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The 2006 ARRL DX Contest

I wasn't in much of a mood for contesting, but this was one of my favorite contests, so I knew I would at least get in it for a while. I set an initial goal of making 100 QSO's which I figured would not take all that much effort.

I got on just a few minutes after the contest started. There wasn't much at all heard on 20M, so I went to 40M, figuring I'd be battling some big pileups there. The pileups weren't all that big however, and I spent about an hour working mostly Caribbean stations. I also caught a few non-Caribbeans like CU2A, CU7/DL5AXX, IO3P, and S58A. Those of you familiar with contesting know that S58A is a big contester who racks up QSO's at a fantastic rate. So I was very surprised when he took time to greet me by name and ask what power I was running. That kind of made my evening.

I thought I'd get back on around midnight, and maybe see how 80M was, but I got to doing some other things around the house here and never did get back on before I went to bed.

It was the same when I got up in the morning. No contesting till around 11:30AM local time. I made 35 QSOs in about an hour and a quarter, most all on 20M as I didn't hear much of anything on 15M. 10M was totally dead the whole contest here, or at least at the several times I checked.

Actually 15M did provide some Caribbean QSO's and somewhat surprisingly F6KHM in an easy QSO even though that was the only fairly good signal from EU that I heard at the time.

During that time on 20M I worked 9A15DX for a new prefix. Also in the log was somewhat rare Iceland from TF4M, a DR prefix station from Germany, HQ9H from Honduras for a new prefix, and a bunch of the usual stations worked in such DX contests.

My next on air segment was 2315Z to 0005Z Saturday evening. In that time I had a minor thrill when I worked our 49th and 50th states within 2 minutes. I don't think I've ever done that before, but I did now with KL7DX followed by WH6R. That was on 20M which was the real workhouse band this year.

A few minutes in the 0200Z hour closed out my activity for Saturday. I worked J7OJ on 80M, my only 80M QSO. One of my regrets as I sit here writing this is that I didn't spend more time on 80M. Perhaps I could have done what I did a couple years ago when I worked 20 some countries on 80, but I'll never know now as I just didn't feel like getting on at all later that night just like Friday night.

I was at 68 QSO's so it looked like I would make my simple goal of 100 QSO's fairly easily with a couple hours of operation on Sunday.

I started a little earlier on Sunday and was more in a contesting mood than I was on Saturday. It helped that the 1400Z hour was good to Europe, and I worked quite a few EU stations in the first half hour. When I checked 20M, it was even better to Europe and I even easily worked RD3A, probably my easiest Russian QSO in some time. Many other eastern EU QSO's were also made. Just to mention a few: LY3BA, OH0JFP, OH8L, ES5Q, LY6A, YO6BHN, RK2FWA. It almost seemed like the peak spot years for a while, but not consistenly like it was then. I ended that period at 1545Z for some chow and other things.

Two more periods were to come. The first started at 1730Z when I spent almost 2 hours on 20M. I worked stations like ON4UN who as usual was racking them up fast and furious with his super strong signals. It took a good many calls to work him, but I didn't have an ON station yet, so I persisted till I got him. Also I caught J43J from somewhat hard to work for me Greece. K3IPK at 6V6U was fairly easy on 20 and also later on 40M. T92D was the only Bosnia station I heard in the test and I managed to work him up above 14100 as the activity spread all the way up to 14125 or so to accomodate the huge number of stations on 20M. I noticed I was getting close to 50 countries worked on 20M so that became another goal now. I had already passed 100 QSO's earlier in the day to achieve that goal and thought I'd go for 150 QSO's now. So I had a couple more goals to keep me going.

New countries kept coming on 20M with EA6UN, previously mentioned 6V6U and T92D, CO8LY, V26G, XE1MM, VP2MVX, PJ5NA, VP5/WJ2O, a surprising 7S2E late in the day to put me over the 50 country mark on 20M.

The last few of those countries came in my final time frame of 2200-2350Z. The QSO's came slowly in that time, but I had fun scouting out 20M looking for those new countries and anyone else I hadn't worked yet.

QSO number 150, my last came from EA5RS on 40M so I made not only my original goal, but my two other goals as well. Certainly far short of the 633 QSO's I made a few years ago, but nevertheless a lot of fun as are all big contests like this. I just wish I had the drive I used to have when I would put in at least 20-25 hours in such tests. My total time this contest was only around 8 1/4 hours. I guess I'm getting old or something. HI.

No Asians for my contest WAC this time so that is one continuing goal I didn't make. However I hope you realize that even if you can't turn out QSO's at the fantastic rates of the big contest stations, you can have fun with a simple QRP setup if you set goals for yourself in a contest and strive to make those goals.