Sunday, November 6, 2011

Operating the ARRL Sweepstakes

This weekend I worked the ARRL CW Sweepstakes from N0MA here in Cedar Rapids.  It was my first Sweepstakes ever and my 2nd contest run at the Radio Farm (the first being Field Day).  I have not worked a lot of contests in the last 3 years since going all CW mostly due to the fact that I don't have good enough antennas to be competitive, but I was very eager to work a serious contest at the farm with the beams  and all that.  A number of us were prepared to operate: Joe, KC0VKN; Joe, AA0KW; Jeff, W0ODS; and Bill, W7II; and myself of course.

I really wish you could have heard my first QSO - what a mess!  I felt pretty bad for the guy I worked because it took way too long to get the exchange down, which is incredibly long for a contest if you didn't know.  It didn't take long after that before I figured out the intricacies of the contest and started running them like the rest of the group.  It was nice to run faster than normal too: I had the keyer set at 32 wpm most of the time so it was good practice for getting my speed up.

We were running 2 K3s - one running and one doing search and pounce for mults in between CQs (only one TX on at a time).  I tell you what, using those rigs is such a dream.  Unfortunately, the more I use them, the harder it gets to resist the urge to put the KX3 on the top of the list... We'll see.

After all was said and done, our little team earned the first ever clean sweep on the CW Sweepstakes for the farm!