down as this was how things turned out.

 Well here we are it's Monday and as I look back to Friday and the dreams of contest sugar cookies dancing in my head and how things can change! The contest was the CQ WPX CW contest and as of Friday evening I was all ready to give it a decent go. The propagation numbers were not in our favour as the Kp index rolled up to 5 and thus lots of signal QSB.

It was Saturday morning and I was just beginning to call CQ TEST when my dear wife came in and announced "I think I hear water running come and have a listen". Those words are any given day are not what you want to hear. The contest came to a grinding halt and it was taken over by contractors, plumbers and various odds and ends.  I was able to get in and out of the contest but only for very short times. The outcome was a poor showing but a better and upgraded plumbing! 

For the limited time I was in the contest here are some of my take a ways from it:

As said the conditions on Saturday were poor and I found myself calling CQ TEST and as time past with no answer my mind began to wonder. Looking around the shack, looking at the operating desk and icons on the desktop. Then all of a sudden an answer came and I was not at all ready for it. Thus repeats and some frustration. 

I really wanted to work in the contest at improving my run abilities and it was just not happening as I was calling CQ TEST sometime for over 10 minutes with no answer. I then went to search and pounce and did up my score that way. Lesson learned....go to search and pounce when calling CQ TEST is just not happening. 

Murphy did hit me with the plumbing issue as well my own carelessness...for example when I setup my CW macros and tested them before the contest I turned the power out to zero. Well this ham radio guy forgot to turn the power back up to 100 watts and for about 20 minutes I was calling CQ TEST with ZERO output!! To boot the radio have a LARGE meter showing zero out and my LDG tuner has the same. Lesson learned to pay attention and not to wonder. 

Not much else and since this is not a home repair blog I will skip the very expensive plumbing repairs.

Below is the final score. 




CQ WPX CW contest….well I started with great hopes!

Intentionally left upside down as this was how things turned out.

 Well here we are it's Monday and as I look back to Friday and the dreams of contest sugar cookies dancing in my head and how things can change! The contest was the CQ WPX CW contest and as of Friday evening I was all ready to give it a decent go. The propagation numbers were not in our favour as the Kp index rolled up to 5 and thus lots of signal QSB.

It was Saturday morning and I was just beginning to call CQ TEST when my dear wife came in and announced "I think I hear water running come and have a listen". Those words are any given day are not what you want to hear. The contest came to a grinding halt and it was taken over by contractors, plumbers and various odds and ends.  I was able to get in and out of the contest but only for very short times. The outcome was a poor showing but a better and upgraded plumbing! 

For the limited time I was in the contest here are some of my take a ways from it:

As said the conditions on Saturday were poor and I found myself calling CQ TEST and as time past with no answer my mind began to wonder. Looking around the shack, looking at the operating desk and icons on the desktop. Then all of a sudden an answer came and I was not at all ready for it. Thus repeats and some frustration. 

I really wanted to work in the contest at improving my run abilities and it was just not happening as I was calling CQ TEST sometime for over 10 minutes with no answer. I then went to search and pounce and did up my score that way. Lesson learned....go to search and pounce when calling CQ TEST is just not happening. 

Murphy did hit me with the plumbing issue as well my own carelessness...for example when I setup my CW macros and tested them before the contest I turned the power out to zero. Well this ham radio guy forgot to turn the power back up to 100 watts and for about 20 minutes I was calling CQ TEST with ZERO output!! To boot the radio have a LARGE meter showing zero out and my LDG tuner has the same. Lesson learned to pay attention and not to wonder. 

Not much else and since this is not a home repair blog I will skip the very expensive plumbing repairs.

Below is the final score. 




Amazing weekend on the radio!

A busy time on 40m


This past weekend was the running of the ARRL International DX CW contest. If you are not a CW buff then there is also an ARRL International DX SSB contest March 5-6. These contests are great to log some very nice DX stations. I had a few interesting one-offs in this contest but more on that later. If you are a frequent reader of my blog you will know I have graduated from search and pounce contesting to holding my own and calling CQ contest or running as it's called. 

