Tuesday, April 03, 2007

A score and the joy of hands-on do-it-yourself

Contesters often submit their unofficial scores and summaries to the 3830 list so they can get some idea of how their efforts stacked up against the competition. (Official results won't appear for as long as a year.) Here is a snapshot for the WPX contest recently held for my category (single operator, all band, QRP).

Call 160m 80m 40m 20m 15m 10m Tot Score
NY6DX 19 94 207 507 93 3 923 1,265,331
K3WW 4 22 28 212 46 0 312 192,517
NE1RD 37 25 90 152 36,162
N6WG 4 30 28 56 25 3 146 22,442
NA4BW 7 51 13 71 5,684

Not bad. Mostly, I was trying out my new Heil Pro Set Quiet Phone headset, (re)verifying the performance of the K2, and adding to my QRP DXCC total. Still, I'm pleased with my score.
I operated in this contest with a radio I had built myself. There is something special about getting on the air with something you built with your own two hands. I first used this K2 on my trip to Hawaii and each QSO was a joy. I also used the radio on Georges Island in Boston Harbor last Summer for the IOTA contest, and I plan on using that radio for that contest again this year when I camp out on Lovells Island and try to work a whole 12 hour shift. (I was only able to put in 6 hours last year in order to make the last ferry home).
I was speaking with Dave (KZ1O) today about the PART Field Day plans. The club is going to try something different this year: we're trying to turn the event into an Elmering event. I mentioned this the other day. I'm hoping that, just as I have found joy in using a radio I built myself, others will get some joy from, say, a 20 meter dipole antenna they made with their own hands (a project idea Ron came up with), or new skills that they gained by working a satellite (Dave's idea). Dave had a bunch of other really great hands-on ideas for tool talks, too.
The funny thing is, I often find that I have learned something whenever I teach somebody else. If that holds true for this year's Field Day, I expect to learn a great deal. I know I'll be having fun.


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