One of my favorite operating events is the Wisconsin QSO Party. I’m a pretty casual operator, so a contest that falls on a Sunday afternoon in late winter is perfect for me. Always the second Sunday in March, this event is when the state of Wisconsin comes alive with radio operators.

[pq] This year my goal was to hit the Wisconsin QSO Party with vigor. [/pq] In previous years, I’d work off and on and eek out between 30 and 60 contacts- not really setting the bands on fire. But this year with a little effort and good conditions I managed to bring in a whopping 176 QSOs. Nothing to sneeze at, as the final score firmly puts my in the middle of the pack. But working a little harder and grabbing a piece of airwave so I can start calling CQ really made the difference in racking up the points.

I got a slow start, making a contact on four bands with a fellow local, when the contest started out at 1:00pm local time. The bands where in great shape, with the bulk of activity on 40m, and  through the early afternoon hours the band stayed pretty short- mostly Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, and Minnesota contacts. As the afternoon wore on, the band started to lengthen and by 5:00pm I was regularly pulling in stations from Missouri, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia. I was having such good luck on 40 meters that I didn’t deviate much from that band.

No my wife didn't bring me a Schlitz, but I did celebrate the end of the event with a New Glarus Spotted Cow.

No my wife didn’t bring me a Schlitz, but I did celebrate the end of the event with a New Glarus Spotted Cow.

After taking a quick dinner break, I started again at 7:00pm for the last hour of the event. 75m opened up so I got things tuned up and started working. After 20 minutes of hunt and pounce, I found a clear spot and started calling. It was like shooting fish in a barrel, lots of good quality signals made it easy to rack up the points. Even on 75 meters I was pulling in stations from much of the upper midwest. By 8:00pm the end of the contest rolled around, and I had made contact as far east as Virginia and Maryland on 75m. Not too shabby.

I had planned to do work a little digital and do a little DX, but I was having such a good run on voice that I stayed on that mode all afternoon. As for my station, it’s pretty simple: I run an Icom IC-718, with a G5RV antenna connected to an MFJ-846D Versatuner II. My biggest convenience is the Heil Pro Headset with the footswitch- it give me both hands free to log with the N3JFP QSO Party software.

kb9vbr-hf-stationFinal Score for the event:

KB9VBR 2013 Wisconsin QSO Party Score
Contacts 176
Counties in Wisconsin 46
States 15
Provinces 1
Total Score (w/ multipliers) 16,386


2013 wi qso partyFinal note: I do return QSL, so if we made contact and you need a Wisconsin or Marathon County QSL, please feel free to send me a card. My address is ‘good in the book.’