The bands were alive with contest activity this weekend, which allowed me to log a few more nice stations as I creep towards my 100th QSO.
I won’t list them all here, but I had nice contacts with stations in Romania, Canada, Slovenia, France, Italy, several islands in the Caribbean, and some states out west, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
I could have easily added more contacts this weekend, but nearly all my QSOs were with stations working the CQ-WPX contest. I’m not a contester, and to be honest, I’m not sure what the protocol is for non-contest stations during these events. As my list of QSOs stacked up, I wondered if I was expected to reciprocate and upload a contest log so the stations I worked would get credit. I’d been keeping track of the serial number exchange, errr, up to a point. I probably lost a couple of them.
So to prevent doing any further “damage” to the serious contesters, I stepped back and didn’t attempt to make any more contacts, at least until I know the proper way to handle them.
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever read (and also heard) in regards to ham radio is to always LISTEN first. I’m a strong believer in listening, but I would also add, use Google second! A quick search provided all the details of this past weekend’s contest, along with every QSO party I’ve thrown my callsign at. Had I looked up the CQ-WPX contest, I would have educated myself instead of blindly throwing out my callsign for the sake of adding a new DX entity to my logbook. I thought of myself first, instead of thinking of the contesters and how I might affect them.
I went back through my logs and submitted all my QSO party entries to their respective contest managers, even if I only made two QSOs for the event. Fortunately, the deadlines hadn’t passed. I didn’t bother logging the serial numbers from the ARRL DX contest a few weeks back, so I didn’t try sorting that out. I may submit a log to the CQ-WPX since I managed to mitigate the damage there somewhat.
I still find contests a nice way to test the limits of your gear, and make some exotic contacts. But I think I’ll stay away from the next contest or QSO party, unless I clearly understand the rules going into it.
Besides, there are better things to do some weekends. Our club offered community service this weekend at the Lexington Medical Center Colon Cancer Challenge, and honestly, it felt good helping out. I’ve participated in these types of events before, but as a bicyclist. It was nice being able to give back a bit. More importantly, my mother passed away in 2007 after a brief struggle against cancer, so being able to offer my services on Saturday was especially meaningful, even if it meant getting up at 5 a.m. and driving 40 minutes to the event. It was really worth it. And I enjoy hanging out with the guys from the club too.