CQ WPX (SSB) 2024

I started to play a little bit in the CQ WPX (SSB) contest this past weekend (March 30-31 2024) using the 10m antenna in the attic over the garage. There was a decent amount of activity on the band, mostly from the Caribbean and South America, with a smattering of European stations.

I had logged 6 contacts when I learned that I was making the light on the garage door opener turn on and off.

I’ll have to find some ferrites to put on the wires going into the garage door opener to see if that helps.

 Band     QSOs     Pts  WPX  Pt/Q
    28       6      16    6   2.7
 Total       6      16    6   2.7
Score: 96
1 Mult = 1.0 Q's

ARRL DX (SSB) Contest 2024

Spent a bit of time dabbling in the ARRL DX (SSB) contest this past weekend using the 10m dipole in the attic. In the process, I also discovered that the 30 or so meters of coax running from the shack to the outside, coiled up and hanging on the side of the house, also receives on 10m although not very well.

I was tuning around the band, hearing a few intelligible but faint signals, when I realized I had the radio on the wrong antenna input. When I switched over to the antenna input the 10m attic dipole was connected to, everything got much much louder.

I was hearing lots of DX activity on the band over the weekend. Most of my contacts ended up being on Sunday morning when I managed to work a few EU stations. Tuning around the band and working a few stations in between doing other things got me a total of 14 QSOs.

Not bad for a couple pieces of wire hanging from the rafters. Now I know the dipole works reasonably well.

Band QSOs Pts Cty Pt/Q
28 14 42 14 3.0
Total 14 42 14 3.0
Score: 588
1 Mult = 1.0 Q's

NC QSO Party 2024

Got W4BXC on the air again for part of the NC QSO party. Band conditions were about the same as yesterday, although didn’t hear quite as much DX on 10m today as I was hearing yesterday.

As usual, 40m was about the only band I could hear NC stations on. Toward the end of the contest, I started hearing one or two up on 20m, but none I hadn’t already worked on 40m. Did pretty well this year with 58 QSOs, including 4 out of the 6 bonus stations, and 38 counties.

Band QSOs Pts Mul Pt/Q
7 58 116 38 2.0
Total 58 116 38 2.0
Score: 4,458
1 Mult = 1.5 Q's

SC QSO Party 2024

The 2024 edition of the SC QSO Party was a pretty fun time. Had some friends over to put W4BXC on the air for the QSO party and we managed to get a few pileups going, which was a lot of fun.

Band conditions seemed pretty decent, and I was hearing a lot of DX on 10m from as far away as Czechia and Slovenia. There was even a ZS1 station that I heard (first time I’ve heard anything from that part of the world from here), but he went QRT before I was able to try for a contact.

Ended the day with 119 contacts in the log (41 more than last year) including the three bonus stations: W4CAE, WW4SF, and K4YTZ. Changes to the scoring means scores will be a lot higher this year than in previous years.

Band QSOs Pts Mul Mt2 Pt/Q
7 95 274 47 1 2.9
14 19 76 11 0 4.0
28 5 20 2 0 4.0
Total 119 370 60 1 3.1
Score: 26,370
1 Mult = 2.0 Q's

Not sure if the N1MM+ score is accurate but going by the QSO points and multipliers it’s showing, we should have (370*60) + 850 = 23050 points. I’ll have to wait until the official scores are out in a few months.

Kudos to the bonus stations and the mobile/expedition operators who went out to activate multiple counties.

New Handbook additions

Some new amateur radio handbooks got added to the collection this week.

At a used bookstore with a much larger selection of amateur radio related books than expected, I found a hardcover 1989 ARRL Handbook in pretty good shape and decided to add it to the collection.

Front cover of the 1989 ARRL Handbook
1989 ARRL Handbook

It’s about as hefty as the 1988 ARRL Handbook that was added to the collection a while back. I really like the 1980s and 1990s ARRL Handbooks for all the homebrew projects they have in them.

Thanks to my father-in-law, I also now have a 23rd edition of the Radio Handbook by William Orr/W6SAI, which will go along with the 17th edition Radio Handbook I was given a while back.

Front cover of the 23th edition Radio Handbook by William Orr W6SAI
1997 23rd edition Radio Handbook by William Orr W6SAI

He also gave me a copy of an 8th edition of The Radio Amateur’s Handbook by A. Frederick Collins, from 1940.

Front cover of The Radio Amateur's Handbook by A Frederick Collins
1940 8th edition of The Radio Amateur’s Handbook by A. Frederick Collins
Title page for The Radio Amateur's Handbook.  The left page is a photograph looking up to the top of a tall tower.  The title page reads: A complete and practical g uide to radio construction and repair by A. Frederick Collins author of Wireless Telegraphy.  Eighth edition revised by E. L. Bragdon radio editor of The New York Sun.
Title page of The Radio Amateur’s Handbook

Lots of good info in these books. Going to have to make some more room on the shelves to squeeze these in.