What I Learned: Part 1

The nice aspect of contesting is anyone can participate regardless of their station. Jumping into contesting, aka “radiosport” I know I am not going to win any awards with my Icom IC-718 running 100 watts into a Hustler 6-BTV, but that does not matter. I participate for personal reasons. I have set realistic goals that I want to achieve and I enjoy the quick exchanges.

I will be thankful there is a dedicated group of contesters in my immediate area, most notably, N6RO. I have written about Ken’s station before, but it is a true “big gun” in the realm of contesting. I have learned a good deal in the short time I have visited “RO” learning from operators far more experienced than I.

But while “playing radio” I have learned a few things in my short time involved in contesting. Last night while participating in the CQ WW RTTY WPX Contest I realized the need for a good filter. Unfortunately, this was one of the luxuries not included in my IC-718. I had many signals I could decode the past few days using Win-test (MTTY running), but because of a stronger, adjacent signal the signal I was decoding was lost or my reply was lost. This made it more challenging to have a valid exchange.

I know I lost out on at least 6 DX contacts (Belize, Canary Islands, Bulgaria, Hungary, Venezuela and Brazil) last night alone because of stronger signals. I might have not made those contacts with my setup, but all seemed very possible with my modest setup.

As for the filter I have looking at and reading reviews of the W4RT Dual-Filter and it gets raving reviews. It might be a bit costly at $245 but it would definitely be to my advantage to install one. The reason I waiver at the cost is because of possibility of purchasing a used Yaesu FT-1000MP that already includes CW filters and a few mods.

Regardless, after having some frustration with my rig I ended up having an enjoyable time in the WPX RTTY. I did not hit my goal of 100 QSOs, but I did gain some valuable experience and pick up some new states and countries.

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