So after a long hiatus, I decided to run a contest again. This weekend, from 7 PM EST Saturday to 7 PM EST, was the ARRL International DX Contest. This one is where all of the stations in North America, save for Alaska, Hawaii, and a few other places (these are treated as DX for the contest), try to contact stations in other countries. The premise of the contest is to improve operating skills and I do enjoy that aspect but I also enjoy the thrill of the chase, if you will. I won this contest in my state and in my ARRL Division (Delta Division which is Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi) in 2016 "by accident". I'm hoping to win this year also though in in a different operating category.
For this year, I worked 18 different countries. My total score this year is 1998 points. The score I won with in 2016 was 432 points. The only difference between the two contests, besides my score, is that I made a single contact on 40 meters while the rest were all on 20 meters so I am in a different category. I hope I win again this year also! It would be fun.
I had to dig through some serious QRN and QRM (atmospheric and man-made noise) this year as well as a lot of QSB (fading) on the incoming signals. There were the usual idiots in the US who think because they're running 1500 watts in a contest—which, to me, defeats the purpose of a contest—and the same idiots who are rude and think again that if they have power to use that they can just stomp over everyone else. Then there were the idiots who can't follow the law … and others who just shouldn't be on the air. But that's how it is in every contest I participate in now, sadly. No respect or common courtesy.
Even with all that, I had fun. I ran the contest for about four and a half hours and enjoyed it tremendously. I'd love to have a small amp to help reach some places that I have issues getting to on the air such as Brazil and Chile. I believe in using as little power as possible when operating, contest or not.
I did hear someone running QRP (5 watts) from Spain in the contest.
I am very interested in getting my Mosley RV-4C vertical antenna set up and using it in a contest to see if it works better than my 80 meter EFHW dipole.
My little IC-718 did great in the contest as always as did N3FJP's ARRL International DX Contest logging software.
I'm looking forward to next year's contest already!