ARRL DX Contest CW 2012

Last weekend I participated in CW part of ARRL International DX Contest. I decided for SO AB LP category.

My equipment was:

Unfortunately, I couldn’t have been QRV for the whole time, because I had to stay in Prague until Saturday morning. I started contesting at 11:30 UTC, on 20 meters band. Start wasn’t very good for me, during first two hours I made only 22 QSOs. Problem was, that it was a quite difficult for me to find U.S. and Canadian stations between stronger European ones.

ARRL DX CW 2012 - QSO map

ARRL DX CW 2012 - QSO map

At half past one I went to 15 meters band and it all became much better. I was able to find new stations easier and faster, and made twice as many QSOs during the same time. Most of them were to eastern states, more interesting QSOs didn’t came before 16:00. After that I managed to contact stations from Arizona, New Mexico and even from California! At about quarter to six, I heard a station from Nevada, one of four last states (ID, ND, NV, WY) I need for WAS award. Unfortunately, no matter how hard I tried, the station didn’t hear me…:-/

I didn’t make any more QSOs on 15 meters band, switched to 20 meters band for a while and then went to bed, setting my alarm clock for 1:30. My QSO count at the time was only 93.

After waking up I went to 40 meters band. Once again, I could hear lot of European stations, but almost no American. As it later turned out, CONDX weren’t very good that night, so it wasn’t just me not being able to find them… However, during one hour I made only 7 QSOs and decide it wasn’t worth it and went to sleep instead.

In the morning, while thinking about my problems with searching weaker stations I did something I should’ve done a years ago – carefully read the manual to my TRX. And there I found that FT-897D has 240/120/60 Hz DSP CW Peaking filter. After lunch, when higher bands opened ones more I turned on the 120 Hz filter – and didn’t turn it off ever since! It’s a great thing and for the first time, I could thourougly search through the whole band, recognizing callsigns of even really weak stations…

On Sunday afternoon I was much more successful on 20 meters band than the day before. 15 meters was still very good. However, once again I didn’t manage to contact any of my four remaining states.

During the contest I made 201 QSOs into 36 U.S. states and 5 Canadian provinces. My claimed score is 44 019 points. I’m quite happy with the result since it’s my best one so far in ARRL CW. It could’ve been much higher, if I “discovered” the DSP filter a little earlier…:-)

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