Monday, February 23, 2015

2015 ARRL International DX Contest (CW)

Total DXCC: 96
New DXCC: 2
New Band Slots: 30
Category: SOAB-H Unlimited
A fairly productive DX weekend despite being out of the shack through most of it. Put in about 15 hours working 40/20/15/10m only. The great band conditions on all bands plus the low noise level here on Cedar Key made contest conditions the most enjoyable I've ever experienced. I beat last years score (156,600) by a wee bit despite having fewer QSOs -- 42 extra multipliers did that.

Ended up four short of DXCC, with two ATNOs (UA2F Kaliningrad and Z81X Southern Sudan), a big jump in 10m countries worked (from 71 to 94), and my year-to-date DXCC worked count (from 127 to 145). Fourteen different countries were worked on all four bands.

I thought Z81X was just a special contest call for a common country, only realized it was Southern Sudan just after the contest as I was importing the contest log into HRD for award tracking. N1MM had UA2F as European Russia. It wasn't until I uploaded to ClubLog and got email notification that I learned it was Kaliningrad. So two post-test surprises for me!

I tried to focus on 10m this time since that's where I need the new ones most. Unable to use the amp on 10, I did what I could with 100w to work 22 new ones. Another 2 new ones on 20m, and 6 on 15m for a total of 30 new band slots. Fingers crossed that a lot of them use LOTW. I've got 6 in so far as I write this in the wee hours of Monday morning, bringing my DXCC Challenge score on LOTW up to 580 and counting.

Most of the business was conducted with Europe and the Caribbean; surprisingly not a lot of strong JAs and VKs heard, but that might be because I slept through the Asia/Pacific openings on the higher bands. Or maybe it's just because conditions are that much different in Florida than they were in Texas.

QSOs by continent:
AF: 7
AN: 1
AS: 5
EU: 43
NA: 22
OC: 4
SA: 14
The TARGETuner worked quite well, setting the Tarheel on band changes with just a few button presses. Even at the slowest motor speed, jumping from 10m to 40m wasn't too long a wait. The turn count drifted eventually but not by that much, so I was was able to touch up the SWR as needed without much to do. Far better way of tuning the antenna than switching the analyzer in line.
Next big contest for me will likely be CQ WW WPX CW the last weekend in May, but possibly also the CQ-M DX CW on the second weekend. I'll try to work a few of the SKCC sprints with the KX1 in the interim. 

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