2014 Georgia QSO Party

April 20, 2014 — Leave a comment

Last weekend (April 12th-13th) I participated in the Georgia QSO Party and while I achieved a score I’m proud of, I have mixed emotions about the contest.  But before I discuss all the reasons for that, here is a summary of my contacts for the weekend:

Contacts Multipliers
222 United States 43 Unique States
4 Canada 2 Unique Provinces
3 DX
229 TOTAL 45 TOTAL
229 QSOs x 45 multipliers = 10,305 claimed score

 

WHAT I DID

I operated for 7 hours on Saturday and 5 hours on Sunday.  I collected 144 QSOs on 20m and 85 on 40m.  I worked 43 states (7 new), 1 new province and 1 new DX during the contest.  I nearly doubled the number of QSOs I had in the log and tripled the number of my QRZ lookups.  I also worked 30 Georgia counties (25 of them unique).

It was my impression that the band conditions absolutely stunk.  15m and 10m were nothing but noise, so I stuck to 40m and 20m, which is what worked best for me.  20m was really hot on Sunday, where I obtained the majority of my contacts from the Left Coast.  I’m glad I stuck around for Sunday because it was clearly a better day to contest over Saturday.  (I suspect better band conditions AND participation).

MY “STRATEGY”

I decided I would operate from Gordon County for the duration of the contest.  I figured Gordon County would be more appealing given the very limited number of QSOs (1,316) versus the crazy number of QSOs from Cherokee (14,914) in the past 8 years.  According to comments I received during my QSOs, I believe it worked out in my favor.  Although I typically operate QRP (5 watts), I borrowed a radio to run 100 watts during this contest.  It wouldn’t help me hear the other stations any better, but they’d definitely hear me better and I (correctly?) assumed I would obtain more QSOs in the long-run.  However, raising my power put me in a different league of contesters, which might not necessarily work in my favor.  We’ll see.

ANTENNA/RADIO SETUP

I originally set up shop on the back deck of my parent’s house but the pollen was a bit much, so I eventually moved it indoors.  The morning of the contest I cut a 66′ 40m doublet using 18ga copper clad steel, fed with 45′ of 450ohm ladder wire.  With the help of my father, I hung the antenna in the back yard.  The antenna sloped NNW from about 15′ to 30’+ in height.  I also set up a Buddipole in the back yard, as a backup, but never had to use it.

The antenna was attached to a 4:1 balun and run into a Kenwood TS-480SAT, operating at 100 watts.  This contest was my first dedicated use of VOX, using a Heil Proset headset.  I logged all my contacts in CQRLOG.  It was also my first experience running anything greater than 5 watts and while I couldn’t tell a difference, I’m sure the other stations I was talking to would have known the difference.

LESSONS LEARNED

  1. If you plan on raising a wire antenna in the trees, plan additional time in case things don’t go as planned (they won’t).
  2. Set up early.  The earlier, the better.  The contest waits for no Ham.
  3. VOX can be a blessing and a curse.  At the same time.  Don’t so much as sniff during a QSO or you’ll have to ask the other station to repeat themselves.  Hopefully only once.
  4. If you’re operating from a “rare” county, make sure you say so when calling CQ — you’ll attract more attention.
  5. I used to tease other Hams for always sending a 5-9 even when they had trouble copying your callsign. I get it now.
  6. Be prepared for long periods of silence if calling CQ during sloppy band conditions.
  7. State QSO Parties are only as successful as the number of individuals willing to participate.
  8. Take a break and stretch.  Your body will thank you.
  9. If your radio has some sort of voice recording capabilities, use it to call CQ.  Your voicebox will thank you.
  10. It’s just a contest.  There will be another one next year.

TL;DR

Considering what I’d been told in the past about the popularity of the contest, I was left disappointed with my number of QSOs.  And it wasn’t for a lack of trying, either: I called CQ several times a minute for the entirety of my participation in the contest.  At one time, I sent an email to the reflector stating, “I was promised a pileup.”  While I did have a few mini-pileups, I’ve experienced larger pileups during my SOTA activations.  (In defense of “normal” Hams, the SOTA crowd is a bit zealous.) 🙂

While I don’t aspire to be a frequent contester, I was in it to win it for this contest (or the division I was competing in rather).  Strategically, I believe my choice to operate in a less-frequented county may have given me a slight edge but I’m still on the fence about operating LP instead of QRP.  I suppose we’ll see what happens when the scores shake out — but if last year was any indication, I at least placed in the top few participates for my class.  I think. 🙂

