ARRL 160 Contest: Tough Work!

The annual ARRL 160 meter contest was a success last year as SEØX won the #1 SM SOHP award. This year the goal was to improve the score from last year and if possible defend my #1 position, but that might be a tough task if more logs are submitted this year.

This year I decided to be active both nights, as long as possible. US East Coast sunset is around 21:30 UTC and our sunrise is around 07:30 UTC which would provide a total of 19,5 hours of meaningful operating time. Of that time I was active 12 hours and it was really tough work.

Friday night and Saturday morning it was not possible to get a run going, only the US big guns where heard. When they where logged together with a few Canadians and dependencies, there where nothing more to do on the band. I heard the bigger stations working at a good rate, but I could not hear the stations they where working. I guess propagation was too weak to allow for the smaller stations to cross the Atlantic Ocean an drop down in SM. I decided to get a little sleep around 02:40 UTC. I was up again at 05:00 UTC and logged a few more stations into my sunset.

On Sunday evening during East Coast sunset the big guns started to show up again on the band, together with a few stations not logged the night before. I was not sure if this because of better propagation or  if they have not been active the night before, but the new calls logged lit my hope. After three hours I had swept the band many times and the QSO rate was low so I decided to take a nap to recharge myself and let the band reload with new stations. Three hours later I woke up to a different band! The big guns like K9DX, KC1XX and others where still around and they where strong, but when I started do search and pounce I found many new stations on the band. In the few hours before my sunrise I had doubled the number of contacts in the log including a couple of West Coast contacts. I was even able to stir up a little run which felt like a big improvement.

The result was 150 logged stations and a total score of 16.200 which is small compared to other contests, but with a limited number of stations to work on the most challenging band I am definitely looking forward to see how my effort will rank in SM and EU.

All in all a tough weekend with not so much sleep, but lots of static and fun!

73 de Björn, SMØMDG