I’ve spent the past 75 minutes or so going over previous contest results and looking at the most recent propagation charts prepared by Dean, N6BV and Stu, K6TU. These charts were actually for WPX RTTY last weekend, but solar conditions are shaping up much the same for this week, so the information contained within these charts should be relative. The ARRL International DX Contest is a 3 point per contact contest, so I will be trying to work all contacts that are not in the US or Canada.
I was planning on another SOSB (single op, single band) effort, but after further consideration I think I will work all the high bands (10/15/20M). This should give me many more operators to work through out the time I have set aside to participate. If this weekend is like last weekend 15M was probably the best band, based on what I read on the 3830 Reflector. My hope 20M is strong for me, which has usually been the case in many prior contests.
Looking at my time, I am going to hope for 16 hours of operating, which would be 4 hours to start the contest and then 12 hours on Saturday (6am-6pm), maybe a bit longer if possible. Based on my 2010 resulted, I averaged 22 QSO/hour. Not great by any means, but I hope to keep a 30 rate but will knock it down just a bit shoot for 450 QSO, 150 MULTS and a final score of 202,500 points.
My CW skills have improved, but are still not at a level that I feel comfortable attempting to run a frequency, which would equate to a rate of over 30/hour. Even though all my contacts will be in search & pounce I feel confident I can achieve my goal with a bit of work. Over the last few contests I have entered, CW has become my strongest mode. I wish I could say it was more proficient at this point, but it’s still a learning process, one that I am improving every time I use the mode.