This was my first CQ WW SSB contest. It turned out to be a very different experience then other contests I’ve participated in so far. First, the digital contests seem to be much easier to work and make contacts. That could be because there’s less people participating as well as that a digital contact is easier then a phone (voice) contact. The second reason is that with 100w and a dipole, you aren’t busting through any pileups. But overall, I’m happy with how things turned out. In this contest, other then to add a new multiplier, all contacts had to be DX so I there was no US-to-US contacts on then to grab a multiplier.
I ended up over the 2 days with 158 contacts. Almost all except 8 were on 20 meters with the 8 being on 40 meters. I ended up, combined with the bands, 84 countries and 25 zones with a combined score of 46,523 points. There were 11 new DXCC entities in my logbook at the end of the contest.
I was able to make my first voice contact with Alaska after a few previous RTTY contacts so that was neat. Other then Japan and countries like China and others in that area along with Austrailia, I think I was able to make a contact with all the countries I saw spotted on the band. I could actually hear Japan fairly strong but they couldn’t hear me. It wasn’t because of a pileup either as 2 strong stations were calling CQ over and over and just not able to hear me. Oh well, maybe next time.
I used my Heil Proset 5 for the first time and it worked extremely well. Even though it is light, it does make your neck a bit tired and your ears a bit sore, but taking just a min break every once in a while helps. So it was a good purchase to add to my equipment. I didn’t use the new voice keyer I purchased yet. I’ll save that for a rainy day.
There seemed to be a fair amount of activity on 15 meters but I couldn’t tune up the G5RV antenna with the Kenwood TS-2000 to put out a full 100 watts. I’d guess an external antenna tuner might do better then the internal tuner or of course a more appropriate 15m antenna would work. I’ll ponder what to do about that one.
When a new entity popped up on the band, if you weren’t quick enough, a big pileup started. For me, the most effective way is to either wait until there’s a pause after most stations put out their call and before the CQing op came back, or to just come back later. I think in almost all cases, I was able to make the contact.
I also noticed there’s a much less percentage of SSB folks which are using LOTW then RTTY folks. Within a day or two of a RTTY contest, a significant number of operators have uploaded their logs. Comparing that to this SSB contest almost a week later only 19 of the 158 contacts are confirmed on LOTW. I really wish folks used that more. I know I’d have DXCC confirmed since I have around 112 DXCC entities contacted in my log book.
So that’s my summary of my first CQ WW SSB contest. All fun!