Date Time Call Freq Mode Sent Received
2014-04-12 20:28 N3RM 7.222 SSB 59 59
2014-04-12 20:29 N3YZ 7.222 SSB 59 59
2014-04-12 20:30 KC3X 7.222 SSB 59 59
2014-04-12 20:30 WA2VYA 7.222 SSB 59 59
2014-04-12 20:31 W8PI 7.222 SSB 59 59
2014-04-12 20:31 W4EE 7.222 SSB 59 59
2014-04-12 20:31 KD8IZZ 7.222 SSB 59 59
2014-04-12 20:32 K4RF 7.222 SSB 59 59
2014-04-12 20:32 KD8RTT 7.222 SSB 59 59
2014-04-12 20:33 K5KPE 7.222 SSB 59 59
2014-04-12 20:33 W4NYS 7.222 SSB 59 59
2014-04-12 20:33 VA3AH 7.222 SSB 59 59
2014-04-12 20:34 NR8S 7.222 SSB 59 58
2014-04-12 20:37 KD8VSQ 7.222 SSB 59 55
2014-04-12 20:38 KA8G 7.222 SSB 59 59
2014-04-12 20:40 KJ4LTA 7.222 SSB 59 59
2014-04-12 20:43 WD4LYV 7.222 SSB 59 59
2014-04-12 20:49 KD8CWV 7.222 SSB 59 59
2014-04-12 20:50 NW8U 7.222 SSB 59 59
2014-04-12 20:50 KD8NYP 7.222 SSB 59 59
2014-04-12 20:51 KD8PFB 7.222 SSB 59 59
2014-04-12 20:54 AE5WU 7.222 SSB 59 53
2014-04-12 20:55 N3SJN 7.222 SSB 59 59
2014-04-12 21:02 KB3LBB 7.222 SSB 55 59
2014-04-12 21:11 K8MR 7.222 SSB 59 59
2014-04-12 21:12 K0JPL 7.222 SSB 59 59
2014-04-12 21:14 KC4UMS 7.222 SSB 59 59
2014-04-12 21:14 W8OH 7.222 SSB 59 59
2014-04-12 21:20 NF2F 7.222 SSB 55 59
2014-04-12 21:22 W0SK 7.222 SSB 53 55
2014-04-12 22:41 W4ANT 7.227 SSB 59 59
2014-04-12 22:42 KD4LEM 7.227 SSB 59 59
2014-04-12 22:44 WA4LMG 7.227 SSB 53 59
2014-04-12 22:45 AB4UG 7.227 SSB 59 59
2014-04-12 22:50 KU3K 7.227 SSB 59 59
2014-04-12 23:02 KD6AF 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-12 23:04 K6CW 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-12 23:09 KL7LT 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-12 23:15 WA6KHK 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-12 23:20 WB6AJE 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-12 23:20 K5XY 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-12 23:21 AC0BR 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-12 23:23 W6UV 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-12 23:23 KB7KRA 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-12 23:25 N4QET 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-12 23:28 N7WBH 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-12 23:28 WM6Q 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 00:33 KE0ME 14.257 SSB 49 59
2014-04-13 00:41 K0UD 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 00:43 W7CAR 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 00:44 WP4NXO 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 00:44 WP4ONJ 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 00:47 KA2RRK 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 00:48 VE5XU 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 00:52 K4BEE/6 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 00:54 KI6AHH 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 00:55 K9QJS 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 01:09 KF7RGZ 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 01:12 WA6URY 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 01:13 AK4MD 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 01:19 AE6AV 14.257 SSB 59 57
2014-04-13 01:33 KF6ILA 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 01:43 KG7GYI 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 01:49 N5HC 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 01:57 N3MRA/M 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 01:59 N9LZ 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 02:00 KL2ZZ 14.257 SSB 59 44
2014-04-13 02:06 KG7JRA 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 02:09 WB4ILW 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 02:09 K7GMM 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 02:10 KW7Q 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 02:12 WT6A 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 02:18 WN5GBX 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 02:19 N6ENO 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 02:22 KD0OEP 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 02:28 AK0BC 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 02:34 N5WMQ 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 02:49 N0PUI 7.192 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 02:52 N8EAT 7.192 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 14:01 KC0PDX 14.26 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 14:03 W6JJJ 14.26 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 14:04 W6USN 14.26 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 14:07 KD5BBR 14.26 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 14:07 N3IYX 14.26 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 14:09 VE3TW 14.26 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 14:13 W7GDK 14.26 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 14:15 K8MR 14.26 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 14:22 K4I 14.26 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 14:24 W2REA 14.26 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 14:26 K0UG 14.26 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 14:29 KF5IAD 14.26 SSB 59 58
2014-04-13 14:32 N0MGK 14.26 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 14:36 KC9PYV 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 14:41 AG2AA 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 14:41 W0VCG 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 14:44 NN9C 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 14:44 K0HNC 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 14:46 WA8ZBT 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 14:47 KS4X 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 14:47 KE7GI 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 14:54 KQ6P 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 15:00 KM4IK 7.2165 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 15:05 N4JED 7.217 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 15:05 NC4SC 7.217 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 15:06 K8JQ 7.217 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 15:06 KA5VZG 7.217 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 15:07 WB9DBD 7.217 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 15:08 N4UHZ 7.217 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 15:08 NV4U 7.217 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 15:09 WA4GQG 7.217 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 15:10 WN4AFP 7.217 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 15:11 KV4QB 7.217 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 15:14 KB7ZGB 7.217 SSB 39 59
