This Sprint was a personal best for me both for Qs and Mults (and, of course,
total score), but it also was the most frustrating Sprint ever. I felt like
I was beating my head against the wall, making three or four calls for every
response. I rarely looked at my score on TR. I do remember noting, however,
that my score after two hours would have put me in the top ten box for low
power just a few years ago.
Its kind of amazing how I just kept pounding my way into the pileups instead
of really using the two radios at my disposal. I've often used a band edge
strategy with one radio on each end of the band activity and bouncing between
them. This works great for us low power guys with multiband antenna
capabilities. I think in the heat of battle I forgot this strategy.
It wasn't until the last 20 minutes of the contest that I realized I was
doing really well! 80M was rocking and was almost QRN-free here in South
Texas, but I was plagued by RFI into my keyboard that essentially froze it
and kept me from doing any edits while transmitting. I lost several Qs
because I'd have to do the final editing of the previous Q before I could
respond to anyone else. After the contest, I found that my snap-on RFI choke
had come unsnapped and the wire I had wrapped around it had come unraveled.
As soon as I rewrapped the wire, the keyboard worked perfectly. In a contest
as fast-paced as the Sprint, details like that make all the difference in the
If you look at the low power scores, you'll find only a few hundred points
separate the top four. Attitude and attention to detail really make the
difference in this contest.
Paul Schaffenberger, K5AF
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