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.
This year my goal was to hit the Wisconsin QSO Party with vigor. 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.
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 2013 Wisconsin QSO Party Score|
|Counties in Wisconsin||46|
|Total Score (w/ multipliers)||16,386|