Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Lessons from the VA QSO party

My score is counted, my logs are in, overall I'm ready to go. So, now that I've done my first contest, what do I think of the whole thing?

First of all, let me start out with my score. I ended up with 6710 points, if I did all of my math correctly. That ended up to be 58 mobile contacts, 22 phone contacts, 24 multipliers, and 20 different counties. I believe I made a contact almost 100 miles away by 2m simplex! It was a fun trip, I did see some cool weather, but I ended up driving 350 miles, which was a bit too much... Still, I would say that it was worth it overall.

What did I learn?

1. Bonus points don't get multiplied... Doi! I would have done things very differently if I had realized that.
2. Being limited to one band of VHF is very difficult indeed. Next time, if I do VHF only, I want to bring multiple bands.
3. I needed more log space. I probably would have made another dozen or so contacts, or more, if I had more log space. I should have had enough space for 150 contacts, I only had space for 90...
4. Sometimes you have to pay careful attention to the station far away, and other times you have to be willing to block them out a bit...
5. Other stations often hear things you don't. Try not to step on their conversations.
6. Often it pays to write down some of the information that you are hearing when an exchange is happening, hoping that you can get in there before the exchange is over.
7. Multipliers are really important, but not necessarily the most important thing.
8. Never underestimate the power of a random person passing through listening to their radio. I made several multipliers and new counties of contact because I called out on the National Calling Frequency, 146.520, which allowed me to make other contacts.
9. Fewer stops would have been better. I could have made more contacts if I hadn't gone the route that I did. Choose the high ground earlier on in the day.
10. There is an art of working a contest, which I need practice doing...
11. There are a lot of sources of RF interference. I noticed several light fixtures, for instance, which produced so much noise I couldn't hear anything but static when I was close to them...

What will I do different next time? Well, I really hope to be operating from my home on HF next time, trying to get the mobile 2m and other bands, but overall just enjoying it as best I can from the comfort of home. I should be able to get more contacts from such, and not be as stressed from all of the driving. If not, I'm going to take fewer stops, and try to make them count more.

No comments:

Post a Comment