I like 24 hour contests, its not that i don’t like a major 48 hour effort, but a 24 hour contest is easy to participate in. Its a blessing not having to spend the full Friday with preparations and most of Monday to recover. The IARU HF Challenge is the perfect contest in that respect.
Last year my log got lost for some unknown reason. Not sure I just forgot to send it, or it for some reason never was accepted by the log submission robot. It does not really matter as it wasn’t competitive. It was not a bad effort a year ago, but it was not great.
This year it was time to get serious and challenge the SM record. I calculated that about 1800 contacts and 228 multipliers would put me at 1.3 million, a score sufficient to beat the current record. How did it turn out? Continue reading and I’ll let you know!
The contest got off to a rocky start. A logging issue with Wintest forced me to change to N1MM, my preferred logger, after about 20 contacts. In addition to the log struggle the rate was lower than planned due to weak propagation with very few NA stations to pile up. Ten meter was useless on Saturday afternoon and only a few stations where logged on Fifteen. Twenty meter was the goto band during Saturday afternoon and early evening.
At 19:00 the number of NA stations increased on Twenty meter. The opening was not strong enough to improve the rate, but the new multipliers collected and more DX points in the log certainly helped building up the score. At 20:00 Twenty meter faded and I went on Forty where lots of new multipliers where harvested. 21:00 was be the second best hour when it comes to rate, and from 22:00 almost three hours where spend on Eighty meter. The second half of Saturday was better than the first half, but still I was 165 contacts behind my plan at midnight.
At 01:00 the rate dropped and I decided to take a tactical nap at 01:45. I was off air for only about 35 minutes, but it was well invested down time. After the nap and some strong coffee I felt fresh and awake for the morning race.
On Sunday morning Fifteen meter was alive, and a little later Ten meter came to life providing even more needed multipliers. The hour with the highest rate was the six o’clock hour with a total of 114 stations logged, all except one logged on Twenty. A decent rate of 80 to 100 QSO per hour was maintained throughout the Sunday except for the last hour and a half when stations started to dry up.
Normally I would like to have at least two thirds of the contacts in the first half of the contest, this time I had only about half. My luck was that the second half of the contest turned out the be much better which helped me to catch up.
On the finnish line it was obvious that I didn’t reach my goal. 1780 unique contacts in the log was in the ballpark of the number of QSOs needed, but I was missing exactly 20 multipliers to hit the 1.3 million score I set as my goal. It was close enough and after all, the claimed score is above the current SM record which is very good so overall I am pleased with the effort.
Below is the score summary from N1NN;
CallSign Used : SE0X Operator(s) : SM0MDG Operator Category : SINGLE-OP Band : ALL Power : HIGH Mode : CW Default Exchange : 18 Gridsquare : JO99 Band QSOs Pts ITU HQ 3,5 222 614 12 25 7 268 804 17 28 14 842 2952 34 28 21 326 1016 24 24 28 123 331 9 17 Total 1781 5717 96 122 Score : 1 246 306 Rig : K3 + TS-590 Antennas : 3-el SteppIR, 5-el 15m mono, 2-el vert array 40m, top load vert 80m
The good news is that the claimed score challenges the current SM record in the Single Operator CW, High Power category. Now its just wait and see if the final score after log checking (and score reduction) is still competitive.
Thanks to you who are in my log (or tried get into it). CU in the next Contest.
73 de SM0MDG