Ton o’ fun in the ARRL International DX Contest

It has been a cold & rainy past few days in Austin, TX. The type of weather suited for a warm cup of joe, hot cup o’ soup, and...

It has been a cold & rainy past few days in Austin, TX. The type of weather suited for a warm cup of joe, hot cup o’ soup, and my pups snuggled by my side in the radio shack!

I just had to get in on the action this weekend after I pulled up my spectrum display to check band activity – it lit up like the 4th of July! I’d never seen so much activity on the bands, what a treat! I was able to operate for several hours this weekend doing the whole ‘search & pounce’ method using my panadapter & was able to snag 56 contacts on 80/40/20/15/10! I added 9 new countries to my DXCC count, for a grand total of 50!

My furthest contact was to EI7M in Ireland at about 4,600 miles on 20 meters. I operated barefoot (100 watts) the entire contest. My off-center fed dipole was the clear winner in this contest hands down, I tried switching back and forth several times throughout the contest, and especially for noise purposes it beat out the Hustler. Many times when the other station couldn’t hear me on the vertical, I was booming in with the OCF. Maybe because most of my contacts were < 5,000 miles though, seemed like a large concentration of Central & South American stations. Most were using high power (thanks for that!), however I was able to snag several other barefoot DX stations as well. The preamplifier on the Kenwood TS-590SG really came in handy this weekend on the higher bands, I’d never really taken the time to tinker with it much before. It seems to do a really good job of amplifying just what needs to be heard in those weak signal situations.

I hope to continue improving & getting better by refining my contesting skills, it’s definitely not for someone who doesn’t like fast paced operating! I like it though, it’s almost like a rush comes over you when you snag a contact! I’m hooked. Not only that, but keep working on my antennas to improve efficiency! I’d like to be able to work those weak stations better! 

A big thanks goes out to everyone who participated, and a special thank you to those who took the time to dig me out of the noise! 

Made a short video excerpt of some operating last night, forgive the muffled audio when I go to transmit, I forgot to turn my transmit monitor on for the microphone! Next time…. 😋

ContestingHFKenwood TS-590SGYouTube Videos
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