IARU HF 2017
Since I'm stuck home with a broken ankle I thought to try my hand at the IARU HF contest. I entered as a single-op, low power, SSB only, non-assisted (i.e. no use of clusters) participant. I used a Kenwood TS-850S and an end fed antenna built for 20m. The setup squeezed out a maximum of 75W on 14 MHz and much less on all the other bands. I was active for a little over 13 hours, worked 210 contacts, the bulk of which were made in the 20m band. I used SD for logging and the calculated score by SD was around 26k, while N1MM gives me 28k and some change. Might be less when the big guys from ARRL will put my log through the wringer.
It was a nice experience, even though I really felt the need of a 40m capable antenna, as I could only make one measly contact in 7 MHz. This next weekend I'm trying to participate in the RRTC and see what happens.
On 15 July I participated in the RRTC, an 8 hour contest. Again, I entered as a single-op, low power, SSB only participant and used the same setup as in the IARU contest. It was a weird day radio-wise, as I couldn't hear any station except in the 20m band. I worked with any station that I could hear and that could hear me. At the end of my 7+ hour shift (I spent about 1 hour taking various breaks) I "bagged" 71 contacts. I felt more tired than I was in the IARU HF, maybe because of the relatively short time I had at my disposal. In the IARU taking breaks didn't feel like I was wasting precious time like it did in the RRTC. I walked away with a head ache. The band was noisy and all that static and faint signals finally got to me. Indeed, I'm a lousy contestant, having participated in 3 or 4 ham contests in my life (these two included). Here are the results.
Contesting can be fun and tiring at the same time. For some it's a way to spend a weekend when it's raining outside, for others it can be something they planned and prepared for for a long time. In my case it was pretty fun, but also a bit frustrating. Spending long hours trying to pick up callsigns from the static can be exhausting. A decent antenna in a good location can make a big difference and until this happens I'll probably stay away from contests.
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