I'm really NOT a contester, but I can't help "joining in" when ALL the CW's ops are using 5
watts of power. Last night, I had original intentions of only passing out a few "quick contacts" for West Virginia but found myself so engrossed in the activity, that I worked the entire contest. I just couldn't stop and it ran away with me.
It was a great way to work other QRP club operators and get those "numbers" increased in the log book. Last night was a "good night" for me using my indoor antenna. I think the best ever.
Here are the results: NAQCC Jun 2010 Sprint
I don't get BIG numbers, in any contest, using a "simple wire antenna" in this valley (in the middle of town) but that's NOT important to me. I had "tons" of fun listening to and working 10 different stations in 10 different states in a period of two hours.
For me, it was a nice accomplishment, and I'm sure many in the contest, were surprised to see my antenna classification listed as an "Indoor Isotron" on the contest page. Despite criticism from many people, I still defend this antenna as a VERY good alternative for those forced to operate in a "very restricted area". It's my only alternative here and works MUCH better than a "random wire".
I worked QRP stations in New Jersey, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Indiana, Alabama, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Ohio. Two of them were what I would call "beginners" and I made a "special effort" to work them. (I can remember well those first few times I listened to a "swarm of bees" and felt I could never "compete" with any of them).
Getting back to "contesting".....or maybe I should say "not getting back into contesting", I've become a fan of "long conversations". (Not to say working a lot of "quick contacts" isn't the "cup of tea" for many folks). But my biggest joy on the radio bands these days is working another CW QRP operator, and actually getting to know them. Not just any operator, but those with a "good fist". I put a little "flag" with their call signs when I list them in my log book.
Last week, a fellow blogger (W2LJ) wrote about the same joy of "communicating" with another "good fist" who takes the time to match your speed (whatever that might be), use proper spacing, use logical sentence structure, sensible abbreviations, and uniform lengths with their dots and dashes. Too often, CW ops run words together and make it nearly impossible to "copy" their QSO's. I've worked a few operators at 20+ wpm and copied every word. I've also copied (or tried to) work some operators at 5 wpm and not copy a thing they've sent.
I guess the point I'm trying to make is "it's not the quantity, it's the quality" of the contact.
Last night, most of the operators were using "straight keys" and I heard many of them at 15+wpm. It was easy to list them in the log book. The quality of the NAQCC ops was excellent.
I've always liked the North American QRP CW Club and find participating in their "contests" a real joy. There's some excellent operators in this group.
Last night, my last contact was a fellow in Salem, Ohio. He was not a member of the club. I took a few special minutes to tell him about the activity with the hopes that one day he might join the club.
I really don't understand why CW ops don't join a "free club".
They produce a monthly "online" newsletter, special club activities, and have awards geared towards the "QRP" operator. They're all a great bunch of people.
This is a great club!