Yesterday, July 5, I participated in my second HF contest. The first was the Rookie Roundup last year where I worked SSB on HF. This time, I participated in the 13 colonies special event, and damn I was looking forward to it.
Admittedly, part of the excitement originated from being able to operate at Fred (AB1OC) and Anita’s (AB1QB) QTH; I was sure to be heard and sure to make a ton of QSO’s — and perhaps even a pileup? For a fellow who hasn’t been on the air for a bit, it was good to flex my ham radio muscles again and dive in.
Fred guided me through learning how to use the station and offered to log for me. He claims that he cannot hear that well. I think this is a front. The dude was hearing signals whose SNR was at MOST -20 dB; it was supernatural. When I was straining to hear anything in the pileups, Fred easily picked out a few letters or a full call. Whatever the truth may be, it was helpful to have someone guide me.
I began on 40m and it was pretty dead (it was about 6pm EST), so we switched over to 80m, which was even more absent of life. Finally, Fred suggested we go to 20m and work some DX.
Oh man…explosion of QSO’s!
Lots of dudes (and dudettes) operating. Lots of European pileups — and I thought I had a hard time hearing the American pileups. The European ones were even more challenging. Again, Fred came to the rescue with his familiarity of a lot of those calls. Some of the notable ones were a guy who was operating mobile from Turkey, and I believe someone from Algeria. I was trying to run the pileup and starting blurring letters at some points during the exchanges. I began to develop a sense of how difficult it would be to operate for an entire weekend without making a mistake. I was beat after two hours and some folks can bang out 48 with no problem.
At the end of my time slot, I really did have a blast. It’s fun to immerse yourself (especially during the work-week) in something so fun and exciting. Having caught the contesting bug again, I’m going to have to supe up my own station to begin to be a little more competitive 😉
Brian (AB1ZO)Follow or Contact Us: