I had a good time this past weekend working stations in the November Sweepstakes. It was really nice to hear the bands singing with CW signals again. After a summer-long hiatus from hamming because of lousy propagation and a heavy workload, I was more than ready to return to the radio. I don't know how propagation played out for the rest of the country, but I was pleased with the fact that the S-6 noise that had plagued me for most of June through September had dissipated for the most part. Or maybe it was just that folks were on the air?
I had briefly given some thought to participating in the CQ Worldwide DX SSB Contest the weekend before, but after a paltry 4 or 5 QSO's, I bagged it. I'm a realist, and 100 watts and a vertical during the opening hour of that contest is pretty much akin to doing 'you-know-what' in the wind. I'm sure if I'd waited until the next day I'd would've had more luck, but I knew that good ol' CW would be waiting for me the following weekend.
I'm not sure how many hours I operated - I need to check that in N1MM - but I would guess that I was active for about 1/3 of the total time. I ended up with 360-some QSO's, but halfway through I decided to worry less about the number of QSO's and focus strictly on trying to work all sections. I nearly made it. Out of 80 sections I contacted 75. I missed 4 sections in Canada and 1 in the states. Get this, I worked every US section with the exception of South Carolina. You know, the state right next door to North Carolina - where I live. Kind of ironic.
In fact, I spent a majority of my time using the spotting function and searching call signs for areas that I needed, listening to their state, and, if needed, making the contact. For me, that was a great challenge and kept things interesting, rather than focusing on my QSO total.
And throughout it all, I had the good fortune to work a few fellow bloggers, that was a treat.
I used the K2 for the entire contest and it did a fantastic job. It's a real joy to kick in the filtering, turn the knob and hear only one signal - the one you're interested in. Turn off the filter and it's a mess of signals. I've made some boneheaded purchases in the past when it comes to ham radio, but I can't imagine that I'll ever regret buying the K2.
Sure makes me look forward to CQWW CW at the end of the month!