Around 9:30 tonight, the final station I needed to complete the ARRL Triple Play uploaded his logs to the Logbook of the World, confirming the final CW QSO I needed to claim the award.
I think I’m done with the wallpaper chasing for a while… at least until I get closer to DXCC.
Last Friday I snagged the final two QSOs I needed from KQ0J in Nebraska to get an unconfirmed Triple Play completion. He uploaded his QSOs almost immediately, leaving only contacts in Oregon and Lousiana for confirmation. Oregon dropped in by the end of the night, and I spent the remainder of the weekend obsessively checking LOTW to see if any of my Louisiana contacts had QSLed.
Ironically, I was out of town Saturday and missed all of the Louisiana QSO Party, which could have provided a few “insurance” QSOs. When I arrived home from work tonight, I noticed a Louisiana station, Dick, N5KIP, on the K3UK Sked Page, and quickly worked him on 40m CW. About an hour later, I noticed I had a new confirmation on LOTW from N5KIP, which gave me the final station I needed to complete the Triple Play and apply for the certificate.
Technically I’ve been working on this award since I began in ham radio, but the journey to the end has been a strange trip. Some of the SSB contacts on the list were made the first day I placed my station on the air. Last spring I was working on Worked All States Basic and the lion’s share of that award was comprised of digital contacts — a large majority of them were actually JT and PSK contacts made at QRP levels. I didn’t start getting serious about collecting CW contacts until late last summer.
There were several factors that paved the way to the end:
- Contesting. The North America QSO Party RTTY/CW/SSB contests probably resulted in the majority of my CW contacts, a large number of SSB contacts, and a handful of RTTY/digital contacts. In a single weekend, working casually, I managed to get more than half the states on CW, and those were just he folks that use LOTW.
- Scheduled contacts. I’ve mentioned it quite a bit here recently, but the K3UK Sked Page is invaluable for tracking down contacts, but even there, some states are rare. Nebraska was the white whale for me, so I resorted to other means to find a friendly operator in that state. In my case, I used hamspots.net to find active stations on the digital modes, then checked out a profile or two on QRZ and simply e-mailed and asked for help.
- Obsession. It would have been easy to just quit worrying about finishing and “get around to it eventually,” but I set a goal for myself that I wanted to accomplish.
- Online resources. The Reverse Beacon Network and HamSpots are two unique resources for locating stations in near real-time. The Sked Page, which I’ve already mentioned, is priceless.
- Helpful operators along the way. There are a couple of folks that helped me directly with the Triple, and there are some folks who have helped me grow as an amateur radio operator. I have to personally thank N8NA, KO7X and KQ0J, for allowing me to e-mail them and schedule contacts. I would still be hunting for all three if left up to chance. I also want to mention K0HAN, who graciously gave me his time. We never managed to make a QSO happen, but we traded e-mails and missed each other several times on the Sked Page. I also have to mention K0JV, who on 3-4 different occasions over the course of a week or so, tried to connect with me on SSB. We finally made the connection last week, but just barely! As for those operators who helped me become a better ham, I must mention Todd, KN4QD, who pushed me to learn the code, gave me invaluable advice on radios, operating, and contesting. Steve, KI4VGA, has been my CW study partner and the voice of reason, and loaned me a keyer and paddles last year that helped me eventually learn the code. I also have to mention Ronnie, W4RWL, for his moral support and enthusiasm, which has kept me interested in the hobby.
Next steps? I think I’m going to start participating in more Straight Key Century Club sprints. More on that later!