Posts Tagged ‘Contesting’

Chances like this only come now and then……….

The bands will come alive


This weekend is the running of the CQ World Wide DX CW contest that runs for the entire weekend. Now those of you who are not into contesting then it's off the SSB portion, digi portion or the WARC band. But you don't have to be a contesting nut like me to be excited about this contest. This is a chance to find and make contact with some very decent DX. It will give you a chance to line your DXCC pockets, work all states award, work all zones award, place your rig in QRP or QRPp power and see how many miles per watt you can do and the list goes on. Not too great at CW you say, well there are some very decent code reader software out there that also send code as well. Chances like this only come now and then.

As for me I am going to be for the weekend and hope to do well and have a lot of fun while I am at it. Cheers and have a good weekend for those in the U.S. Happy Thanksgiving!

The morning MST mini contest


Each Monday morning at 1300Z and 1900z I take part in the 1-hour medium-speed CW contest or MST as it is called. Medium speed is 25wpm or less and the exchange is your name and progressive contact number or serial number as they call it in contesting. During the mini contest this morning I was calling "CQ MST" and as always I also have loaded on my PC screen the reverse beacon network website as seen in the picture above. This allows me to see how my signal of 100 watts is getting out. This morning as I was calling on 20m I was shocked to see my signal strength into ZL4YL New Zealand and MM0ZBH Scotland.

Taking the side road……

This weekend the LZ dx contest was up and running, I have never taken part in this contest and I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of activity. It's a 24-hour contest that started at 8 am out my way and it gave me a nice workout for the upcoming weekend for the CQ World Wide DX CW contest. I took part for about a total of 4 hours and made 120 contacts for a score of 13,110. 

Midway into the contest I was taken down a side road for a pleasant surprise. At some point on Saturday afternoon calling CQ contest was slowing down on 20m. I decided to make a left turn and head down the 10m side road. There were very few LZ contesters there but I did notice a commotion on the waterfall. When I went to investigate it was H44WA DXpedition in the Soloman islands calling CQ North America (CQ NA) and he was all alone. I put the Icom 7610 in split and dual mode (hearing both VFOA and VFOB) and made the mental change from CW contesting to CW DXpedition. After a few short tries, I was in the log. I was glad I made a left turn and took a side road from the contest.

Reverse Beacon Network surprises

 Last weekend I took part in the WAE DX CW contest and most of the time when I calling "CQ contest" on my second monitor I have the RBN or reverse beacon network up and running. The main reason for doing this to see where my signal is reaching and if it is targeting in the case of the WAE contest Europe. Now and then I see my signal has been spotted in both interesting places and far away places. This contest was no different, on Sunday morning I was spotted in New Zealand by ZL3X multiple times from 4dB to 11dB, VY0ERC in Eureka in Nunavut at 7dB and finally 5W1SA in Samoa at 8dB. Nice to know my 100 watts are getting out there!

A nice surprise in the mail today.


 I wanted to thank the Dutch PACC contest committee for a nice participation ribbon that arrived today. It was the first time I took part in this contest and it was well-attended and fun. When I looked up my log results I was not able to find them at first. I later clued in that I entered as SOAB low-power MIXED! I have to pay closer attention as I was and always am CW and not mixed.

Major contest action this weekend!


This coming weekend is the annual ARRL CW DX international contest. This contest covers the whole weekend and is very well attended by some very nice DX and rare DX as well. Last year during this contest I was using my EndFed antenna and this year I will be using my Hustler 4BTV vertical antenna.

 If you are a CW contester this is a must-contest for you. If you are not a contester but into CW this also can net you some nice DXCC contacts. The exchange is simple, your 599 report and your State or Province and that's it. The DX station will send their 599 and the power they are using.

 Let's say your CW is a bit rusty and contest CW speed is beyond your comfort zone. Well, do what I used to do years ago use a spotting network to find the rare stations. This way you get their call and tune them in, now use a CW decode program such as MRP40 which was the one I used to use. It sets up via your sound card and decodes up to 60wpm. I found it very accurate and there is a full feature trial version available. Now you can read the machine gun code like a pro! 

As for contest software N1MM+ is free and many setup videos are online for most rigs. So there you go with a little effort you can stack up some nice DX over the weekend. 

Who knows maybe you will rekindle the love for CW and start a new adventure in ham radio.

ARRL 10m contest is in the books

The areas I worked in the contest

Another contest in the books and I thoroughly enjoyed myself and the radio, software and antenna worked great for me. This is the first time for me to enter the ARRL 10 meter contest as in the past 10m was not open. I was shocked at the amount of action on the waterfall and how most of the time 10m is void of signals. It goes to prove that the band should not be overlooked. 

In this contest, I operated CW only, low power (100 watts) and no spotting assistance. I always avoid using spotting assistance as it hinders my goal of improving my CW. I found in the mornings I had a good path into the EU and as that closed down in the early afternoon the U.S. opened up.  By late afternoon South America was open to me. One of the highlight contacts was getting into Hawaii and I was also able to make numerous contacts into South America. 

Once it started to get dark the band for me closed down. In this contest, I did try running (calling CQ contest) but I found I was able to get better numbers with search and pounce. In most contests for me holding a frequency and calling CQ contest would always give me a good return but not in this contest. The 10m propagation for me had deep QSB and one moment a station was calling CQ and all of a sudden gone!

The final score

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