The ‘C’ Word

Can I mention the ‘C’ word?

I mean contests. I refuse to call it sport radio as to me a sport involves sweating and physical discomfort. Sitting in front of a radio shouldn’t be uncomfortable. If it is you may need a new chair.Yes, there’s an element of competition, but that’s also true for growing the largest marrow. Anyway on to the point of this post.

Today was a first for me, the RSGB 144Mhz AFS contest was on and I thought I’d give away a few points, so instead of plonking the 5 ele yagi in the loft and leaving it in one place I put in on the end of my aluminium telescopic (wobble-o-matic) mast. The results were never going to be exceptional given I seem to live underground as far as rf is concerned but it was nice to give away a few points to those with higher real estate.

I’ve decided to give the UKAC contest a go as a ‘proper’ operator from a nearby hill and will use that kit with the FT-817 because I don’t have batteries for the IC-7000. If anyone is concerned if I’ve caught the contesting bug, I don’t think so, as today had most of the daylight spent at a local theatre and ‘A Muppet Christmas carol’. 200 kids, mince pies, snot and Marmite and someone dressed up as what looked like the Easter bunny with stick on horns. Both our kids were fairly sure it was Rudolph so that’s good.

QRB was Devon for me today, which was pleasing. All with 50w and a small yagi on the end of a pole. Lets see if I can improve on Tuesday night. Glad to see I’m firmly rooted to the bottom of the table though.

Alex Hill, G7KSE, is a regular contributor to and writes from Cumbria, UK. Contact him at [email protected].

6 Responses to “The ‘C’ Word”

  • Mike Ve3wdm:

    Good morning Alex, for contesting is getting some DXCC’s as well as setting some goals….for example see how far I can get with the least amount of power. In contests I find you have a very captive bunch of folks.

  • Morning Mike,

    I didn’t call CQ once yesterday as I wasn’t at the rig all day but when I heard a station I replied. Hence the small number of QSO’s. The valley I live in is good for absorbing RF so I was pleased to get those 4. Tomorrow I plan on being up on a hill albeit with less power so it’ll be interesting to see if I get any more QSO’s. I don’t think I could spend all day doing it, an hour or so here and there is quite good fun and enough for me. I can feel a draw though….must resist (a bit)


  • Don N4KC:

    “200 kids, mince pies, snot and Marmite and someone dressed up as what looked like the Easter bunny with stick on horns.”

    Alex, that sounds a lot like some contests I have heard on the air! 🙂 From a casual contester: they can be fun, as you likely have discovered. Just another aspect of the hobby that keeps it new and interesting to me.


    Don N4KC
    (Author of the new book RIDING THE SHORTWAVES:

  • Tony AA2TH:

    Alex, I don’t consider contesting a sport, but it can take a physical toll. I worked both days of the CQWW CW contest, using a straight key. Late on the final afternoon, 15 opened to the Far East here in New York, but my right hand was definitely feeling the strain from sending, to the point where I was having trouble even sending my call cleanly. A few minutes of soaking my hand under warm water remedied the situation, and I was able to send normally again. Maybe it’s about time that I learn to use a keyer, though.

    73 de AA2TH

  • It was the easter bunny that got me Don. ‘He’s helping Santa’ I was told by my daughter

  • Tony,

    I admire anyone who can have a qso in cw let alone those of you who can enter a contest using it. Try as I might I have to admit I am incompetent at it and just haven’t got the ear. I sweat over a few simple characters (the ones immediately following CQ generally) let alone trying to send anything readable.

    Keep up the cw and putting the likes of me to shame


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