Monday, November 5, 2012

Sweepstakes Baby...Literally!

10 Meter CB band?  NOT!
This past weekend was the ARRL November Sweepstakes (CW) Contest. I had very limited time but with the high bands being so active recently, I knew I wanted to focus any activity there. Anyone who has followed my blog would know that if 10 meters is open, you will more than likely find me there! This past weekend was no exception. For the few short hours I had to operate, 10 was my main focus followed by 15 meters. I find the Sweepstakes very challenging as it's more than the canned 599 01 type of contest exchange. The exchange requires a serial number, precedence (power level & class), your callsign, check (year first licensed) and your ARRL Section. Shew! Adds a bit of stress as I'm CW challenged anyway and at the speed that some were send this weekend, it takes a sharp ear and fast fingers to get it right the first time. My favorite band was just "okay" as there was lots of QSB so with the longer exchange, it led to me asking for a few more repeats. 

Most of my time was Search & Pounce (S&P) and did so while doing other household duties. I think of the 7 hours or so my contest program reported me working, I probably actually worked less than 5 of those hours. It was due to large amounts of open air time in between contacts so with the 30 minute required off times, my log would be nothing more than a checklog. More on the main reason soon. I also must congratulate team KL2R for there sweep this past weekend! It was down to the wire but they pulled it off! Also a great job by several of my Alaskan contesting neighbors! 

Contest         : ARRL Sweepstakes
Callsign        : KL8DX
Mode            : CW
Category        : Single Operator (SO)
Overlay         : ---
Band(s)         : All bands (AB)
Class           : Low Power (LP)
Zone/State/...  : AK
Locator         : BP53LU
Operating time  : 7h22

  160     0      0       0       0 
   80      0      0       0       0 
   40      0      0       0       0 
   20     14     0      10      28 
   15     83     1      33     166 
   10    111     1      24     222 
TOTAL   208   2      67     416 
    TOTAL SCORE : 27,872 

One of the annoying parts of operating 10 meters is the CB chatter one will encounter and often times, it's around 28.050 or normally in the area I run during contests. This past weekend was no different! I actually heard some CB'ers talking about their radio knowing full well they were in the ham band. This was on Sunday, first beginning on 28.306 and then they ended up on 28.295 beginning around 2120z. I recorded a small snippet of their conversation. You may have to turn your volume up a bit.

10 Meter CB Recording as .wav file.
10 Meter CB Recording as .wma file.

One of the main reasons I did not have lots of time this past weekend as my oldest made us grandparents for the second time! So, we have a Sweepstakes Baby in the family! I love living in Alaska but it's times like these that I wished I lived much closer. Logistics to and from Alaska is expensive and lengthy.
Our Grand Daughter Born Sweepstakes Saturday

So with the arrival of our second grandchild I'm hopeful that since she was on a contest weekend, I might have a chance of making her a future ham! It was not long ago that my kids were this small and I'm still trying to figure out where the time went. I'm also finding it hard to believe that next month will be the 25th anniversary of my studying and passing my Novice Exam! I took the theory and code tests mid December and passed with flying colors. I plan on doing a blog entry on that later. QCWA membership will probably happen sometime after the first of the year. I've been looking for my original licenses which I believe survived move up here. Need to get find them, scan them and make sure I don't miss place them...again. 

One of my most favorite contests of the year is coming up in late November, the CQ World Wide CW Contest! I'm looking forward to operating as much as possible and I'm hopeful that any solar outbursts don't arrive on that weekend. I would love to break 2,000 QSO's for that weekend, which would be a personal best.  My main logbook is fast approaching that 50,000 QSO mark and I'm getting excited about that milestone. It will be fun to see who that lucky ham will be. I'm not sure it will happen over that contest weekend but if it doesn't, it won't be long there afterwards. I think I'm gonna send that lucky ham not only my QSL card, but something Alaskan maybe?  I have a few ideas but I will have to wait until it happens to decide. November marks our 9th anniversary on our arrival to the great state of Alaska. As we head into our 10th year, we have to wonder what our future may hold. Something tells me our visits to see our grandchildren will hopefully not be as infrequent. 

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