It was a weekend I was looking forward to, as it brings a particularly enjoyable contest called the ARRL Sweepstakes. It’s actually the first part of a 2 part contest, this weekend participants use CW (Morse code) to make contacts with as many stations as possible in North America while trying to achieve a “clean sweep.” This year, the Ontario section has been broken into 3 separate sections, so operators must now work 83 ARRL/RAC sections. I have been fortunate to get achieve a clean sweep once in 6 tries (combined between CW and SSB) over the last 3 years.
Unfortunately due to the lack of people at work, no one signed up for my weekend shifts, so I won’t be participating in Sweepstakes for the first time since 2009. I was hoping to work the CW contest (this weekend) more so than the SSB contest starting November 17 since I was able to win my section the last 2 years, running low power (100 watts). While I haven’t done much contesting the past 6 months, I was looking forward to work on a combined total of 1000 QSOs (contacts). The last 2 years I was able to break the 500 contact mark, but was not able to put in enough time to double those numbers.
Chances are I high I will skip out on the SSB portion of this contest and wait in lie for the CQWW DX CW contest that starts on November 24. Its another contest that I enjoy operating in, but haven’t put in much over about 6 hours in this contest the past 3 years. It’s a long contest as well, 48 hours and trying to juggle work and family life when you have a 6 year old can be challenging. Hopefully my work schedule allows me that time to get at least 20-24 hours in. This would allow me to work some DX stations (outside the USA).
The only other contest I might consider this year will be the ARRL 10-Meter contest in December. It’s another one that is enjoy and you don’t have to spend a lot of time in to generate contacts. So not much radio left for me this year but I am disappointed to be missing Sweepstakes this year.