Being busy has kept me from radio activity for a while. But some radio things have happened that have not been documented here. Like the trees sprouting leaves and getting too close to the 6BTV antenna, and me pretty much wrecking the antenna trying to relocate it.
While I really like the Wolf River Coils antenna I posted about and will be using it for portable ops, at home I have been using an EFHW-4010 wire up about 30 feet for most of the last year. It does well enough on 40 and 20 to keep me happy, but really this year’s CQ WPX SSB contest was a nice test of the setup. It performed great on 40 and 20 meter, and held its own on 15 and 10 meter when there was traffic there.
I am NOT a serious contester, but for me it is a great excuse to get out there while people are actually on the air. As you may recall, I made a whopping 50 contacts in my previous WPX run 2 years ago (last year, personal life took me out of the game). This year I hunkered down, got serious and DOUBLED THAT NUMBER. I AM A BIG STATION NOW!
To give you an idea of how casual a contester I am, I only went to 100 contacts because I found myself at 80. I had already beaten my record, but I decided I wanted to try for a full 100, just to do it. In the meantime, I was talking to stations giving out serials in the two-thousands. When I hit 100 contacts, I stopped, and uploaded my log even though the contest had more than 3 hours left. I was done.
But it was fun and rekindled my enthusiasm, which is always nice. It was also fun to compare the hectic Friday night big gun activity with Sunday having a lot of running stations who were, like me, under 100. I again stuck to hunt & pounce this year.
Biggest hint I learned this year? Your RF Gain is even more powerful than your filters when trying to quiet interference from adjacent frequencies.
Biggest complaint? Running stations who “QRZ” 10 or more times in a row without identifying themselves. I’m not calling you if I don’t know who you are. Second biggest complaint is repeating my call with nonstandard phonetics so I think you got it wrong. Me: “Whiskey Eight November Alpha Tango”. Them: “Washington Eight Noodles Aroogah Tsunami, 59 178”.
Anyway, a splendid time was had again.
Moral: Make yourself play.