Had a good time with the ARRL DX CW Contest. This was the first time that I put into play the Skookum Logger software running the WinKeyer. It worked very well for the search and pounce mode that I used for this contest. I tried CQ a couple of times but after about 10 minutes each time, I gave up with not one single response.
I was able to get in 18 hours over the two days. Managed to work 202 contacts, with 133 multipliers, for 80,598 points. See the details to the right. Last year’s effort was 120 contacts with just 30,444 points. My big band was 15 meters with 92 contacts. The next highest was 40 meters at 44 contacts. This was due in large part to the 15 meter Moxon beam that I set up during contest weekends. It really made a difference as I turned the beam by the “armstrong” method during the day as propagation changed from Europe, to South America, to the Pacific.
I’ll note that the beginning of the contest was quite frustrating as no one would respond to my calls. With all the kilowatt stations in action, they didn’t need to dig my pipsqueak QRP signal out of the QRM. Actually, they probably couldn’t dig out my signal. By Sunday a lot more stations could hear me and the going was easier. Even so, by that time I had worked all the stations that could hear me and it became a real struggle to find new stations. Interestingly, I found a number of Japanese stations late Sunday afternoon that could work me.
New countries for the effort included Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Guinea-Bisseau, and Cape Verde. The Wales, Ireland, and Scotland QSO’s happened on the 15m Moxon when the wind had moved the antenna pointing due north, rather than the desired heading of 40 degrees. That was perhaps the most interesting aspect of the contest — trying to keep the Moxon on the right heading in the wind. Elsewhere on this blog you can see photos of the Moxon, held aloft by a 25 foot painter’s pole. I duct tape the pole together to try to prevent it coming unscrewed as the antenna moves in the wind. This time I also tried a rope to anchor the antenna heading. I now realize that I need two rope connections to hold the antenna on the right heading.
All in all, this was a great contest. The contest software and keyer worked great. Now I just need to optimize my antennas for 20m and 40m. My long term goal is a spiderbeam, but we’ll see what we can do in the interim. If you were on the air, I hope that I worked you. If so, thanks for digging my signal out of the QRM, QRN, and QSB.