I enjoyed working the ARRL Sweepstakes again this year. I operated in both CW and Phone this year. My major effort was in CW, where I managed a personal high score, finally breaking the 100K point barrier. For several years I have been wishing I was involved with a Club that could use my scores to help their totals. After receiving an invitation, I joined the Potomac Valley Radio Club (PVRC) the week before ARRLSS. So I was happy to give them my scores. Hopefully they will be a small contribution to a winning PVRC effort.

In addition to CW, I also put in a reduced-hours effort for Phone. I did enjoy it but it is just not as much fun to operate a modest 100w station in a Phone contest. You get very little traction when trying to “RUN” on the higher Bands unless you have a superior antenna. My wires and one ground-mounted vertical do not stand out against the beams and towers. I ended up with around 340 QSOs.

Once again – no Sweep. In each of the two weekends I ended up with 82 of 83 Sections worked, lacking VE8 in both CW and Phone. In the CW contest, I only heard a VE8 working other stations in S&P Mode. I tried every trick I could think of, but he never found me. I operated with spotting assistance during the Phone weekend. With about 2 hours remaining, I saw a spot for a VE8. I went to find him and encountered an unbelievable pileup. I probably spent close to an hour trying to get through, but finally gave up. In the end, I think I am better off without getting the Sweep using Spotting. I think I want my first Sweep to be Unassisted. I just think the satisfaction will be much greater.

Maybe next year…

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