Contesting History

Part 1:  Highlights of contests that made a lasting impact on N6HB.

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My first contest was ARRL Field Day in 1968. I operated with club station, W1KWX/1 (class 6-A), which took 1st place for W1. Being a teenager, it was a big thrill for me to stay up all night and operate modern, state-of-the-art radios (Swan 500 and Drake TR4!). This is where I first learned to love low bands. I worked a KZ5 (Canal Zone) on 75M and a W6 on 40M CW.  I was hooked!

In 1988 I returned to Aruba with DL7AEY (now KC1XX), to operate our first DX contest as DX. It was a M/S entry in the ARRL DX Phone contest, using the contest callsign P4X. Love those paper logs (not!).

P.S.  I can't begin to tell you how many QSL cards we received for P4DX — yet another argument for operating CW!


KA1XN and DL7AEY  (L-R) as P4X in '88 ARRL Phone; P43 locals look on.

In 1990 I found myself with plenty of time on my hands (laid off). Hmm, might be a good time to chase down those last few DXCC countries I need, and maybe get serious about contests. So, I operated 75M S/O in ARRL Phone and came in 1st; I did the Bermuda Contest and came in 2nd. Oh well, that was fun… now time to find a job! I learned a lot about strategy (both job hunting and on-the-air) that I still use today.

In 1994, K1DG and I did CQ-WW Phone M/S as VP2E from Anguilla. I learned several things from this trip.

  1. I had a lot of catching up to do before I would be as good an operator as Doug.

  2. Conditions were such that we were one of the few loud stations in NA and EU. We would have had to work at it to screw up! The effort was great fun, and netted us #1 North America M/S.

  3. I'm now a believer in the value of bandpass filters. When we first tested 160 after erecting the antenna, the band was unusable due to local broadcast QRM (S9 +30). After cascading two I.C.E. filters, it dropped to a reasonable S5.

  4. Contesting in the Caribbean beats raking leaves in New England any day of the week !!

Continued on next page . . .



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(Page last updated: 06-Sep-2011)