I always look forward to the IARU HF Championships. It must be that it offers a break from the summer. I also appreciate the 24 hour format, rather than the 48 hour format of the other major contests. I also like the HQ stations that are on from around the world, eagerly seeking my contact!
This year’s effort was my first foray into the Single Op CW Only Low Power category. All my other contest entries have been in the QRP mode, since my K3 was only capable of a maximum of 10 watts. Just a few weeks ago I installed the KPA3 100 watt amplifier. While I’m still working on getting the amplifier to put out a full 100 watts, more about that in a later post, it worked very well for this contest. I operated search and pounce with a few lonely attempts at running. The big difference with LP was that people actually answered me, nearly always on the first call, at least when there wasn’t a pile up. Moreover, I only once had to repeat my “NR?”. That was a given at the QRP level.
So, how did I score? Well, I operated only 13 hours. I had a number of breaks for lunch, dinner, snacks, etc. Slept four hours in the heart of the night. I mostly took breaks to allow some new stations to get on the bands for my search and pounce sweeps. After saying all that, the score came in at 309 QSO’s (plus three more with NU1AW/5 that my logging program wouldn’t classify). The score came in at 72,459 points. This actually doubled my previous contact count and increased my score by a multiple of four!
While the propagation conditions were marginal (very little European activity on 15 and 20 meters), the big difference was that stations would answer me from the start of the contest. In the QRP category you have a great deal of difficulty getting anyone to answer within the first several hours of the contest. Moreover, 40 meters was very, very productive. The QRP category was always challenging for me on 40 meters and dreadful on 80 meters. Of course, a big part of this is my vertical antennas on all bands, with just 5 watts out of the transceiver. The 15 meter Moxon worked well for the conditions. It clearly helped me snag a couple of ZL and one VK contact.
My next contest efforts need to spend more time running. I guess I just need to be patient while sending CQ and just wait for the stations to call. It does make SO2V look more interesting. I’m afraid that SO2R appears far too complicated for my simple station. But SO2V may hold some promise. I need to learn more about it, but first I need to do many more attempts at running during the contest.
I hope you had a great contest. I look forward to seeing where I rank on the 3830 scores. It will be far more difficult in the LP category to be highly ranked. QRP had the advantage of far fewer entries.