Post Mortem: WPX

Looking over the 3830 submitted scores, there could be quite a few scoring records shattered during WPX this past weekend. While I didn’t set any record worth noting, I did set personal records for the number of hours I worked in a contest (32 hours) and the number of contacts (703). Overall I had a great time, but still have much to learn and experience. Interesting to read a few comments in support of RBN or the Reverse Beacon Network. Personally, I haven’t used it during a contest, but have sent a ‘CQ TEST’ at various times to see where was signal was being heard. Couple this with spotting capability using DX clusters and technology seems to be setting the pace when it comes to “assistance” during a contest.

Personally, I am not sure where I fall when it comes to assisted versus non-assisted. When I first bought a HF radio and I wanted to run assisted to help me find contacts. When I acquired my first amplifier I wanted to run high power so I could be heard. Now, three years later I find myself entering contests running low power and unassisted. Unlike many of my elders I don’t remember the days of ham radio gone by where logging meant writing each contest QSO down. Logging checking was going through the log in search of dupes (duplicate calls) before mailing your results in. These days software and e-mail make results nearly instantaneous!

There seems to be a lure, for me, in running low power and unassisted. First I don’t end up chasing spots on the band map. Many times in the past this has been erroneous information passed on in the form of an incorrect or incomplete call sign. Other times I arrive at the frequency of the spot and there is a massive pile up, one that I am not a willing participate in running low power. This combination also provides me the best chance at achieving an award, even if it’s only for the 6th call district.

Contesting for me is more about setting and achieving my personal goals and improving my operating skills. Now that I have seen how I did this past weekend compared to 2010 I will look at further my score next year when WPX rolls around. First and foremost, as I wrote about yesterday building confidence in Morse code and copying to allow myself the opportunity to run a frequency as opposed to searching and pouncing for 32 hours. This is the key to increasing the number of contacts I make and will lead to an improved score.

I am still sifting through the call signs, entering them into my logbook and uploading to eQSL and Logbook of the World. Some quick numbers I worked 68 countries and 41 states. No real surprise that 53.6% of my contacts were from North American, but surprisingly 24.9 came from Europe, while Asia was 11.8%. Out of my 703 contacts I worked NR6O and KH6LC on 5 bands and HK1NA, JE1ZWT, KC7V, KL7RA, KY0W, NR4M AND VE7UF on 4 bands.

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