In this contest, DX stations are only allowed (to gain points) to contact stations in North America and likewise, North American stations can only contact DX stations. With this in mind, I knew that it would be interesting for me to be on the calling (running) CQ contest end of things. The contest is 48 hours in length and as always I have high hopes of getting into the action at the start, Friday at 8 pm. Well as always it's Friday and I just want to relax and take it easy. So as always I started Saturday morning and I was not disappointed the bands were very very busy with DX. 

Before beginning the contest I opened up my go-to CW practice program G4FON contest trainer. I find it to be very helpful to get my ears warmed to fast speed CW before going live! I spent about 15 minutes with G4FON and then it was off to the races. I started out sending CQ CONTEST at 31 WPM but found most stations coming back to me came back at around 24-30 WPM. I then slowed things down a bit as I don't want to be sent at speeds where no one wants to answer me.

 Saturday morning and afternoon went well and here is one of those "one-offs" I was mentioning earlier. On Saturday EA3OH spotted me on a cluster....all of a sudden all hell broke loose!! I called CQ CONTEST DE VE9KK and 10-15 stations (most all at once) were calling me. I had NEVER had this happen and I can understand what rare DX stations go through. If this was not a contest I would have worked split but as they say, it's not a perfect world. Once the first 3 seconds of what I called a CW mess finished then one of two stations would toss out their call. This would allow me to work with them and I continued to work this way. Sometimes a few stations waited and I could only get 2 or 3 letters of their call. I would send out those letters followed by ?. This worked very well but I assumed some stations just moved on and came back later. 

I was spotted about 4 different times and to be honest I felt overwhelmed and I started at times to make silly mistakes. Hitting incorrect keys so wrong call letters were sent, not hitting a correct key on my contest program so instead of my exchange being sent I sent TU (thank you). I could just imagine the look on the face of the station I was contacting. At one point I called Julie my wife into the room and with headphones removed I gave her a listen of the "pack. 

When I was spotted my hourly worked station count went to around 80-90 per hour. To be honest, those times were exhausting and at times my nerves got the best of me. I now fully understand one of the "how to's" to trying to work a popular station. Don't drop your call as soon as the station signs their call. He will only hear what I did....a CW mess. Wait until things clear, about 3 or so seconds and then drop your call in. This was how I heard stations calls or part of the calls. 

Here in New Brunswick, our COVID restrictions had just been lifted to the least restrictive level. This meant going to a restaurant was almost back to normal. Julie wanted to celebrate by us going out for dinner. That gave me a nice break from the contest BUT it's time for another "one-off". Once we arrived home from our dinner out almost right away I started to feel ill. YUP bad food from the restaurant, I was sick all Saturday night and Sunday until late afternoon. This cut into my contest time and evening in the afternoon while on the radio I was not feeling the greatest. 

Since we are on the subject of "one-offs" here we go again. I was on 40m (7.027) early Sunday evening and a station came back to me but it was not your standard exchange. I heard "PSE QSY UR ON CHAN 816 PSE QSY TU" I thought WHAT....so I sent "? ?" and the same message was sent. No worries I sent "SRI" and two short DIT's. After the contest, I did some online searches and came up with nothing. Does anyone know what this op was talking about I would be interested to know?

The final score 



Because this was a contest with emphasis on DX I was pleased to have made some nice DX contacts such as: 

- Turkmenistan is number 23 on the DXCC list

- Congo 

- Japan 

- South Cook island 

- Liberia 

There is a nice piece of software that takes your ADIF file and shows you many visual options adventure radio.

Below is just one option the program gives you to view your ADIF file. All the contacts I made in the contest.



Amazing weekend on the radio!

