My 1st Contest; Doing the Contest

CQ WW DX Contest 2012

On the 27th and the 28th of October I worked my first ever radio amateur contest; the CQ World Wide DX contest 2012! On saturday I didn’t have the whole day free to do contesting but the whole Sunday was available for this. In theory I had enough time to make a great score, in practice this worked out differently…

I decided to work the contest on all bands with full legal power; which is 400W for me in The Netherlands with my Full license. To work the 160m and 80m bands I needed to get up pretty early because they are only really ok in the dark, when the D layer in the ionosphere isn’t there to screw things up. A problem was that I just didn’t have the right antenna for these bands. The one antenna (an endfed) I thought would maybe give me some QSO’s was in the end just an RFI creator. I think more power was on the coax cable then going into the antenna luckily I used only 100 watt! 😉

The mistuned antenna even turned the TV on, downstairs (I was on the top floor). Hope I didn’t bother the neighbors to much with this TVI. 😉 Luckily this RFI everywhere was only in the few hours in the early morning when I was trying out the bad antenna. After this I used my dipoles which are perfectly tuned so they don’t give any problems with TVI.

I guess for me, my antenna’s are anyway a problem. With my license I can use all Radio Amateur bands but in the end I only have good antenna’s for the 10m, 15m and 20m HF bands (and for VHF / UHF of course). In the end I decided to focus on these 3 HF bands in this contest and jump from one to the other if propagation (or pileups) so demanded.

Now for me the contest really started. I decided to first do search and pounce and if the possibility arose I would also start doing some calling CQ contest for myself. In the end the search and pounce option was the only one possible for me. The bands were just to full for my relatively “limited” power and antenna’s. My signal would have been lost in the QRM of the Spanish, Italians and Ukrainers with their multi kilowatt amplifiers and high antenna towers!

Maybe next year I will have an antenna upgrade which will make me able to compete on a better level. I still think my legal limit (400 watt) is more than enough power if you use the right antenna. If you use more power than that you’re normally only bothering other amateurs, you’re not getting many more QSO’s. In the end to much power makes them hear you, but you will not hear them.

On the whole I enjoyed myself a lot in my first contest! I spent 4 hours contesting on saturday and also 4 hours on sunday, so in total 8 hours for my first contesting weekend. I think this was a nice first try! 🙂 My contest results in the end weren’t so impressive though. The real professional contesters work more than 1000 QSO’s per day, I did 179 in 2 days! One QSO every 3 minutes. Still as I said, it was more a trial; trying out my equipment and just to see what it is to do a contest. I also added some nice new countries to my collection like Gambia, Senegal and Kuwait and I worked a new radio amateur entity; Kosovo (Z60WW).

Now, finally, what you have all been waiting for of course; my contest statistics:

CQ WW DX Score of PA1CA
CQ WW DX Contest Score of PA1CA

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