Last weekend I worked the 2015 ARRL CW DX contest. I could not put in a full-time effort, so I entered in the “Assisted” category. This allows you to use a Telnet (or other) spotting service that provides a realtime list of active stations that you can work. It also highlights potential new multipliers. I would setup spotting and let the windows fill up with lists of stations. Then every hour or two, I would sit down and run the list of new calls. This seems like cheating, but everyone in this category has the same resources available. It does make me wonder how many people use spotting but do not enter as “Assisted.” Hopefully most operators still have a conscience, something that seems to be dwindling these days.
With my moderate station and antennas including only one ZS6BKW at 40′ and one ground mounted vertical with 4 radials over the Chesapeake Bay, I couldn’t believe the level of activity. There were as many QSOs available as you cared to work. I mostly used Search and Pounce mode, but one time I decided to Run on 40m and I had a constant stream of response for about an hour.
The Bands were great for this Contest. I operated 10 through 80 meters. I am generally not a huge DX’er but I do enjoy seeing what my station can do. One day I need to add a rotatable antenna, but for now I can’t complain. The highlight was logging China and Thailand. Overall I made about 525 QSOs and booked about 525,000 points. That sounds like a big score, but the big guns will have 2M or more.
This was a great contest for brushing up on CW and my contest operating station which always uses N1MM software. If you don’t know about N1MM and you operate (or plan to operate) in any Ham Radio contests, you need to know what you are missing.