So, I decided to participate a bit in the Ohio QSO Party this weekend. Sad part being, the bands were poor for me as a result of the increased solar wind I'm sure. I did not start hearing Ohio stations until pretty late in the morning. Most of them were busy on 40 meters as seen on the cluster. I stuck to the only band that had activity for me, 20 meters.
Some comments regarding this very fun contest:
Kudos to Jim, K8MR, for getting the information out regarding the website crap.
The INCORRECT website: http://www.oqp.us/
Followed by the CORRECT website: http://www.ohqp.org/
I knew that I would have a challenge with my callsign if I parked and called CQ. I followed the lead of many others who sign their call with a /state. What this does is, when I sign my call as KL8DX/AK, this helps identify me for those who are not paying attention as being in Alaska. Mind you, the "KL" says that I'm in Alaska but what throws people off is the "8" in my callsign. And as I expected, I had stations calling me who were NOT in Ohio. I would ignore them at first and if they kept calling I would acknowledge them. If they were not in Ohio, I would just continue on, not logging them and ask for Ohio stations only. Not sure if those who called me anyhow thought the /AK was a county or what?
Lots more CW activity than SSB activity! I did not expect to hear much on SSB due to the band conditions but CW was the way to run. I was able to pick up a few mobile stations as often, it's the mobiles who make the multiplier count and make sweeps possible.
On the mobile's, many in the QSO parties have a great habit of signing their call followed by the county they are in. In my opinion, this is a must! I actually sat and listened to a mobile station working the OHQP that was just signing /M. Problem was, do I call or don't I? I had no clue what county he was in so I did not want to create a dupe. And then if he had a long dry spell not working anyone, I just wasted my time sitting there waiting to be enlightened. A few times I just moved on in hopes I was not passing up a multiplier.
The cool part of working the mobiles is I worked W8CAR/M whom I know personally. I was able to give W8CAR my QSO #49 for one of our contacts. For those who don't know (don't admit it if that is the case), Alaska is the 49th state. Okay, so it was cool to me.
And then there was the mobile that just signed their callsign (no /M)! I knew well enough that there was a 99% chance that this ham was mobile just from previous QSO parties. But for the rest of the world, someone may not know and pass that station up if hearing them later on, assuming it will be a dupe.
All in all, this was a lot off fun but wished the band conditions were better. I would love to give this contest my all, working the entire 12 hours and making contacts on a few bands. As luck would have it, the bands sucked and I was not able to even break 100 QSO's!!
I try to get on for all the state QSO parties but since I was born and raised in Ohio, this one has a special place on my contest list. It's a chance to work familiar callsigns, friends, and just maybe help a few buckeye's with a multiplier. And to top it all off, I did manage to work my old county or residence, Ottawa. Hats off to W8IDM for passing that one along to me. Another highlight was working the young contester himself, Cal K0DXC. I managed to work him on both modes. He has a very bright contesting future ahead of him. And another fun highlight was having Allen, KL5DX working Ohio stations. It just happened to work once that we were both calling the same Ohio station. Kinda funny as he did ask for a few repeats before sorting it all out as I did not catch at first the KL5DX was also calling the same time I was.
Even though it appeared most of the activitiy for this QSO party was way out of my reach (40 & 80 meters) I still had fun for the few short hours I chased stations. I managed just over half of the counties, 45 total. Maybe next year the propagation will be better. But if not, your friend in AK will be listening and calling those 8land stations from Ohio every chance I get!