Thursday, April 30, 2015

Heading to Dayton 2015!

Hotel secured!  Ticket ordered!  I'm heading to Dayton 2015!  See you there!

Monday, April 20, 2015

2015 Missouri QSO Party Experience

I participated in the 2015 Missouri QSO party contest this year. It was both fun and a learning experience for me, as this was the first real contest with my HF license. Below I tried to document my process and procedures for both critique and guidelines purposes for 2016.

1 Week Away

I downloaded HRD Log 5.0 (free version) from the net and was using this to control my KX3 and do my general logging, but wanted to play around with some other logging software. I decided to give N1MM a try. I installed it and set up for a sample MO QSO party contest and started logging some contacts. It seemed easy to enter in contacts plus I liked the very minimal interface. It didn't seem to tax my old laptop CPU, so I decided to give it a try.

My KX3 has a voice recorder built in and I wanted to record a script calling CQ, but I didn't get around to it. In hind sight, I should of figured this out, as calling CQ became annoying and I often got tongue tied trying to get the words out.

I downloaded the rules from the W0MA website and reviewed them. There were many categories to choose from as you had to pick one and stick to it, as I would of loved to pick and choose from a few of them (fixed and rover station).

Day of Contest - Saturday Morning

The contest started at 9am. I woke early and fixed a big breakfast as I assumed I was going to work through lunch. I turned on the radio and looked at the updating spots for the 2 bonus calls. I grabbed the main bonus call right away on 20m as I was only around 30 miles from that station. The other special station calls were N0X, K0X and W0X where X = either S, H, O, W, M, E spelling out SHOWME. If you worked each station spelling out "SHOWME" you were awarded the MO QSO certificate. I didn't grab the H or E station by the end of the contest, so no certificate for me.

I worked stations on and off on Saturday in to Saturday night. I took a few hours off as I didn't hear anybody on the bands and I was tired of calling CQ with no answers. The Mississippi QSO party was the same weekend and there were so many stations booming into Missouri, it sometimes took a while before I could find an clear frequency.

Day 2 of the Contest - Sunday

I tried to work as many stations in the morning as I had to leave for an Easter family function around 11am. I logged around half a dozen stations before I shut it down for the day. In the end, I worked around 28 stations with 21 unique MO counties, with 2 states and 1 Canada providence.

Lessons Learned

I need to get my antenna up higher. Currently it's only 10 feet off the ground in my back yard, as that's the highest I can get it right now living in the city, so it will have to do! The next lesson is, most of the time, more power doesn't always guarantee that distant station is going to hear you better. And the final lesson is, patience is golden when trying to get that contact.