This to me is the best CW contest after WAECW (yes the QTC game). Why? You actually need to copy something that can’t be predicted. Not before the first contact anyway. A serial number and your lon/lat coordinates. That’s 123 50N04O from me to you. It’s only a twelve hour contest so it doesn’t wear you out nor does it put a burden on the family calendar. Scoring is distance based (YEAH!!!) and there are no multipliers. CW only. What’s NOT to like???
I have always done this very casually, kicking in just before sunrise. And I have always said I should do this one from the start. And so I more or less did this year. After all, this contest offered me my first real wooden (or any other material) DX plaque. It’s like an IOU to the contest sponsors. Tower up one level? Check! 80m vertical wire hung as inverted L? Check! Ought to be good enough for some fun. Alarm set after two hours sleep? Check and a very bad idea. The contest starts at 1AM local and I wasn’t feeling happy after a such short nap. My brain’s lubricant’s viscosity was high. I had a hard time copying the (seemingly) QRQ exchanges especially without the otherwise mandatory 5NN to synch the human CW decoder. After a few rounds the engine ran warm and the dits and dahs fell in place.
Things were not too fast and I switched between 80 and 40. I might have overestimated the importance of these first hours from here. I only worked a handful of Americans on 40/80. In my memory I seemed to have worked more in previous editions, at my sunrise. But I might have romanticized this somewhat. So when it comes to big point DX contacts, it was a bust. I lingered on 40m to catch a VK/ZL at my sunrise (major points!) but it wasn’t meant to be. There was PY4XX I believe. And always happy to hear those fluttery UA0 signals coming in from high up north and far east. That’s *cha-ching* 150 points or more.
Conditions on the higher bands (20 and 15) were ok but not fantastic. Ten meter was pathetic. You can take those 28 MHz monobanders down, big boys. Over and out there for predictable and rock solid propagation. CU in eight years or so. I tried ten meters but had to switch between twenty and fifteen to keep things going. I remember one of my fastest hours was in this contest: 178 or so? Well, not this time. Not by far.
I ended up with 760 contacts or so. That of course is my best so far in this contest. Weird to say that in a year where I missed many contests and did most only for fun and not competitive at all…