What a contest it was! I can only speak of 40m but I had a truckload of fun there. Taking over the Belgian record for SB40(A)HP was the cherry on top. I shouldn’t sell the bear’s skin before the log checking is over but I assume the margin is big enough. If not: who cares? It’s not that busses full of tourists will stop by and take pictures. And I shake the mayor’s hand once in a while already.

I did much reading on 3830. It seems that everyone had a ball. I cannot think of anything else that offers so much fun and satisfaction. CW contesting is my favorite aspect of the ham radio hobby. Without it I don’t think I’d be as passionate or worse: lose interest altogether.

After a contest I used to ask myself: how do they do that ? They being those who have monster scores in my category. That being the monster score. This time I didn’t ask the question. It was my contest-friend ON3DI who asked if it wasn’t frustrating that each and every time I end up somewhere in the bottom of the top ten after what could be called a successful effort.

The answer: no it doesn’t frustrate me. Not anymore. Because I know how they achieve that score. Maybe they are in a superior location? When it comes to contesting, it’s location, location, location. This time for SB40(A)HP, it’s not so much the location because the stations scoring better than me on 3838 right now, are from S5, SP, 9A, OK, LX and F. When it comes to propagation I guess F and LX are the same. And it’s not that these other guys are in the Caribbean.

I looked for what I could found about these station’s setups. They all have bigger and better antennas high up in the sky. It’s hard to compete against three or four element yagis on towers that are 40m or higher. Some guys have stacks or a second ‘smaller’ yagi they can use to cover other areas. So this time it’s simply a case of antennas, antennas, antennas.

And with the popularity of power amps carrying names like ‘3500’ and ‘4000’, one might even wonder… Let’s stick to facts shall we?

I’m not into sports (to say the least) but since Belgium is crazy about bicycle races, I sometimes use sports metaphors. I replied to Pieter ON3DI that it feels like finishing tenth while riding on a ‘step’ (kick scooter, trottinette) in De Ronde Van Vlaanderen. The other nine guys were riding +15k€ carbon bikes…

I’m not aiming to win, especially not in major contests with crazy mofo’s using more radios than they have hands to control them. I’d just like to maximize the fun and to me, rate is fun. That and working DX. More specific: being called by the DX.

That said I wonder what it would be like to do a SOAB SO2R contest from a BIG station with stacks and 4SQ on the low bands. But I’m not one who easily changes habits so that also holds true for operating contests.

OT1A replied he has a two element yagi for 40m in the box, hinting I could put that one up. But I have to be realistic: I’m afraid my tower, rotator and location aren’t really up to that task. Or am I just too conservative (i.e. scared)? I’d like to operate from a big station. Not build and even worse: maintain it.

To finish this one up; a bit of ego tripping. I had a big chuckle and a broad grin when I read N7MH’s post on 3830.

Several of the CQWW regulars missing from my log I now realize were doing single-band efforts on other bands – P49Y, UPxL, SJ2W, OQ5M, CX9AU, OM2VL, KP2M, S50A,…

When someone you don’t even know in z3 calls you a regular, you have made it!

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