Monday, 12 December 2011

ARRL 10M 2011 Contest

Contesting from the slow lane……

I had a lot of fun taking part in the contest. The conditions on 10 metres were pretty good in my humble opinion. I  managed to work quite a few stations despite my mediocre setup.

The only antenna I have for 10 meters is a simple rotatable dipole up at 7 metres above the ground. This is obviously far from ideal and I would have done much better with a decent multi element gain type of antenna.

I operated CW only and was single operator, unassisted using high power.

I managed to make: 411 CW QSOs and managed 110 multipliers. This includes 62 DXCC countries and 47 USA states.

I have mixed feelings about not being able to use the cluster spots as a single operator. It would have been handy to find new multipliers, but on the other hand there were hardly any major pileups to contend with. I do like using technology to its fullest and I certainly enjoy working with N1MM and using all the tools it provides including the real-time updating of the band map. I hope that in the future the ARRL will permit single operator in the assisted class.

My CW is most definitely not as good as it should be. I find that as the contest progresses that I become more relaxed and the speeds seem to be less hectic. I cannot help, but wonder if the contests took place at a slightly slower pace if the “throughput” would not be better? The speed demons have to repeat so many times and that could possibly been avoided if the sending speed was a bit slower.

I can only admire the skills of most of the running stations. On most occasions I only needed to drop my call once and the reply came back immediately. How do they do it? I cannot decode a full call that fast, let alone decode and enter the call into the contest logger. I guess I still have a looooong way to go.

73, Pierre ZS6A

ZS6A ARRL 10M 2011 QSOs vs Time


  1. Hello Pierre, that is a nice score. I don't believe too much in the help of a cluster. You easily make errors hearing another station then the one spotted, or wrong spotted stations. Anyway, everyone had a nice chance to DX even with simple equipment like us. By the way, I only used SSB this year. 73, Bas

  2. Hi Bas,

    Sorry I had your call wrong. Only saw it after hitting enter.

    I have mixed feelings regarding using the DX cluster. I think I must make a seperate posting regarding that subject on my blog.

    I am trying my level best to improve my contest CW. I feel like a rank beginner.....

    I will get there.

    73, Pierre

  3. Hello Piere, yes indeed conditions were very good.
    You have a nice score.
    As a QRP and milliwatt enthusiast, I enjoyed the contest by answering CQ, in about 70 CW QSO's. In the evening I worked with USA and in the morning with Russia. 73, Bert

  4. Good morning Piere, very good result on the contest and I too agree if the high speed guys slowed it down a bit things may run a bit smoother. I have a real hard time understand that real fast code. I am a S&P guy and yes I too admire the run stations who can get your call the first time around. I have tried to run and find myself asking for a repeat the first attempt. I missed the contest this year the house got it's tree up and I put my Elecraft P3 together.

  5. Pierre, how much difference do you notice when rotaing the dipole toward or away from a given station?

  6. @ Bert,

    To be honest using QRO almost feels like cheating. I am a big QRP fan, but the truth be told, using QRO is much easier and more effective. Living in South Africa does not help. Almost all the activity is 7000 km+ away. I.e. at least 2 to 3 F2 hops away. Not easy with QRP.

    @ Michael,

    I was getting a complex with my poor CW copying skills. I think I must be ralistic, I am new to international CW contesting and I have still much to learn.

    @ John,

    My antenna is rotated with the armstrong method, so I dont want to comment on the directivity just yet. When my XYL (the rotator Hi..) gets home, I will do a few test and will give you feedback. I suspect it is not very directional.

    73, Pierre

  7. John,

    At last I have had the chance to evaluate the directivity of the rotatable dipole.

    I was monitoring the FR1GZ/b some 2800 km away. With the antenna broadside I get S-2 to S-3 reading, with the antenna pointed end on there is nothing on the S meter and the signal is virtually inaudible.

    Looks like at least an 18 dB null?

    73, Pierre ZS6A

  8. Thanks Pierre - didn't mean to put your YL to the trouble but it's good to get the theory confirmed in the Real World. Those results help justify my ongoing efforts to find an easy (and cheap) solution to my own dipole's nulls.