ARI International DX Contest
Class: SO CW HP
QTH: St Croix, VI
Operating Time (hrs): 22
Band CW Qs Ph Qs RTTY Qs Mults
80: 67 26
40: 302 77
20: 496 104
15: 292 90
10: 183 67
Total: 1340 0 0 364 Total Score = 2,020,200
Club: Northern California Contest Club
The ARI International DX Contest was the contest this weekend that offered the
most opportunity for high rates and working interesting DX so I tried to do as
much of a full-time effort in it as possible. I arranged to stay at Radio
Reef, KP2M, so that I could play on the radio and my XYL could compete in the
St Croix Triathlon to try to qualify for the Hawaii Ironman. It's too bad that
the triathlon wasn't scheduled on the same weekend as WPX, CQWW, ARRL DX or
I considered doing SO2R since the station is set up with a FT1000MP/Alpha87A
and FT920/Alpha89 connected to a Six-Pak with separate antennas for each band,
but the station does not have switchable bandpass filters. Rather than try to
rearrange the station to enable single-band filters to be inserted inline I
opted to just use one radio.
Before the contest started I tried to figure out how to get WriteLog set up to
send CW from the computer. N1MM was already set up using DlPortIO but I was
unfamiliar with N1MM and hoped to use WL. The WL reflector archives suggested
that DlPortIO could be used for this but I couldn't get it working so I ended
up using N1MM.
I listened on 10 meters and CQed there before the contest started but got no
responses. 15 meters was open to EU at the start so I spent the first hour and
a half there, then moved to 20 for 3 hours, followed by alternating between 40
and 80 during the night hours. I listened on 160 and called CQ there for a few
minutes several times but the only station I ever heard on 160 was N6WM calling
Rates got really slow in the 0600 hour and SO2R would have been productive then
and at many other times to improve the rate. At 0700 I switched to 20 meters
and it was open to EU but after a good short run I ended up S&P'ing and was not
able to get many answers to my CQs.
I took a break at 0800 to sleep for a couple of hours and returned to find 20
meters full of activity. At 1130 I tuned across 15 meters and it sounded dead
but I CQed a few times and got weak responses from all over EU. At 1230 I took
a break to walk down to the street to try to spot my wife as she biked by in her
race. She had sandbagged her swim time and my time estimate was wrong so I
probably was about 10 to 15 minutes late and missed seeing her go by.
I had put the Alpha 87A in Standby mode when I left the shack and when I
returned I switched it back to Operate but was only seeing the exciter power
output, no contribution from the amp. I tried it on 20, 15 and 10 and also
tried cycling the power a couple times but it didn't change anything.
Switching to the other station was tempting but I decided it was safer to
continue barefoot due to my unfamiliarity with the other radio and amp and with
I didn't get any answers to CQs while trying to run on 20 barefoot. I think
I'd already worked most of the stations on at that time that could hear me
barefoot. S&Ping on 20 was moderately successful but if anyone else was
calling I'd lose and several stations did not hear me and continued to CQ.
Signals on 15 had been really weak so CQing barefoot there didn't work well
Finally 15 meters opened with stronger signals around 1415 and I was able to
get a good run going barefoot. About a half hour later I turned the amp on
and, lo and behold, it was working again.
I periodically checked 10 meters and CQed there with no answers. Shortly after
1600 I thought I heard an answer to my CQ on 28030 and finally picked out CN8KD,
who it turns out had been CQing himself. I worked him and moved up 1 KHz and
continued CQing and got several responses from southern EU stations. I moved
lower in the band and had a really nice run that included stations in most of
EU, the Middle East (4X, 7Z), US, Canada, Caribbean and Central America.
I finally left 10 meters after just over 2 hours and spent the final couple of
hours alternating between 15 and 20. I could still hear stations on 10 from
Italy, but nobody new, and I decided rates would be better on 15 and 20 and I'd
probably get new mults there just as readily as on 10.
I had never participated in the ARI contest before but found that it was a fun
way to spend 24 hours from the Caribbean. The trip was a double success since
my wife won her age group and qualified for the Hawaii Ironman. I'll likely be
in Kona on Oct. 9 and checking the contest calendar shows several contests on
that weekend that I've never before tried.
Thanks to our hosts Brad WP2B and his wife Donna for their hospitality and
generous help both with the contest and triathlon.
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