CQWW 2012

Whew – that was fun…

I had high hopes for this year’s contest due to having something more than a dipole for once.

Goals were to:

  • Exceed my 2011 score (but not by too much, otherwise I make 2013 more difficult!)
  • Use the contest as a testing ground for comparing the Yagi to the dipole and for testing my power consumption
  • Work as many new band-countries and band-zones as possible
  • Get through the micro-split pile-ups as quickly as possible (this will be a future post)

I made fewer QSOs than in 2011 but had a higher score due to more mults – that’d be the Yagi at work, allowing me to work stations the dipole couldn’t even hear. No surprises there but awfully fun to experience as the contest progressed. In addition to the Ham IV rotor, the antenna switch got a healthy workout as I compared one antenna to the other on numerous DX stations.

Some results weren’t what I would have expected (more on that in a future post too).

Compared to previous years, 80m was noisy and I didn’t spend a lot of time there but amazing conditions on 10-40 meters more than made up for it with European and African stations sounding like locals on 40 meters Saturday evening. That old dipole? I think I’ll keep her…

The rotator was worked like a rented mule thanks to 20m being simultaneously open to multiple parts of the world for several hours Saturday – JT1, BY1, LU1, Europe and the Carribean all coming in at once. Spin, Yagi – spin!

Several spots on the DX cluster mentioned long-path openings to T8 and AHo. Sure enough, the sig strength was significantly higher when I was pointed directly away from them that when toward them. Old news to real DXers but fun to experience this much-written-about phenomena by this Yagi-newbie.

Other highlights:

  • Getting Zone 2 early in the contest for the first time this year. I now have all 40 Zones for my 2012 DX Marathon.
  • Working blogger/contester Franki OQ5M and working my QSL maker, Gennady UX5UO (and don’t call him “Gena”!).
  • Worked 110 entities and 32 Zones overall, adding 6 new band-countries. No new countries were worked.

The Kill-A-Watt was running the whole time and tells me that I used 4.14 kilowatt-hours to power the K3, laptop, LCD monitor and rotator. That’s 86 watt-hours for the 48 hours of the contest. I left everything on, even during breaks, and only operated for 20 actual hours.

I pay just under 16 cents per kwh, so the contest made me 65 cents poorer. Actually it’s probably closer to $2 since I was running the amp and couldn’t monitor its 240VAC usage. If only my A/C were as cheap to run during our long hot summers…

The power monger was the laptop, not the K3. Depending on what it’s doing, it sucks up between 25 and 40 watts. Twenty more for the monitor.

Full contest results posted here.

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  4 comments for “CQWW 2012

  1. November 27, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    Congratulations on getting the 40 zones!!! Multipliers is sure the key to success in this contest. I need to search more out and pay closer attention to the propagation / Grayline to get more that I need. And I have to chuckle at the electricity price. I’m at about $.23 per kilowatt hour. The downside to not having my amplifier operation is I don’t work as many stations. The upside is my savings on electric for those contest weekends. Oh, and I also lost a great heater for the shack! It used to be nice and toasty in here on contest weekends but now I have a portable heater which uses up more $$ than my amplifier. All the more reason to get my amp fixed!

    Enjoying your blog!

    73,

    Phil KL8DX

    • November 28, 2012 at 12:10 am

      Tnx for the comments, Phil – and for Zone 1 on 20m during the contest. I never would have thought a single 3-500Z amp could warm an entire room but it certainly does. That’s usually not a good thing around here but we had a cool-ish (for us) weekend and the added warmth was welcome for a change.

      Just to clarify – I didn’t work all 40 zones during the ‘test – I just got my last needed zone for the year-end’s DX Marathon.

      73 and see you in the ARRL DX Contest!

  2. November 28, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    John nice report well done and interesting to keep track of the power use.
    I have my K3 running 24x7xyear + the Notepad there is not much heat from the 2 my guess its below 40Watt
    But strange I did never measure this.
    I still regret never had an operating hour counter on the 6m XVTR but I have one on my 4M XVTR 4055 hours counted. Due to the WSPR of course.
    The difficult zones here 34 the only missing zone and only 1 band wkd 39 and 19

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