I’ve never been a serious contester. I sometimes will get on and operate a little during certain contests. I would usually make a handful to maybe 50 or so contacts. In the 80s and 90s I did the January VHF Contest several times, which were the only times I did a more serious effort. Those were the only logs I ever submitted. I’ve only barely dabbled in any CW contests.
This weekend, I knew the ARRL DX Phone Contest was on. I had some spare time, so I thought I would get on the air and make a few contacts. The exchange for this contest is one I prefer, just signal report and state/province for US and Canadian stations, and signal report and power for DX stations. Very simple, no serial numbers, or zones, etc.
I started on 15 meters, and saw the spectrum scope was lit up with signals, so I started calling some stations. Eventually, I switched on my 600 watt amplifier for a little help, as I was just using a vertical for an antenna. I was just doing search and pounce, and moved up the band as I worked.
After I had gotten to 21.450 MHz, and thought I would try 10 meters. Again, the band was wide open with signals all over the scope. I didn’t have quite as much luck on 10, so I didn’t stay too long before I went to 20 meters. I worked there for a while, and took a break for dinner.
After dark, I worked 40 meters, and a little 75 meters. Before I gave up for the night, I really wasn’t sure how many contacts I had made, but it was something like 170.
Sunday, I probably should have gotten up early to work some different parts of the world, but didn’t. I got on in the early afternoon and did a very similar pattern of working the higher 3 bands. 10 meters was packed from 28.300 up to almost 29.000 MHz until mid-afternoon, when it fell off a bit. I did work a few on 40 meters near the end of the contest. I made my 300th contact a few minutes before 0000 UTC.
Of course, murphy always strikes, as I had a power outage in the afternoon Sunday. Just enough to kill the computers. It was only for 5 seconds or so, but the radio, log, and amplifier cycled off/on. When the computer came back up, it seemed like I lost a few contacts from my N1MM log. Not 100% sure. Luckily I didn’t lose them all. The internet was out for a few hours.
It is hard to work weak stations with so much QRM. It is much easier to work those big contest stations from Europe, the Caribbean, or South America. After a while, you keep hearing dupes. I don’t think I worked any stations on all bands 80-10, but I did work a few on four bands.
I did work a couple of African stations, but since this contest requires DX stations to work the US and Canada, not sure how many Asian and Oceania stations operate it. Their optimum operating times didn’t line up with mine at least.
I ended up with 301 contacts and 134,000+ points with 149 multipliers. I don’t think I worked any new countries. For me, it was clearly my most serious HF contest effort to date. I even submitted my log.
I don’t think I will ever become a serious contester, but I may try to beat my score next year. It’s always good to have a goal.