NAQP Lessons learned

Posted on January 23, 2006 in Contesting,Ham Radio by KG2V

A few weeks ago, I decided to enter in my first North American QSO Party (NAQP). Looking at the rules, it seemed that I had a choice – enter as a single operator, single radio station (s/1) and NOT use packet spotting, or use packet spotting, and enter as multi operator, 2 radio (M/2). I decided that I would enter as a M/2 station and use spotting. I also decided that I needed a hands free mic of some sort, so I ordered a Heil Proset Quietphone with the M4 element on the Thursday before the contest.

(Times below are from memory – will have to check the log)
Saturday dawned bright and too early, as I had stayed up VERY late in order to work CE0Z. Got my chores done in time to be sitting in my chair at 1300hrs local time (1800 UTC). Started on 20m, and worked a bit. Around 1515 hrs, 20m was slowing down, so I decided to take a 30 minute break (I had forgotten that by entering as a M/2 I could work all 12 hours). Came back, checked 20m, and it was fairly dead, so after a short period of time switched over to 40m. Picked up a fairly good rate there. Worked until about 1800hrs local, when my wife and children came home, and I took my second break of 30 minutes.

After dinner, came back and worked 40m until around 2115 local, when I felt very tired, and decided to take my second “off hour”. Came back, and 40m was GONE. Now is when the fact that I do not have 75/80m capability really killed me. For all intents, my contest was done.

Sunday afternoon, I exported my logs, submitted them, and also submitted them to LoTW. Posted my after action report to the contesting mailing list. Here is the “meat” of what I sent to the list

2006 Jan NAQP SSB lessons learned
This year was my first NAQP SSB (was not even contesting this time
last year)

Again, the lack of 80m capability hurt - a LOT. I must figure out
some way for 80m

I MUST try to run more, and not S&P

My signal on 40m seems good into the upper midwest (MI, WI etc)

The Heil Proset Quietset (arrived Friday) really helped

Spotting (I entered multi2) was useless - not worth the shift in
class, in fact, I didn't even really use it

I must schedule my off time (the 10 out of 12) better - I took 30
minutes in the afternoon, 30 min in the early eve, and the rest at
9:15 - by the time I got back at 10:15, the bands I have (10-40m) were
dead here

Must get more sleep the night before the contest (then again , it
allowed me to get CE0Z in the log, so....)

It would be nice to get a better antenna, but that is on the list
anyway - low wires are not the way to contest

So, there it is

Next challenge? Peter1

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