A busy time on 40m


This past weekend was the running of the ARRL International DX CW contest. If you are not a CW buff then there is also an ARRL International DX SSB contest March 5-6. These contests are great to log some very nice DX stations. I had a few interesting one-offs in this contest but more on that later. If you are a frequent reader of my blog you will know I have graduated from search and pounce contesting to holding my own and calling CQ contest or running as it's called. 

In this contest, DX stations are only allowed (to gain points) to contact stations in North America and likewise, North American stations can only contact DX stations. With this in mind, I knew that it would be interesting for me to be on the calling (running) CQ contest end of things. The contest is 48 hours in length and as always I have high hopes of getting into the action at the start, Friday at 8 pm. Well as always it's Friday and I just want to relax and take it easy. So as always I started Saturday morning and I was not disappointed the bands were very very busy with DX. 

Before beginning the contest I opened up my go-to CW practice program G4FON contest trainer. I find it to be very helpful to get my ears warmed to fast speed CW before going live! I spent about 15 minutes with G4FON and then it was off to the races. I started out sending CQ CONTEST at 31 WPM but found most stations coming back to me came back at around 24-30 WPM. I then slowed things down a bit as I don't want to be sent at speeds where no one wants to answer me.

 Saturday morning and afternoon went well and here is one of those "one-offs" I was mentioning earlier. On Saturday EA3OH spotted me on a cluster....all of a sudden all hell broke loose!! I called CQ CONTEST DE VE9KK and 10-15 stations (most all at once) were calling me. I had NEVER had this happen and I can understand what rare DX stations go through. If this was not a contest I would have worked split but as they say, it's not a perfect world. Once the first 3 seconds of what I called a CW mess finished then one of two stations would toss out their call. This would allow me to work with them and I continued to work this way. Sometimes a few stations waited and I could only get 2 or 3 letters of their call. I would send out those letters followed by ?. This worked very well but I assumed some stations just moved on and came back later. 

I was spotted about 4 different times and to be honest I felt overwhelmed and I started at times to make silly mistakes. Hitting incorrect keys so wrong call letters were sent, not hitting a correct key on my contest program so instead of my exchange being sent I sent TU (thank you). I could just imagine the look on the face of the station I was contacting. At one point I called Julie my wife into the room and with headphones removed I gave her a listen of the "pack. 

When I was spotted my hourly worked station count went to around 80-90 per hour. To be honest, those times were exhausting and at times my nerves got the best of me. I now fully understand one of the "how to's" to trying to work a popular station. Don't drop your call as soon as the station signs their call. He will only hear what I did....a CW mess. Wait until things clear, about 3 or so seconds and then drop your call in. This was how I heard stations calls or part of the calls. 

Here in New Brunswick, our COVID restrictions had just been lifted to the least restrictive level. This meant going to a restaurant was almost back to normal. Julie wanted to celebrate by us going out for dinner. That gave me a nice break from the contest BUT it's time for another "one-off". Once we arrived home from our dinner out almost right away I started to feel ill. YUP bad food from the restaurant, I was sick all Saturday night and Sunday until late afternoon. This cut into my contest time and evening in the afternoon while on the radio I was not feeling the greatest. 

Since we are on the subject of "one-offs" here we go again. I was on 40m (7.027) early Sunday evening and a station came back to me but it was not your standard exchange. I heard "PSE QSY UR ON CHAN 816 PSE QSY TU" I thought WHAT....so I sent "? ?" and the same message was sent. No worries I sent "SRI" and two short DIT's. After the contest, I did some online searches and came up with nothing. Does anyone know what this op was talking about I would be interested to know?

The final score 



Because this was a contest with emphasis on DX I was pleased to have made some nice DX contacts such as: 

- Turkmenistan is number 23 on the DXCC list

- Congo 

- Japan 

- South Cook island 

- Liberia 

There is a nice piece of software that takes your ADIF file and shows you many visual options adventure radio.

Below is just one option the program gives you to view your ADIF file. All the contacts I made in the contest.




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