Friday night and Saturday was the 2010 running of the RAC Winter ham radio contest. There was also the OK RTTY contest during the same 24 hours, but like last year I opted for the RAC contest. It’s really an enjoyable contest since it is just before the holidays, everyone seems to be in a good mood and all the ops are a bit less rushed and wishing each other, at least on SSB, happy holidays & a happy new year.
Started out on Friday night on 40m & 80m working both SSB and CW. Noise wasn’t too bad and anyone I could hear I could work. Called it an evening with exactly 100 contacts – 72 contacts were stations in Canada worth 10 or 20 points (VxxRAC call signs) and 28 stations were US based worth 2 points. I didn’t work any DX on Fri.
Saturday morning I got on around 1400z (9:00am) on 20m. Activity was on and off all day Saturday as I did various other things. I did end up spending more total time on the radio then I thought I would which means my wife is in better shape with what needs to be done for the holidays then I imagined. 20m was fine all day with enough new activity that if I stepped away for a bit and came back there were new stations to work on both SSB and CW. I spent all but a few minutes of the entire contest in S&P mode and didn’t bother with trying to hold a frequency and run, though the bands weren’t crowded and my 100w probably wouldn’t have been covered up by another station.
Like last year the Croatia CW contest was going on at the same time and the exchange is the same RST + serial number as the RAC contest so I’m sure I worked a few stations that were in the Croatia contest and I’m sure they worked stations in the RAC contest. I only worked 11 DX stations in the entire contest and I know on phone they were in the RAC contest but not sure about the handful of DX CW contacts logged.
I switched to 15m at 1645z (11:45am) and for the rest of the daytime hours I switched back and forth between 20m and 15m. I tried 10m a couple of times and didn’t hear anything at all – contest ops or otherwise. On each band I’d swap back and forth between CW & SSB mode. Last year I had a score of 75k points with 247 contacts and I noticed this year that I passed last years score just after 1800z (1:00pm) with just 184 contacts. Without digging in to why, the obvious reason would be I worked more stations in Canada (worth 5x or 10x points of a non-VE station) and had more Canadian sections in total across the multiple bands. I also noted that this year, when I hit 247 contacts matching last years total, I had a score of 110k vs 75k for the same number of contacts in 2009. That’s a 45% increase in points for the same number of contacts. Seems drastic to me but that is what the numbers show.
Around 2100z (4:00pm) I started to check 40m for stations that were either dedicated to just a single band or had multiple ops working. I started checking 80m about 2230z (5:30pm) and again found good activity, especially new Canadian stations, that I hadn’t worked on Friday evening. We were heading to a party but it didn’t start until 7:30 so I was able to work up until the end. I finished things off with 273 Qs (247 in 2009), 2340 contact points (1678 in 2009) and 53 sections worked across 4 bands (45 in 2009). The score this year was 124k vs 75.5k last year which was a pretty sizable jump in the final score.
Here is the score summary for the contest and the log has been sent in as well as uploaded to LoTW and eQSL.
Band Mode QSOs Pts Sec
3.5 CW 33 272 5
3.5 LSB 56 584 10
7 CW 43 300 7
7 LSB 13 144 6
14 CW 47 294 8
14 USB 55 502 11
21 CW 7 48 2
21 USB 19 196 4
Total Both 273 2340 53
Score : 124,020
I worked a total of 183 different stations with 2 stations being worked on 4 bands and 1 station, VE6RAC, being worked on 4 bands on SSB and 4 bands on CW for a total of 8 contacts each worth 20 points. I worked 13 additional stations on 3 bands.
Not sure if I’ll get any additional operating in between now and the beginning of the year and the RTTY Roundup with the holidays coming up, so I’ll wish everyone a happy holiday season and a happy & healthy 2011. Folks told me sunspots will appear in 2010, so lets hope they only were in a deeper sleep then previously forecast and they will come out from hibernation in 2011.
73 & good DX!