Last November (2016) we tried participating in our first contest. This was the annual ARRL Sweepstakes for CW (Morse Code).
The goal of this contest is to contact hams across the U.S. and Canada. As such, it is usually a sociably friendly event. Your points do get multiplied for each ARRL geographical Section you contact. Some Sections are whole states or provinces, like Colorado is its own Section. Some populous states though have a few Sections within them, for example California. If you contact all the Sections in one contest, that is called a “Clean Sweep”, hence the name of the contest. That is a lot of work. For many hams, though, this is just for fun, and a chance to make contacts with other folks in other places. I was looking forward to having some fun making contacts from our site, and bringing our club call sign K0PRT on to the air.
To our surprise we just received a certificate from the ARRL that we won First Place in our category for Colorado! Our category was Muli-Operator (for two or more hams operating) Low Power (less than 150 watts).
We actually only made 8 contacts for the contest: 6 on 20 meters and 2 on 15 meters, to 7 states. Then at that point we discovered our CW signal had a chirp. We were operating on battery power from the site. And when we drew current as we pushed down the telegraph key, the voltage dropped too much. Later we added a regulated power supply to our ham station to solve that problem. But on that day we decided we should just stop, as our signal sounded awful.
And yet, what we did was enough in our category to still earn First Place!
Sometimes there are not many stations operating in a contest as multi-operator low power. I investigated into the contest records, and that was the case this time. That said, I am still proud of what we did. Bringing together a team to operate and have fun is not necessarily easy. And we did this at our remote site. Our category has its challenges. Congratulations to our Club! We earned a First Place certificate. We will have more opportunities.
– Gary WA2JQZ