Blue Flower

A nice part of my hobby is Contesting:

What is contesting? -> You have to get as much points / QSOs as possible in a exact period of time. So most of the international Contests are going 24 or 48 hours.

During the year there are a lot of interesting contests. There are local contests from a country's ham radio club, or contests for a special event. And there are the big one's like WAG, IOTA, WPX, and CQWW.

Because i have two children and a YL who don't like me to go into my shack for a day or two, i could only tell something about the CQWW SSB Contest at the last full October weekend - every year!

The CQWW is a 48h Contest, starting at 0:00 UTC saturday and ending at 23:59.99 UTC at the sunday night. Here in Germany at this weekend there's also the Summer-to-Wintertime change - so the sunday is a special one here (because everybody has to set his personal clock again and because they "steal" us a hour of daytime in the evening...)

For me the contest normally starts a week before with the WAG (Worked all Germany) Contest a weekend before - where i check the equipment. Normally everything should be fine. So the CQWW weekend could come. I start contesting on Saturday in the early morning, 5:00 UTC or a little bit later. Mostly on 80m, and then following the propagations to 40, 20, 15 and 10m. When 10m is open and fine, it's the most crowded band during the daytime and you could hear stations around the world in the complete (!) SSB part of 10 meters. So i have to set the beam in the right direction and wheeling the VFO Knob up an down on every band, collecting DXCCs and Zones as Multiplieres. Last year i had about 80 QSOs less than 2012, but a little bit more points because i strictly searched for the Multis on the bands.

I'm no CQ caller, so most of the time i search the bands. A good way to get DX contacts on 80m is listening the US guys calling above 3.8MHz and they are saying their RX freq. in the Region 1 band between 3.6 and 3.8. You don't find them in our normal 80 meter band - they are above us!. Also cluster use is helpful (but be fair, use "assisted" in your logfile which you send to the contest manager)

But it's a hard time. Normally the family is in the house and so i take a lot of breaks during the day and finish on saturday night 23:59 UTC. On sunday the same again, starting early, and the end is on early monday when the contest time is over. When it's 0:00 UTC on monday, you feel like finishing a sitting marathon and your ears are red from the headset, your voice is damaged, your feet have some pain from the foodswitch, and you only want to go to bed.

Normally i spend 24 to 28 hours in front of my TRX - in a 48h period that's a lot of time. If you want to get some points and a lot of QSOs, you need to have a good health (no cold, because then it makes no fun) and a lot to drink, good food, and you have to want it. It costs time - a complete weekend is gone when you're finsihed. You only made QSOs - but that's the reason - that's the fun. And also sending out hundrets of QSL cards in the next weeks, because i also qsl for contest contacts.

I stopped contesting before starting or after some minutes because i was ill (then it makes no fun), the propagation was bad (during 80m local contests) or even one of the children is ill. Because of this i only do contests for fun and not being in a club team. At the time i couldn't do that for 100% - maybe in a few years, in the next sun cycle.

 

Why doing all that?

When you're a young Ham it's a easy way to collect new DXCCs. In my first 48h CQWW (the second i made, in 2011) i collected over 30 new DXCCs (in 2012 there were 3, in 2013 only one - but this is normal over the years when you reached most of the entities who are normally active during the year).

And after some years you gonna like the "last October weekend" as the "end of the ham's year" because during November until February there's the Lowband season and you didn't have to work much stations in the evenings when 20-10 is closed with sundown.

I don't make it for the fame - i got some places around #50 or so in DL over the years. It's fun to see your points rising over the years, your experience grows, and also your bandpoints raise with such contests.

 

It's not the aim to get a Top 10 Place - being there is the reason!