Saturday was the 2011 NAQP RTTY Sprint Winter run of this fun ham radio contest. It’s a 12 hour ham radio contest where single ops can operate for 10 hours total (30 hour min breaks if taken). it started out 1pm local time here in NJ and I got onto 20m to start right at 1pm. The exchange is name and state (if not DX). I did a lot of S&Ping in the beginning and then bounced to 15m where I hit up stations I could hear there. After checking 15m about 45 mins into the contest I popped to 10m just for the heck of it and was able to work 2 Arizona stations that were coming in loud and clear – W6LL & W7WW. I checked 10m once more later in the day but didn’t hear any one else and I didn’t call CQ.
In the late afternoon I called CQ on 20m for a while working some DX stations (points but no multipliers) and had a couple of Alaska stations call me which is always great. I even had a Japan station send me their call but I had too much trouble pulling it in. I think the JA station was JH2FXK. Oh well, thanks for trying!!
I took a 30 min break to go and pick my two daughters up from returning from a week trip to Europe. They went with kids from their school and the bus bringing them home from the airport brought them all right into town. They had a fabulous trip and want to move to Barcelona. Because I took that 30 min break, I operated until 11:30pm local time, 10.5 hours after I started the contest.
I then started to focus on 40m popping back to 20m to see if anyone new came along that was calling CQ. Each time I’d find a few new stations and then switch back to 40m and then eventually 80m. The bands seemed to be in good shape and copying stations on any of the bands was not particularly difficult. As the day went along, working a station on another band is primarily just making sure you have the call correct as the exchange is the same (Name & State) so even a rougher copy is not a big deal and repeats aren’t usually necessary.
I ended up working all US states except Vermont and Hawaii. I didn’t run into any HI stations on 20m or 15m which are the likely bands for me and I didn’t hear any VT stations on 40m or 80m which is the likely band I’d work them on. So it was a close WAS-in-10-hours but not a complete one. I worked 1 WV and 1 MS station which always seem to be the troublesome ones for me to find in a US contest. SC is also sometimes a tough one for me but I worked 2 different SC stations in this NAQP as well as multiple RI and DE stations.
As I approached last years Feb NAQP QSO count of 344, I had fewer multipliers, so my score was lower for the same number of Qs. It took a bunch more Q’s this year to surpass the 43,344 score from last year. The 77 additional Q’s in 2011 vs 2010 put my claimed score at 54,730 so it’s a good improvement in points and Q’s over last year.
I had a quick dinner break and spent most of the evening on 40m and 80m alternating between CQing and S&Ping when CQing slowed down. I was able to hold a frequency for as long as I wanted so having the other stations at 100w, even with much better antennas then my wire ones, helps in that regard.
Even when I finished up there were still stations active so either they were operating the full 12 hours or folks took more breaks or started later then the beginning of the contest. I didn’t hang around on the air much longer to see when activity seemed to really drop off.
I did notice 1 operator with a mis-typed name sending GEROGE instead of GEORGE. This situation occurred last fall in the same contest with TOM vs T0M (letter vs number zero) and depending on how (and if) George submits his log, there might be some folks that have GEORGE and some that have GEROGE. Hopefully the contest folks, as they did with TOM vs T0M, can handle this in their log checking.
Here’s my score summary. Thanks for all the contacts!!
Band QSOs Pts Sec NA 3.5 122 122 39 0 7 107 107 39 3 14 171 171 34 2 21 19 19 10 2 28 2 2 1 0 Total 421 421 123 7 Score : 54,730