Since getting on HF, I’ve dabbled a bit in contesting. Not seriously, of course. There’s only so much I can do on 100 watts and with only a 20 meter antenna. But I try to work the stations I can by tuning up and down the band, and send in my Cabrillo file afterward to get credit.
This past August was the first time I participated in the Hawaii QSO Party. That weekend on Saturday, I paid the QTH of Randy KH6IB a visit, where members of the Emergency Amateur Radio Club were hanging out for the next band opening. I got on the mic for a little while and worked a few stations for KH6CE, so I got credit as an operator. Then once conditions started improving, I headed back home, fired up fldigi, and got ready to work some stations that afternoon. As you probably know, I’m a big fan of PSK31, and have made most of my contacts that way. And the HQP is one of the relatively rare contests that not only allow PSK31, but actively encourage it by giving you triple the QSO points.
All told, I got 13 PSK31 contacts and 4 SSB contacts, 688 points total. Of course, I didn’t believe that I would win anything with that measly amount. The stereotypical contester puts out a kilowatt of power so just about anyone around the world can hear him. So was I surprised when Joe AH0A gave me this at the last meeting:
Yep, third place in Honolulu County for single operator low power (less than 150 W). The first place op had around 17,000 points, and the second place op had 2,000 points. So I was about two orders of magnitude below them. Still, third place is third place.
In a way, though, I’m kicking myself a bit about those four SSB contacts so I could get the multipliers for Kauai and Ford Island. Without them I would have lost just four QSO points and two multipliers, leaving me with 546 points. That still would have been the best performance on PSK31 statewide. D’oh!
Still, I had a lot of fun at the HQP. Any contest that allows PSK gets a gold star in my book. Next year at the Hawaii QSO Party, I think I’ll keep my big mouth shut and let my fingers do the talking.