Monday, December 12, 2005

ARRL 10 Meter Amateur Radio Contest

This weekend the American Radio Relay League sponsored a contest, one of many that occur in any given year. The contest was specific to the 10 meter Amateur Radio band, or 28.0 to 29.7 MHz.

I had thirteen QSOs for the contest, with four different States and two other countries for a total of 156 points. Yes, that is a really low score, but it was my first real contest. I was very pleased to make two contacts in Washington State, one in Aruba, and one in Venezuela. The others were all local, MD, VA, WV. I probably could have made a higher score but I spent a lot of time Saturday and most of the time on Sunday operating CW mode. While I heard a lot of CW between 28.00 and 28.03 MHz, the license class I have right now is limited to 28.1 to 28.5 MHz. I was a bit frustrated, the problem was mostly that my antenna is just a wire out the window and wasn’t receiving other stations very well. I got an e-mail from Tucson Arizona who heard my signal but couldn’t contact me. I heard him answer me, but the signal was very weak and I didn’t get all of his call sign.

Even though I was frustrated that I didn’t make any CW contacts, I still had fun. I sent out all but one QSL card, the one for Venezuela. The others were all in the US, the station in Aruba also had a US address, maybe someone on vacation. For the Venezuela contact I needed an 80¢ stamp, plus I wanted to get some international reply coupons to cover postage for a return card.

Next year should be more fun, for one, my Morse code speed should be much improved, and I’ll have a general or higher license class to allow me to operate the entire band. And maybe, just maybe I’ll have a decent antenna in the air.

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