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The 2012 ARRL DX Contest

In writing this just now, I'm thinking I probably should have tried for some new mW countries in the contest, but I didn't think of it at the time. Oh well, in general conditions weren't as good as last year's ARRL DX and CQWW DX contests, so I was probably better off sticking with 5 watts.

I also didn't think about setting any goal for the contest like I usually do. I just got in the test Friday evening to get my daily QSO which I did right away when I worked V31RR on 20 meters. Then I decided to stay and fool around for a while.

As usual the first hour of a big DX contest is not for the minimal QRP station like mine. All the big KW stations are busy working each other the first couple hours in those big contests. I did manage to squeeze in my call to 4 more stations before I quit for the time being. I worked PJ4, VP9, VP2M, and EA8. Nothing spectacular there although VP2MMM on 20 did have quite a pileup which I beat.

When I came back around 0500Z, the first station I worked was VP2MMM on 40. It was still pretty rough competing against the KW boys. I put 6 more stations in the log before going to bed at 0600Z. Included was CR6K in Portugal - my only 80 meters QSO of the contest. Still 12 QSOs on a Friday evening is not bad for my setup, and probably about average for me.

I woke up around 1000Z, and decided to check around, but conditions weren't good and I wasn't hearing much of anything strong enough to work. I worked P49Y on 40, then went back to bed.

I started in again in the 1400Z hour, hoping that 15 and 10 would be in great shape. Well, I would say fair to good shape would describe 15 and fair would describe 10. My only 10 meters contact was with PJ2T on Saturday in that 1400Z hour. I did add a couple more 10 meters QSOs later in the day - P49Y and VP2MMM. That PJ2T QSO was my only new band country in the whole contest bringing me to 145 worked on 10 meters.

As I said, 15 was better, and I worked quite a few stations there during the day starting with CR3L at 1425Z and ending with KH6LC at 0023Z. One notable being ZD8Z who was quite weak here, yet it took only one call to get him. That seems to be a good part of the world for me to work as I always seem to work D4 easily on all bands. Also some of the west coast AF stations as well.

20 and 15 were the workhorses on Saturday with around the same number of QSOs. After working VP5OU on 20 at 0034Z, I never got on again until 1430Z Sunday morning. Early Saturday evening though, I did work 2 JAs and 2 Asiatic Russians. All four were very fluttery, but fairly easily worked

Sunday turned out to be better than Saturday with better conditions on 10 and 15 meters. Still all my 10 meters QSOs were Caribbean or South America. Nothing from 'across the pond'. 15 on the other hand provided many EU QSOs from as deep into EU as Ukraine and European Russia. 20 was again the workhorse though and provided me with most of my QSOs in the contest as I'll show later. Late Sunday evening my friend Mike KC2EGL dropped by for a visit and he sat with me for the final 90 minutes or so of the contest. I didn't find many stations I hadn't already worked then, but Mike and I had a good time nevertheless.

I wound up with 184 QSOs in 61 countries. Nowhere near as good as almost 300 QSOs and 93 countries back in November in the CQWW DX contest though.

Here are a few stats before I close this report.

QSOs per band:
80 - 1
40 - 10
20 - 90
15 - 67
10 - 16

Continents worked: All six

Hours in the contest: about 9

Average QSOs per hour: 20.4

And that concludes the report. Summing up - not one of my best ever contests, yet for the short amount of time I put in, not too bad. One new band country - # 1,013 overall. A handful of new prefixes. The frustration of hearing 2 Nebraska stations several times and not being permitted to work them since USA/VE only work DX. Oh, I need NE to complete Elecraft WAS and NAQCC QRPp WAS. I don't know why that state is so hard for me to work.

I hope you had as much as or more fun than I did in the contest.