Monday, 7 March 2016

What a Contest !!!!

What an incredible 48 hours on the bands!!  It has been a long, long, time since I have done that well in a contest, especially as QRP.  In fact the only part of the world I did not hear, or work, was the middle east.

There were so many stations calling from the US Virgin Islands I believe a discount airline must have had a seat sale to that destination.

I managed to get contacts on every band except 160m, and while I could faintly hear stations calling "CQ Contest" on that band, I could not hear them well enough to work.

10m while not that busy, was indeed steady.  I must have worked a quarter of my contacts here.  It wasn't crowded and the stations were well spaced out.

15m was pretty good.  It started off quiet and then, when operators realized it was fully open, it got very busy.  My 148' long wire inverted "L" worked great here.  In fact I broke through the wall to get a JA station on Saturday evening, not bad for a QRP station !

20m was a total zoo.  Signals on top of signals which were right next door to an extremely loud signal...and so the band went.  Having said that though I found it very easy to make contacts once I kicked in the FT-950's Notch Filter.....not sure what I would have done without that this weekend !!

The downside?  LIDS tuning up on top of stations in QSO, at one point I counted 7 tuner uppers on top of a VK3....all at the same time.  Many American stations operating SSB out of band around 7.060 - 7.090.  You guys know you're not allowed there....so why do you do it?  The stupid thing is they were way out of band and calling with their callsigns, and most of the DX stations were also working split up into the US portion.  Just stupidity at its finest, that rare station isn't worth losing your ticket over!!

My other big bitch is the stations that didn't know the exchange, come on guys, read the rules.  You need to know about allowed band changes, how much time off must you take, the exchange, and a whole other pile of other information.  It was obvious that many had not read the rules at all.  I'm a firm believer that contests like this one is not the place to practice on if you're a beginner.  It's very fast paced and most of the ops seem to have little patience for those who fumble along.

On that subject I have to praise OY9JD in the Faroe Islands, who battled with ops from a certain country who obviously don't know their ABC's or 123's.   I was waiting my turn to call him and was listening to his rhythm as he was calling for "the station with Alpha Juliet".....Holy Cow, the frequency just exploded with every callsign in the book....other than the "Alpha Juliet".  I don't think that op ever made it through the wall, I know I didn't.

That's another basic contesting skill that's becoming very rare: LISTEN to the DX station, he runs the show.  I can't figure out why some ops insist that when the DX Station calls for "Threes", they think it means them.  All you hear is "Nine", "Seven", "Two", and every number under the sun.  LISTEN.

Overall it was a great weekend.  I managed to put 129 countries in the log, which I believe is a record for me during a contest.   We will have to see if we can beat that at the end of the month during the CQ WW WPX Contest.