I decided to try and work some of the IARU HF Championship this weekend, just to get more experience contesting and to hopefully add some new countries to my log.
I took a somewhat relaxed approach. The bands weren’t great Saturday and I just wanted to have some fun with it. I estimate I put in about 5 hours total during three different sessions in the shack, using a search-and-pounce approach. I focused on CW and about two-thirds of my contacts were code. I actually had a better success rate with CW than phone and found myself annoyed with sideband pile-ups for countries that were typically easy grabs on any other night (Mexico, Brazil).
The Winkeyer/N1MM combo made some CW contacts little more than two presses of the “enter” key. Most of the CW ops were moving at speeds well beyond my capabilities, so I relied on Fldigi’s ability to decode CW to a large extent, along with careful and repeated listens of callsigns and exchanges to ensure accuracy. I likely muffed the exchange for my Puerto Rican contact because I couldn’t make out his exchange information to save my life, despite listening to it for probably 20 minutes or more. I grabbed the paddles once or twice to send a fill, but for the most part, N1MM’s default macros did the trick.
I stopped around 9 p.m. Saturday night and didn’t continue into Sunday.
IARU 2013 by the numbers:
- 50 QSOs logged
- 8 HQ Stations
- 10 ITU stations
- 17 unique U.S. states contacted
- 3 Canadian provinces
- Assorted DX included Germany, Brazil, Czech Republic, Spain, Italy, France and Cuba
Onward to the NAQP RTTY contest this weekend!