The 2012 Colorado QSO Party is over and I had a fantastic time. The new ham shack which I scrambled to get ready for the event performed beautifully. It’s really a comfortable and inviting space which I believe is important when working a multi-hour contest.
At best, I consider myself a casual contester. I do enjoy operating during many of the contests taking place throughout the year….but for the most part, I am just giving away points to other contesters and trying to add to either my WAS, DXCC etc. etc.
Last year (2011), was the first year for me to take a serious approach to operating in the Colorado QSO Party. I operated for approx. 6-8 hours of the 16 hour contest. I managed to make 138 QSO’s in 2011. My goal for 2012 was to try to break that.
Before I discuss my 2012 results, I just want to say “Thank You” to my wonderful wife. Without her organization skills and encouragement to me throughout the summer months, the new ham shack wouldn’t have been ready. Thank you honey…
Oh…one more thing. While I’ve mentioned the new ham shack is ready, this is really only partially true. Yes, the shack operating position is setup and fully active. But I still have some painting and touch-up work to do in the space. It is my hope to get this all done in the next several weeks. Also there is still much work required on fully evacuating the old space and getting everything organized and into its place in the new area.
Again, my expectations for 2012 was to beat 138 Q’s. The contest began at 6 AM, but I made a slow start to the day and managed to get on the air around 7. I was surprised to hear 20m open to the east coast that early in the morning. The first 100 Q’s seem to fly into the logbook. I took my first break around 10 AM and had already logged over 100 Q’s.
As I returned about 15-20 minutes later, the band had shifted and the Q’s were slower to get logged. I focused mainly on 20 meters. I would occasionally check 10 and 15 meters, but heard nothing and would go back to 20m after 15-20 minutes of calling CQ.
My friend Bob Witte, K0NR posted a note to an email reflector about a SOTA activation taking place on Mt. Evans (W0/FR-003). The activation consisted of several operators from the Colorado QRP Club and one was operating on 146.52 VHF FM. I worked him for both points in the Colorado QSO Party as well as earned myself 10 SOTA Chaser points. Not a bad deal for about 60 seconds of effort.
During the afternoon hours, 20 meters came back to life and I had a nice pileup going for almost an hour. I worked stations all over the lower 48 and Canada. One call sign I heard answering me sounded familiar. Kilo, Five, Sierra, Oscar, Romeo.
As a young child, I would listen to my uncle talk on his ham radio and while I didn’t know any of the other phonetic alphabet names, I knew Kilo, Five, Sierra, Oscar, Romeo. YES…my Uncle heard me calling CQ from down at his QTH in Texas and answered me back.
While I’ve worked over 70 DXCC, have multiple versions of the WAS awards….the most sought after QSO for me since 2007 has been K5SOR. Yes, we perhaps could have setup a sked to work each other, but this particular QSO…unexpected…is one that I will always cherish.
Ok…enough rambling. My 2012 Colorado QSO results ended up with 281 QSO’s and 25,852 points. I more than doubled my 2011 results and got the one QSO in my log I had been wanting for a long, long time.
My station setup consisted of the Yaesu FT-950 running 100 watts into my 20m hamstick dipole. I received some really great signal reports with this setup and when asked, many found it hard to believe this antenna setup produced the results others were hearing. The new voice keyer and keypad setup for the 950 really helped as well.
All in all….I truly had a blast operating and representing Colorado in this QSO Party. I would like to thank the Pikes Peak Amateur Radio Association for sponsoring this event. I certainly look forward to next year.
Until next time…
73 de KD0BIK