Contesting notes, May 2022

A summary of radiosport topics for the casual contester

I hope I got a chance to work you during the Michigan QSO Party. I was on the air from the Michigan State University Amateur Radio Club station W8SH. The students were home for the Easter/Passover break, so I operated solo. The QSO count was 384, mostly CW on 20, 40 and 80 meters.

As I write this, the Florida QSO Party is about to kick off. Florida usually features many mobiles operating from most of the 67 counties, some on county lines, so it should be easy to pile up county multipliers. The FQP always starts on the last Saturday of April, so this year it’s April 30 and May 1.

TheĀ  blockbuster of all amateur radio events returns after two years off due to the pandemic. Continue reading “Contesting notes, May 2022”

Contesting notes, April 2022

A summary of radiosport topics for the casual contester

March was bookended by two popular contests, the ARRL International DX Contest (SSB) and the CQ Worldwide WPX SSB contest. The WPX is a unique contest in that the prefixes of the stations you work are the multipliers, and full time operators can score in the millions because there’s an unlimited supply of prefixes and many, if not most, that you will work are new ones. I got on for just a few minutes at the beginning and the end, and by the end I was still a multiplier (NF8) for the stations I searched-and-pounced. If you missed the WPX fun, the CW running is the last full weekend of May.

April continues the succession of state QSO parties, Continue reading “Contesting notes, April 2022”

Contesting notes, February 2022

A summary of radiosport topics for the casual contester

February begins the annual cycle of one of the most popular activities in amateur radio. Every state and many Canadian provinces take part in QSO parties, where the goal is to make contacts within the state or states sponsoring the event. It’s a great activity both to get your contesting fix and to work on operating awards like Worked All States or various county awards, or to pick up states on bands that you need for 5-Band WAS.

Hams in the state sponsoring the party can work other hams in their own state or elsewhere for QSO credit, but hams outside the state typically only get credit for contacts with that state (there are a few exceptions, like Maine, that allow credit for all QSOs). Multipliers are counties (parishes in Louisiana), plus states/provinces/countries for stations in the party state. Continue reading “Contesting notes, February 2022”

Contesting notes – January 2022

A summary of radiosport topics for the casual contester

As we enter the new year, our calendars start to fill up with contesting opportunities. There are hundreds of contests each year, some of which are bound to be of interest to almost any ham.

The first general-interest contest of the year is the ARRL RTTY Roundup. A classic for decades, the RTTY Roundup now includes all digital modes, so it will be attractive to newer hams and anyone else who has been bitten by the FT8 bug. Continue reading “Contesting notes – January 2022”

Contesting notes, December 2021

A summary of radiosport topics for the casual contester

As we wrap up the calendar year, we can look forward to a month of contests that almost any ham can get involved in and have fun in.

The month starts and ends with a pair of topband (160 meter) contests. The dark days of December (in the northern hemisphere, anyway) provide many hours of low-absorption F-layer skip that allows those low frequencies to travel far, and with thunderstorm activity at a minimum, atmospheric noise takes a break.

The first weekend (December 3-5) features theĀ ARRL 160-Meter Contest. Continue reading “Contesting notes, December 2021”