Only those radio enthusiasts who have spent the last month or two living a caveman existence in a deep cavern beneath the earth won't know that last weekend the biggest radio contest of the year was taking place.
CQWW (the phone portion - CW to follow next month!) began at midnight Friday night and ran for 48 hours and saw some contest stations working solidly for 48 hours and other less competitively minded amateurs just picking off one or two DX stations on various bands.
I fit into a different category altogether. It's the "Do five and a half hours for your contest team, do another eight hours from your own shack, and spend the rest of the weekend getting ready for Hallowe'en" category.
While I was able to devote a certain amount of time, quite sporadically I might add, from my own shack, due to family commitments I am not able to devote 48 hours to any contest, not even CQWW. Not that I mind. I still had a great weekend because I got to work a whole rake of new countries on various bands, I got to work the contest from the EI0W contest station in Clogherhead, and I even got to go trick or treating and watching Hallowe'en bonfires with the kids. Now how many of you can say you had such an action-packed and varied weekend?
Having worked about 200 QSOs on Saturday at various periods with my EI2KC callsign, I was scheduled for Sunday morning activity with EI0W, the contest team of the Dundalk Amateur Radio Society (EI7DAR). So I arrived in the station (owned by Thos EI2JD, pictured above) at 7am Sunday morning (having not retired from CQWW activity until 1.30am Saturday night/Sunday morning) and began my stint for the team.
I picked up some really great DX and a pile of new countries and zones, all multipliers in the contest. Contacts included VK, C9, JW, JO, B7 on 15m and the catch of the day for me was definitely S79K, the Seychelles, on 10 metres! EI0W team manager Thos even managed to catch a bit of sleep as I nabbed country after country and zone after zone.
Our most prolific bands during the weekend were 160m, 40m and 15m but there was activity on all the HF bands. Other club members made appearances during the weekend and many were given a stint at the mic to help improve the scores. They included Charlie EI8JB, Seamus GI4SZW, Tom EI9CJ, Mickey 2I0MMT, Mickey 2I0EIB and Brendan EI1429.
After the Hallowe'en activities (my youngest son, aged 2, was dressed as Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story!!) I retired to the radio again to work another 50 or so QSOs Sunday night as the contest drew to a close. After importing my contest log into my station logging software, I was delighted to see that I had picked up a few new countries. I worked two new ones on top band, five on 80m and seven on 15m, bringing my 15m total to 90 DXCCs worked.
Highlights for me at home were C7 Andorra on 80m, P4 Aruba on 15m, W7 west coast USA on 20m, RW9 Asiatic Russia on 80m, D4 Cape Verde on 10m, and OY Faroe Islands on 80m. Other highlights might come to mind when I review the log !
All I can say at this point is roll on the CW portion of the contest on November 27 & 28. See (hear) you then!!