ARRL International DX Contest 2008

ARRL DX CW was the first international contest I entered (in 2003 as ZS1AN with 131,100 points) and still one of my favourites. For me it is a bit more relaxed than CQWW, WPX and IARU as the bands are not always open to NA from here so it is possible to spend some time with my family and still achieve a reasonably competitive score. The pileups are also noticably better mannered than in some other contests thanks to all the fine NA ops.

Propagation was poorer than last year for the first 36 hours of the contest, with only 40m and 20m opening to NA. My new two-element beam helped me to play on 40m, but I didn’t hear even one NA station on 80m where I have only an inverted L. After taking Sunday morning off, I knew that I would need some multipliers on 15m in the afternoon to turn in a reasonable score. This didn’t seem likely given my total of five 15m QSOs on Saturday, all with big guns.

Fortunately conditions improved on Sunday afternoon and I managed a nice run on 15m, and then continued on 20m until about midnight local (2200 Z). For the last couple of hours I was really struggling to put callsigns together in my head, so appologies to those of you who had to give multiple repeats and thanks for your patience.

Needless to say there was no trade on 10m, although I kept a watch for openings with the second radio.

I didn’t have much opportunity to SO2R as it was rare for two bands to be open simultaneously, except during the 15m opening on Sunday afternoon when I didn’t want to divide my attention as I was desperate for as many 15m mults as possible. Overall I was satisfied with my effort, although I need to try to be a bit more focussed next time (and get more sleep before the contest!).

Here’s a summary of my claimed score:

Class: SOAB LP
QTH: Johannesburg
Operating Time (hrs): 28

 Band  QSOs  Mults
   40:  603    50
   20:  929    55
   15:  217    37
Total: 1749   144  Total Score = 755,568

The image shows my QSO rate (number of QSOs per hour) through the contest:

ARRL DX CW 2008 Rate


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