2014-04-13 15:16 K4WSW 7.217 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 15:18 KD4QMY 7.217 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 15:20 AK4B 7.217 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 15:21 W7KAM 7.217 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 15:23 KE4PMP 7.217 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 15:24 W4NBS 7.217 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 15:25 KI4MNR 7.217 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 15:30 KJ4FEL 7.217 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 15:33 N4JF 7.217 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 16:03 KC4AA 7.1965 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 16:13 W4GR 7.22 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 16:17 W1LBC 7.217 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 16:19 KJ4VIG 7.217 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 16:24 KC9NRB 7.217 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 16:27 WI4L 7.217 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 16:33 W8VCI 7.217 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 16:39 AD5ZO 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 16:40 W2RRU 14.266 SSB 59 57
2014-04-13 16:42 NJ2F 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 16:43 K2DSW 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 16:43 N4IM 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 16:44 W2PIP 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 16:44 WB2P 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 16:45 KA2HZP 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 16:45 N0PUI 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 16:46 KA1LOR 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 16:46 W3IZ 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 16:47 KD0TKG 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 16:48 KC3BWB 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 16:48 N1GKX 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 16:49 W3DEL 14.266 SSB 59 58
2014-04-13 16:50 N0GES 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 16:50 NU3K 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 16:51 KC2OMU 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 16:51 N1SUZ 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 16:52 K0JPL 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 16:53 KJ4WKD 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 16:53 WB9EFP 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 16:54 N9JVO 14.266 SSB 59 57
2014-04-13 16:54 N0ENQ 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 16:55 N1WRK 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 16:55 K3GEV 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 16:56 W0MYE 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 16:57 KC8HXO 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 16:57 NF2F 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 16:58 KC0DDZ 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 16:58 KT4Q 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 17:00 WA9OEC 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 17:01 KC4MMR 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 17:02 K5KPE 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 17:03 KD0UAG 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 17:03 NS0R 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 17:04 VA3GKO 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 17:04 N9EAJ 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 17:06 K0EWG 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 17:06 KB0ZNU 14.266 SSB 59 57
2014-04-13 17:07 W0GTS 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 17:07 K3TW 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 17:10 AC5NB 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 17:10 N1CC 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 17:11 KB4MRX 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 17:12 KB9OG 14.266 SSB 53 59
2014-04-13 17:13 N4TJS 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 17:13 WA3LKT 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 17:14 AF9T 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 17:14 WB2YHK 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 17:15 W0BH 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 17:16 AJ0CM 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 17:16 KC9ZAS 14.266 SSB 59 56
2014-04-13 17:18 W0SKU 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 17:18 K4RSQ 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 17:19 KD2DXN 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 17:22 KC2HA 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 17:22 NW4JG/VP5 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 17:26 WY1C 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 17:27 N6JW 14.266 SSB 55 59
2014-04-13 17:29 KK4ASA 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 17:31 KB0MBO 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 17:32 KI6EAB 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 17:34 W1WIU 14.266 SSB 53 59
2014-04-13 17:34 NE8O 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 17:38 WA7JUJ 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 17:41 W5COV 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 17:42 W0NMD 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 17:44 KA0JPN 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 17:45 WB3AAL 14.266 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 17:47 N6VEM 14.266 SSB 59 53
2014-04-13 18:11 K4NV 7.1975 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 18:14 W4GKF 7.19 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 18:15 N4TJS 7.19 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 18:16 W4JNM 7.19 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 18:16 K5WP 7.19 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 18:17 N4EL 7.19 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 18:17 W4WNC 7.19 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 18:18 W4GHW 7.19 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 18:19 AB4KE 7.19 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 18:19 KI4KPA 7.19 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 18:20 KQ4LE 7.19 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 18:21 N0TVE 7.19 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 18:24 K4PHE 7.19 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 18:24 NB4J 7.19 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 18:27 W4WYI 7.19 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 18:27 W4CCQ 7.19 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 18:30 K4FJW 7.19 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 18:36 KA1JY 7.19 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 18:38 K3GWK 7.19 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 18:39 K4BYT 7.19 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 18:48 KC1CGR 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 18:48 W0ABC 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 18:50 N1VQM 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 18:51 KE5EX 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 18:52 KF5JTP 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 18:53 WX0Z 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 18:54 KE5MKB 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 18:57 K0CTU 14.257 SSB 59 59
2014-04-13 18:59 KC2AUP 14.257 SSB 59 59

de KK4LOV

Aaron Melton

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