North American QSO Party, CW

I enjoy the convivial fun of the semiannual North American QSO Parties, sponsored by the ARRL’s National Contest Journal. The exchange is simple – name and state – and you can work stations again on every band. Power is limited to 100 watts so you’re not competing with the “Big Guns”. It’s one point per QSO and states, counted separately on each band, are the multipliers.

It’s kind of like a pickup game of basketball, played by a bunch of friends from various teams during the off-season. Continue reading “North American QSO Party, CW”


cwops_225Earlier this year, I stumbled upon the weekly CWops sprints when working the monthly NAQCC sprint. Our “quiet” section of 40 meters around 7040 kHz was suddenly invaded by high-speed ops sending CWT and working each other with names and numbers. Sometimes, as QRP operators, we can feel like ants getting squashed underfoot, but among the callsigns were a few I had worked in the NAQCC events as well as some I recognized from other contests.

I recalled seeing the CWops events listed in WA7BNM’s contest calendar, so I checked it out. Continue reading “CWops”

WPX CW 2016

The portable "shack" location
The portable “shack” location

The CW WPX is one of my favorite contests, since I’m a multiplier for just about everybody I work. The CQ folks, however, schedule this contest on the last full weekend in May, which in most years also coincides with one of the biggest holiday weekends in the US, not only honoring our fallen service men and women but marking the unofficial start of summer. And is usually the case, my lovely XYL schedules us for a getaway “up north”, relegating any operation I had planned to whatever I can pack in the trunk of the car. Sure, I could stay home and spend my weekend in the basement talking to strangers, but I’ll take a family outing to Michigan’s Beautiful North and grab a few minutes here and there. Continue reading “WPX CW 2016”

Michigan QSO Party 2016

michigan-county-mapOne of the highlights of the year for me is the Michigan QSO Party, held on the third Saturday of April each year. It’s sponsored by the Mad River Radio Club and brings the spotlight to the Great Lake State.

Each year I try to do something a bit different – after all, the county I live in (Oakland) is one of the most active counties. I’ve tried in the past to get out and activate another county or help out another operation. This year, I did fewer than a hundred QSOs in a couple hours from home, way down in the pack in the single-op low power category, but spent most of my time at Michigan State University’s club station, W8SH. Continue reading “Michigan QSO Party 2016”