2015 RAC Winter Contest

A contest the weekend before Xmas.. at least it wasn’t the full weekend, but still not easy to make time for this one. I managed to play a bit for a few hours. My goal was to hand out a few multipliers, and get some more Canadian stations in the log.

I didn’t put up any antennas for this one, so I was left with my 10m vertical, and my 20m sloper, and whatever I could bring in with the auto-tuner..

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What I like about this contest other than the relaxed friendly tone of Canadian hams, is the crazy points for the Canadian stations, and double-crazy points for VxxRAC stations. I didn’t sweep Canada, but I did get almost all the provinces (curse you PEI!) … Even the tough-for-me Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were active. Prince Edward Island and the territories will come some other day…

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Looking at the upcoming contest schedule, I think the ARRL RTTY round up will be my next event. CQ WW RTTY last September was my first time playing with RTTY, let’s see if I learned anything 🙂

The grass is still visible, and we’re still above freezing most days, and they’re calling for more above-average temperatures over the next week … maybe I’ll get that Cobra antenna back up for this one, it’s not like there’ll be snow in the way or anything…

ARRL 10M 2015

What a difference a year makes 🙁

My goal for contests is to beat what I did the previous year. With the way 10M behaved this weekend, that wasn’t going to happen. 10M is a daytime band, but there were long stretches during the day that the pickings were slim. After 354 QSO’s last year, I only managed 138 this year, with pretty much exactly the same set up.

Summary

I was working vertical using the good ol’ Antron 99 about 40 feet up, the same antenna I used last year. I managed to get some European stations and my first South African station, but I was surprisingly deaf to eastern North America :

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That no-man’s land between Quebec and the south-western US means I missed out on a lot of multipliers. I don’t know if a dipole would have helped me to get those.. Perhaps by next year I’ll have something horizontal on 10M that will let me compare.

Unseasonably warm temperatures (above 10c) meant I didn’t have to blast the heaters to keep my garage-hamshack warm, so that was a pleasant twist. Overall a fun contest, and considering I’m running an FT-897D at 100w, which isn’t exactly known as a contest rig, I’m satisfied with the result. The most fun I had was Sunday morning, when I managed to stop searching and pouncing, and ran a frequency for something like 35 QSOs. That was a whole lot of fun, then a big gun moved near by,  pretty much stomped me out of existence,  and I had to go back to hunting..

Happy whatever you celebrate, enjoy the bands in 2016!