Last week I participated in the 13 Colonies Special Event. The 13 Colonies Special Event is a contest (of sorts) where the object is to contact another (specific) station in each of the original 13 colonies (plus two bonus stations). The event lasts the entire first week of July.
This is the second year in a row that I’ve participated in this event. Last year I nearly had a “clean sweep” (the term used to describe you successfully contacting all stations in a given contest) save for one bonus station. This year, I was able to contact all 15 stations — although I had a great bit of difficulty reaching South Carolina. Such difficulty, in fact, that I’m uncertain they got my call 100% correct. (The noise on that band was louder than the station which made it extremely difficult to hear them even when I had DSP noise reduction enabled.)
My impressions about this particular event haven’t changed since last year, but since I didn’t blog about it then, I’ll talk about them here:
- This event is mostly enjoyable simply because it’s attainable, even if it requires a little bit of work.
- You know which stations you need to contact. After all, there are only 15 of them. They’re frequently spotted on the DX clusters by other stations so you know what frequency to tune into.
- The event is relatively still new so there are only a few thousand Hams competing to talk to a station over the course of a week, compared to tens of thousands over a typical weekend contest.
- Even operating low power (5 watts), I’m still able to compete with higher power stations (100 watts+) — but you have to be smart about it. Timing is everything when calling the other station. Don’t try to call the other station immediately but hang back a few seconds and call late. You’re more likely to be heard and if you are, your callsign is the last thing the receiving station probably heard so they’ll come to you first. Or, that’s my experience.
- Stations using the DX clusters to try and communicate with the DX stations really pisses me off. Request to change modes, bands or point an antenna in a particular direction really get under my skin and only serve to annoy every other Ham operator using the DX cluster to easily locate other stations.
- Being patient will help you succeed and keep your sanity during this contest. You’ve got a week to work all the stations, so trying to hit them all on the first day will probably leave you frustrated. Unless you’re putting 1,500 watts into a beam pointed directly at them. 🙂
As the week wound down I was still short a couple states and I thought I’d have to resort to digital modes or possibly faking my way through some CW (Morse code) to pick up the remaining states. Thankfully it didn’t come to that and I was able to work them all SSB (voice, that is). If you look at my log (below), you’ll see that I contacted the last station (South Carolina) with only a couple hours to spare. *phew*
If you understand what you’re looking at in the table above, you might see something strange with my logs for K2D. I’m not certain what’s going on with that other than I hardly believe I contacted K2D back-to-back. Most likely I recorded the callsign incorrectly — but I’m not certain what station I was talking to. Anyway, I submitted it as it is and we’ll see what comes back confirmed.
Finally, what I love most about this contest is that I frequently heard statements like “God bless America” and “God bless our troops” during exchanges with other Hams. I even heard a station in Canada say “God bless America” at the end of his exchange with a state. Even Canadians can’t help but to get in on our patriotism.
Until next year, God Bless America and Long Live The Republic!