Since getting my C through the Straight Key Century Club, I thought I would branch out a bit. My first foray into contesting was modest but rewarding.
The Holiday Homebrew Sprint, organized by the QRP-ARCI, benefitted those who operated homebrew rigs and those who operated portable setups. While I didn’t manage to go outside since it was snowing, I did get out my QCX+ for 40m and hopped on the air.
There haven’t been too many times that I haven’t used some sort of system for getting spotted, but I decided I’d give it a go this time around. I did utilize the CW Club RBN page to make sure that I was near other ops in the contest, however.
Officially, I made three contacts in the Holiday Homebrew Sprint, two of which were with QRP-ARCI members. I’m afraid the first exchange of the afternoon was a bit ragged since I didn’t know the exchange. A rookie mistake and one that I won’t make again. Hopefully, I didn’t slow down those ops too much.
My favorite contact of the night was with Sam, K9GHD, who I don’t believe was a member of the club. When I sent my ARCI number, he returned with a SKCC number. It didn’t matter to me though. After sending him my SKCC number, we ended up having a long conversation about QRP and POTA operations, plus a brief foray into discussing the weather. All at the blazing speed of 12 to 13 wpm! I’m not complaining at all. In fact, I’m positive that the relaxed pace of the QSO helped me to communicate with him for so long. After 45 minutes of sending and receiving, I was starting to make simple errors that impeded the easy flow of conversation. I’m glad to have met Sam and with any luck, we’ll run into each other again during a POTA activation.
Thanks to the all the members of the of the QRP-ARCI for putting on this contest and to all the stations that I worked for being patient with this newer op. This, too, is a form of mentorship and I’m very grateful.