As far as I was aware, this weekend was going to be pretty much contest free and I planned to do some work on my aerials. I received some new spacers for the Hexbeam and although I fitted the 15m ones before the BARTG RTTY bash, I didn’t have time to do the other bands. This weekend I wanted to do those and convert my delta loop to a doublet due to RF feedback problems with the SGC Smartuner and the loop.
However the weather this weekend has been absolutely terrible with snow falling for most of Saturday, the temperature barely going above freezing today and strong winds throughout the whole weekend.
I noticed late yesterday afternoon via a RTTY reflector that there was a QRP RTTY contest today. It didn’t appear on any of the contesting lists I check and that’s why I wasn’t aware of it but I decided to give it a try. This contest is organised by ARI Rimini and it’s the first year that it’s been run. I did email the SM3CER Contest Service late last night and it’s now been added so hopefully there will be more participation next year.
The contest ran in two rounds, the first from 08:30 to 11:30, then an hour for lunch (which is very civilised) and the second part from 12:30 to 15:30. There’s no mention in the rules if stations can be worked in each round so I just assumed they could.
I was in the shack at 08:30, all warmed up and ready to go. Not that there’s much warming up to be done in a QRP contest with no amplifier to worry about. My first QSO was within a few seconds of my first CQ call and then that was quickly followed by…
and more nothing…
In the time between 08:30 and 09:45 I worked seven stations consisting of four Finns, two Italians and one Ukrainian. I had gradually been pushed further up the band by the pileup for T2YY so at that point I stopped running QRP, fired up the
Quattro amplifier and tried to break the pileup.
I didn’t manage it.
An hour later, I turned off the amplifier, wound the power down and I was back calling CQ WW QRP TEST until 11:30. I managed to add another *checks log* zero contacts. At the end of the first round I had just seven QSOs in the logbook.
It was time for lunch. During the lunch hour, rather than have any lunch, I tried again to work T2YY, this time on 17m CW. I still didn’t manage it, this was turning out to be a disappointing day.
So onto the afternoon session. This was significantly better than the morning round because I worked another 13 stations taking me up to a total of 20 QSOs. As the rules don’t list any multipliers, I guess that gives me a total of 20 points.
As soon as the contest finished, I kicked off WSPR and transmitted just one cycle on 20m with 5w output, the same power I’d been using in the contest. Here’s where I was heard.
The band was clearly in good shape, it’s just that the participation during this QRP contest was very low. I put that down to the lack of publicity that the contest had prior to the event. Hopefully the organisers won’t be disheartened and there will be more entrants next year.
As a comparison to the WSPR map above, here’s a map of the 20 stations I worked today. Luckily I was able to do other stuff in the shack at the same time so I wasn’t completely bored.