Tag Archives: Awards

ARRl Sweepstakes 2017 – Roundup

The 2017 ARRL Sweepstakes was this weekend. I had some personal issues to deal with on Saturday and did not actually start working the contest until Saturday evening, 5 hours after the start of the contest. At this time of day 20m and up were closed down at the QTH. I started by working on 40m and spent most of my time there. The 40m 1/4 wave vertical worked great.I made contacts easily and the exchange was copied 100% about 95% of the time. I tried 80m on both the vertical and the DXtreme end fed and while both tuned up initially, there were problems when it came time to actually make contacts. The auto-tuner would start trying to re-tune every time I went to transmit. I only made one contact on 80m to North Texas. I worked Saturday until about 11:30 pm.

I ran a few more contacts on 40m early on Sunday morning before I left for church service. I picked up again in the early afternoon and started working on 20m and 15m. 20m was very busy and there was considerable QRM. 15m was open but there were significantly fewer stations. I struggled to make contacts initially but after about an hours they started to come in easily. I suspect that this was due to propagation changes. I quit around 5:30pm after making a few final contacts on 40m.

All in all, I worked the contest for only 6 hours and 33 minutes, made 124 QSO’s across 63 of the 83 available sections. I worked enough “rare” states that I completed my ARRL WAS for the phone endorsement using only LoTW confirmations.

What worked:

  1. Very pleased with the 1/4 wave vertical, with the IC-7300 and received several complements on my audio quality.
  2.  The Timewave ANC-4 has become easier and easier to setup and use. It is very valuable when noise conditions changes during the day. I am finding it to be effective at reducing shack noise.
  3. N1MM logger+ is very very handy for contest especially with the spectrum display on the PC with the IC-7300

What I need to improve:

  1. I don’t have a capability to work 80m and below effectively. This is a problem that I need to address as there were rich contact opportunities on 80m during the evening hours. I thought I could use the DXtreme for this purpose as I did in 2015 but I suspect there is something with that antenna that has changed. It may be time to bring it down.
  2. My foot gets tired using the foot switch. I switched back to the hand switch occasionally but I need a better switch for this purpose.
  3. Need to work on adjusting the receiver when there are many stations close in causing QRM.

I don’t really compete in contests for the prizes or fame. I work contests to test my setup over various bands and look for areas that I can improve. I think I was successful in that this year. That being said I was only 20 sections from a clean sweep mug so who knows? maybe next year?

 

 

 

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DX100 Award!!!

I achieved the QRZ.com DX100 award today thanks to an early morning JT-65 contact with DV1FZE in the Philippines. As of today I have logged a total of 2878 QSO’s and confirmed 100 countries using QRZ electronic logging only. I am now working to close the ARRL DXCC award and need only 5 more entities via LoTW contacts.

To the Beach!

Taking the FT-817 to South Padre Island today. I don’t have the artificial ground yet but will try without it. I can try two antennas. The first is the end fed antenna with a 9:1 matchbox. Will try and wind 30 ft of wire on the 26 foot pole. I’ll have to run with a tuner and spread out the coax on the floor of the balcony. May also run a wire down about 20 feet as a counterpoise. Next choice is a vertical 20m dipole. For that I’ll run a 16 ft wire vertical and another hanging from the balcony and use a 1:1 current balun. I am on the third floor of a wood and brick structure and an about 150 yards from the Gulf of Mexico.

Reached 100 DX entities – unofficially

I made a 20m SSB contact to Guadalupe in the Caribbean yesterday which got my unofficial DX count to 100. It is unofficial because I don’t have the electronic confirmation either though QRZ or LoTW. My official tally is 85 for DXCC and 88 for QRZ DX World. It has taken awhile to get here and the new antennas I have been testing help quite a bit. Wish more folks could confirm either through QRZ or LoTW!

My First ARRL Award

I have been working on getting my awards through the ARRL only using LoTW. This turns out to be a bit of a challenge in itself. I previously received the 50 states award from QRZ but the ARRL WAS has been elusive. I was just missing one state, Vermont. I worked a station in Vermont during the ARRL North American QSO party and he just confirmed our QSO on LoTW. I’ll be applying for my first WAS award from ARRL today!