CQ DX SSB Contest

1st Day

My first day on my first contest, the CQ DX SSB Contest 2011, was not an easy one.
I started off checking which band was the best to start with. Since it was early in the morning (around 08:30 here, yes that’s early for a saturday morning, i wanted to start on 20m. So i checked the cluster and found out that it didn’t really matter where you start. All three bands (10, 15 and 20m) were open.
Since i almost never work on 15m i started to make contacts there.

A couple of things i learned today:

  • If there is a contest and you have a very limited setup like i have (no big beams, no amplifiers, etc), DON’T FOLLOW THE CLUSTER. Every single contact is a pile-up! As soon as i realized that i just started walking the dial of the radio. Across the whole band, up and down and try to work everything i hear. And i made the nicest contacts (P33P is an example, porr guy was all alone) like that. 
  • Use logging software. I used to use Ham Radio DeLuxe, but recently i moved over to the DXLab Suite (www.dxlabsuite.com). We the contest didn’t work with progressive numbers i didn’t run it in contest mode, but it’s soooo convenient to know where you are on the band, where the pile-ups are (so you can avoid them), additional info for a station, etc, etc.
  • If you use QRZ.COM for automatic lookups, get a payed account. Halfway through the day i ran into the 150 lookups/24 hours limit if the free account.
  • Take it easy. Don’t keep shouting for the same contact just because it’s a DXCC you didn’t work yet. Remember that the contest is about who makes the most contacts. Move on and pick the low hanging fruits first. Come back after an hour or so. For sure he already worked a lot of stations and you get your chance.
Don’t be just another one of the crowd!

The people who read my blog know that i normally don’t make a lot of contacts. For me HAM Radio is much more than making contacts. All in all i made 82 contacts today. With this i will not win the contest, but i had good fun. most of all because i got the feeling that i was doing something different than 80% of the stations participating in the contest.

I actually enjoy making contacts with the limited conditions i have. I’m sure that for me making QSO’s with OJ0X, OH0X or JA1YPA is a lot more exciting than for the many operators with long beams and huge amplifiers.

2nd Day

Today was a quiet day regarding the Contest. In the morning i had some personal stuff to do. No time for radio. I only got at the radio at around 16:00. Still i managed to make 30 contacts. Mostly 10 and 15m.
I know i will not win this contest, but i managed to get quite a few new DXCC so it was a good weekend for me.

Just a quick laugh at ourselves