A small pat on the back for myself as I achieved another award from a radio contest back in February. During the weekend of February 11-12, the CQ World Wide RTTY WPX took place. This is a 48 hour contest, in which you make contact with as many different operators as possible that have unique prefixes. This was also the first time I decided to work a contest on a single band, I chose 15 meters (21 MHz) for the RTTY contest based on propagation data and recommendations from members in the NCCC.
While my score wasn’t all that impressive and I was a bit discouraged with how my final numbers came out. I was hoping for 300 QSO (contacts) but ended up with only 203. When the log checking was complete after the contest that number had decreased to 197 valid contacts and 157 prefixes for a final score of 59,817 total points. I did provide a complete write up at the conclusion of WPX.
While the award was for most contacts on 15 meters in the 6th district. It’s actually a minor achievement, which I will chalk up to a learning experience. There are some contests that I cannot afford to work the entire time, limiting my operation to a single band decreases the time I need to be in front of the radio. Then again, I don’t enter contests to win, but to improve my operating and have some fun. If I happen to win paperwork, great!
Very surprised to see a manila envelope from the ARRL (American Radio Relay League) today in the mailbox. I figured it was my ARRL Triple Play Award I had finally achieved. When I opened it I was surprised to find I had taken first place in the 2011 ARRL International DX Phone Contest. That means I just might have to taken to March 3 off to participate in at least half the contest.
On the NCCC Reflector this week there was a message sent about the initial results being posted by the ARRL for the 2011 Sweepstakes CW. After reading through a series of comments from other KB’ers I decided to check the initial results. I was happily surprised when I saw I had retained my title from last year (last year’s win) winning the 2011 SSCW in the single operator, low power, unassisted category.
For me, it’s about picking and choosing a category I can be competitive in. Winning is nice, but not necessarily the priority for me when it comes to “BIC” and participating in any contest. It’s nice to achieve a winning effort and while they haven’t been all that often, it is nice to know I can compete. Granted, I was only competing against 8 other stations, but this effort was a daytime operation only since I had all sorts of complications on the low bands (40/80M) with my SteppIR BigIR. Unlike 2010, when I had 88 low band contacts, 2011 yielded only 2, the bigger difference was 10/15M.
With any luck I can put aside all the station issues, find a full effort and really see what I can do. Based on my numbers from the last 2 years a goal of 600 QSO (all S & P) is possible. Then again taking a chance and running a frequency should allow me to easily achieve this goal, but I am still not as comfortable running as I am in S & P. So there is a big tradeoff in my rate. We still have 10 months before 2012 Sweeps, but I am already looking forward to what is the most enjoyable contest for me.
It’s not all too common I win any sort of award from the sponsor when it comes to contesting. If I pick and chose my class and power, I might have a slim chance at winning some “wallpaper” for the shack. Wallpaper is the ham radio term for awards and after 3 years of contesting my walls are still somewhat bare, but it’s not necessarily about winning for me. It’s about participating and achieving the goals I set prior to any contest.
Today I received an envelope in the mail from the ARRL. I thought it might be an award for an achievement like WAS or Triple Play, but I could not recall submitting any paperwork recently for an achievement award. I opened the envelope and was surprised to read I was ‘First Place Single Operator Low Power CW East Bay Section.’
As for as I know this is my second award, the first coming in 2010 participating in the CQWW WPX RTTY Contest I have won participating in a contest. Still it’s exciting to win awards like this and now has me rethinking my strategy for the 2011 Sweepstakes which takes place next month. Hopefully I can improve on my 2010 score and duplicate my effort on CW.
I realized today I am in need of some amateur radio. It struck me after reading the latest JUG from the NCCC as W6FB and N6WM discussed “gadgets” and “teamwork” in respect to contesting. I have been QRT since November 28, 2010 as I turned off the rig during the CQP after I had more pressing priorities.
Since that time I have missed some enjoyable contests, as well as club meetings. This thanks in part to the ongoing remodel that seems to have me by the balls…STILL! I have already missed the ARRL RTTY Roundup in early January, a contest I did well in back in 2010. Coming in a few weeks CQWW WPX RTTY, a contest I did very well in from my QTH last year.
I actually had my best showing in any contest, any mode last year when I ran low power, made 544 QSOs for 350,364 points and actually won 6 call area, low power. A great achievement on my part, but with work and the remodel I am not sure I will be able to put in a full effort or even a partial effort. I am keeping my options open at this point, but will need to make a decision very quickly.
The nice thing about amateur radio is, there does not need to be a contest in order to get on the air and make some contacts. Personally I really enjoy the contesting side, even if I never win any awards. The fact I am participating and enjoying making a large number of contacts in a short period of time gives me the satisfaction I desire.
I have made a commitment to myself not to get on the air until our remodel is done. Unfortunately it has been the remodel that has been sucking up much of my free time and days I take off from work. So while I don’t figure to get any contesting during WPX I can look back on last year and hopefully build on those numbers next time I have a chance to operate.