Packed like sardines

This morning, just before the ARRL test started, I had spent an hour on 15m, which was wide open to North America.  There seemed to be many contesters getting ready for the upcoming ARRL DX contest. It was a rehearsal for them to give me a call. I have got calls from the US and Canada in a row for an hour. The 15m was in really good shape. 40m was a little bit veiled last night but, after sunrise in the US, was also good for the West Coast. On 40m, the OTH radar went off so that the band was really quiet. I am sure all the contest lovers will enjoy this week end.

I could not help recalling about the contests in early 80s when the bands were also really hot and there were big guns on the whole band packed like sardines. I was so excited to hear them and used to work as many as possible in the contests. I had a barefoot and a vertical but used to stay up throughout week ends. It was a real fun. The ARRL CW contest was one which I should never miss those days. The World Wide CW and All Asian CW contests were also my favorites. However, time has passed. I won't be able to stay up all night for any contest. Or even running in any contest for an hour may have me fall asleep. It may be only a sign of aging. Anyhow, I won't be so avid in any contest any longer.

 Yesterday, when I met one of the biggest contesters in Colo, Chuck, K0RF, he uttered he should be on for ragchewing more. I was sure he was quite right. Enjoying contests is like a feverish illness and won't leave me anything good for us. But I won't blame contesters at all. I know it is a fun. Just enjoy it. Remember, however, the bands will wait for you after the contest.


  1. I've been using the contest to compare my antennas. Since they don't rotate I need to know their preferred directions. I tune each band with a different antenna on each of my dual receivers. I try to QSO stations from hard to work areas like central europe which is over the north pole from southern California. I never treat contests seriously and wait patiently until they are over to resume rag chewing :-) I just got an antenna for 80M up last week and find a lot of good rag chewing on that band.73

  2. Bill,

    Yes, it is the way most hams were enjoying the contests in the past years, I believe. But nowadyas, it has become a big game which only the biggest stations could win.

    I admit the present style of the contest. But I am sorry to find the bands getting quiet as soon as the contests are over.

    Have fun. I would give you a call when you are trying your new antenna.


    1. My vertical antenna is not good for Japan and the Pacific Shin. The ocean hop losses are very low and even high angle dipoles are better than a vertical on those paths. It is however better than the dipole off the ends which for me means better signals into central Europe and South America. I made many central Europe QSOs during the contest; the geomagnetic field was very quiet on the 1st day so polar paths were open.