Monday, February 6, 2012

2011 ARRL DX Contest CW Award

2011 ARRL DX Contest CW
Making the run into Healy today to grab our mail, I found the mailbox full as usual (we only drive into Healy once a week to get our mail at that box). A large envelope was within that stack. What a pleasant surprise to find this award!! 

Now mind you, I only have an average station so to receive something like this is always worth smiling about. I have 4 elements at 40 foot and since my amplifier was functional at that time, I was running a KW (1,000 watts not exceeding 1,500 watts). This single band entry was taking advantage of my strongest band with the best propagation at the time. That was my strategy and if you look at past contests, it was not my first single band 20 Meter entry. But what really made this possible was propagation and all those that answered my CQ. I'm still trying to balance S&P (Search & Pounce) with running a frequency. Multipliers are a crucial key in any contest and I often lack multipliers due to my lack of searching, or at least less than I should anyhow. Who wants to give up a run frequency? I focus closely on the solar activity because if a contest weekend is anything like this last week has been, I might be better off doing other things. I've started contests that began rough and ended on a high note and I have also experienced the reverse. Ya just never know and that's what contesting is all about. 

I had to search back through the archives to see what I submitted to 3830 regarding my efforts for this contest. Below is what I wrote;

 ARRL DX Contest, CW

Call: KL8DX
Operator(s): KL8DX
Station: KL8DX

Class: SOSB/20 HP
QTH: Alaska
Operating Time (hrs): 18h33m

Band  QSOs  Mults
  20: 1126    58
Total: 1126    58  Total Score = 195,750

Club: North Coast Contesters


Excellent conditions for a change with an exception of Sunday from
1900z to about 2100z. Alaska was DX in this contest so my antenna
stayed pointed in one direction. DC and WV were my last two lower
48 states and they came through with plenty of time to spare.

Lots of flutter and echo at times making copy a bit challenging but
most could hear me. The only exception is when many of the lower 48
stations are pointed to Europe with their antennas. Often times, I
can call and call and they won't hear me so I normally have to wait
until late morning when the antennas begin to follow the sun.

I decided on single band entry on 20 sacrificing my score. I had to
balance work with radio time so I wanted to take advantage of my
strongest band with the hopes of getting a sweep. The sweep did not
happen again as I missed NF, LB, NT, YT and NU in Canada. Someday...

Lots of great fun with the only downside being an abnormal amount of
dupes. Band was hot and by the looks of things, I missed some great
activity on 15 meters. My life story.

Thanks again for the contacts and sorry to those I missed. We had
wind and snow move in on Sunday which made things a bit tough. Wall
to wall CW made for good use of all the filters in my IC-756PRO.

Thanks again as not only did this contest challenge my CW speed but
also my keyboarding skills. With any luck, see ya in this one next

Phil - KL8DX
Denali National Park, AK

You can't win an award in any contest if you don't enter. You just never know what might show up in your mailbox. Strategy is key. By picking a single band, all band, low power, high power, QRP, etc. Since my amplifier is non functional and it appears that it will be that way for awhile, there will be no high power category for me. But with the right conditions and the right contest, that may not be much of an issue. 

Unlike the big contest stations, I'm only competing against myself which allows me to play as long and hard as I want. It's nice to see that my efforts can result in some memorabilia to hang on the shack wall. Those who sponsor these contests also need a huge thank you! We may think we had the tough end of it but major contests are lots of work to those who sponsor them. Something I have yet to do, but I plan on sponsoring a plaque in the future. Without the sponsors, there would be no contest. Without the contests there would be...well, a heck of a lot less wallpaper in my shack and may others.  


  1. The right strategy and persistence make all the difference. Great work, Phil!

  2. Thanks, Larry! It means a lot coming from you!!!