Conditions on the weekend for the ARRL DX CW contest were generally fabulous. Friday night on 40 was tough but 20 meters opened early on Saturday morning and stayed pretty well hot until early afternoon when there was a slump.
In photo: That’s the entire station!
One Flex 1500 into an auto tuner, noise-cancelling headphones and paddles.
The computer runs Writelog and I use the program’s memory keyer. This is the most compact station I’ve ever put together and one of the more competitive.
Hook it up to an end-feed Par 40/20 antenna and you too could be contesting! Do it with 100-watts and get DXCC in a weekend!
Sunday started with another early 20-meter opening closely followed by an opening on 15 and then, glory be, an opening on 10 meters.
Here at VE3HG while I have slopers up for 160 and 80 they don’t work well on DX contests and are basically so-so even for domestic contests. My 40 through 10 antennas are as good as it can get on a larger suburban lot.
To score lots of points you need the higher bands to open where you’re more efficient and the antennas work better (as they’re more likely at least a 1/4 wavelength up in the air allowing for lower angle of radiation) so a 10 meter opening is a blessing especially for us QRPers. For an hour or more I worked every station on the band as I tuned from one end to the other.
As I said in a comment to the Contest Club Ontario’s members-only email reflector if I had more power to run, I’d run it but having only five watts makes certain I don’t up my power to 100 watts or even a KW (and thus change categories) when the going gets tough as it did Saturday night.
There’s nothing so satisfying as running five watts and doing 400+ QSOs! I even worked New Zealand on long path (over the North Pole) and Japan and Senegal with ease.
My next goal is to do 500 Qs in another big DX contest but in order to do that I’ll need to makes some improvements in my 80-meter setup (Likely put in a 80-meter inverted-L antenna for next winter’s contesting season.) and maybe rearrange some of the other wire antennas.