HF improving

Ham radio contest email reflectors are abuzz this morning with results pouring in from the contests on the weekend. One of the more unusual and popular contests was the Radio Society of Great Britain’s Commonwealth Contest. This CW only 24-hour contest runs only on 80, 40, 20, 15 and 10 meters and is limited to members of the RSGB in the UK and amateurs operating in any former or current Commonwealth or British Mandated Territories. Canadian contesters report working stations in Australia, New Zealand, former Commonwealth nations in Africa and the Caribbean as well as India and the Asian areas.

Next weekend, it’s the Russian DX Contest where we expect to see as many as 4,000 participants from around the world all trying to exchange a score with a Russian station. Last year, 737 logs were filled from 56 countries containing over 368,964 QSOs. (This means 3,818s stations reported making at least two QSOs during the 24 hour contest where you can work anybody anywhere and still score points. Oh yes, the contest is also mixed mode so you can operate CW and SSB or both. This is a pretty good contest even if you’re running 100 watts (or even 5) to a dipole and you can get on 40 and 20 meters.

The weekend after that sees the CQ WW WPX SSB contest (The CW portion comes May 29-30.). One of the really interesting aspects of this contest is the WPX Contest Records going back for 25 years are available online. You can search your geographic region to determine if there’s a category you might want to enter and win. For example, I hold first place in the  CQ World-Wide WPX Contest….15 meter Single Operator QRP category for CW. I have gone unchallenged since 2002! So anybody who can get on next May and work more than 92 QSOs will take it. :) In SSB (which is much harder on SSB than CW), you’d need more than 408 QSOs on 15 meters to break VE7SBOs’s 1998 record of 408 QSOs.

CQ WW WPX attracts more than 30,000 participants with over 4,000 actual contest logs submitted in the 2009 contest. BTW the two top Canadian scores where held by Ron, VE3AT at VC3A (you get some really weird prefixes popping up in this contest) who beat John, VE3EJ, by less than one half of one per cent. Wow.

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