Last weekend I have participated for the first time in an amateur radio contest, just to get an idea about how it is: the CQ WPX SSB 2013 contest. I only had about 4 hours of continuous operation, and I just preferred to search and pounce as it seems the most effective way for a low power station. I entered the rookie / QRP / 20M category using the SDR transciever set at 5W output and the ground plane vertical, and had no problem working most of the stations I could hear; maybe just 3 or 4 did not reply at the first 2-3 calls so I decided not to waste time and move on.
I still managed to make 91 contacts that include a few new entities for me as well (hope they EQSL!), and the claimed score is 7371. It is way too low to think about any noticeable result, but I think with full 48h dedication it could have been rather competitive; I’m already making some plans for next year. Maybe a good sleep before the contest and a better antenna – wich might be useful in the second day, are all I need for now.
Well, that's how I begun as well. My first contest was the ARRL SSB contest back in 2006, I only did S&P and logged on paper. Made 100 QSOs from what I remember. It took me a while before I dare to go running (call CQ). You need power and a good antenna as well as patience before you got a reasonable pile-up especially from a country with many contest operators. In your country I work YO3CZW in every contest, I think he's the most well known contester from Romania.
Good job Razvan for your first TEST. I work about 2-3 contests per month with my 5W setup (ssb, cw or mixed) but never did it to "compete", just enjoying the band getting alive (and crazy sometimes in big contests) and the opportunity to work interesting station and new dxccs.
Btw, no need to wait until next year, there will big contests like Iaru in the summer, CQ WW SSB as well in oct-nov, IOTA in june etc..
Thanks guys for the comments. Indeed, it was a test rather than a contest, and it seemed interesting enough to make me curious.
Can you tell how is composed your SDR setup ?
73 de Gianantonio.
Hey gng, sorry for the late reply but here it is:
The transceiver is home made, kind of a personal design. Input/output is done via 6 switchable BPFs, preamp is a high-OIP3 2N5109 design, Tayloe mixers (both QSD and QSE) use 74LVC4066s, LO is a Si570 + 74LVC74 divider (allows 1MHz to 60MHz working range), the controller is an Atmega168 (handles USB, BPF switching, SWR protection, CW keying etc). The QSD opamp is LT6231, QSE opamp is LT1365. TX chain is stage 1: PZT2222, stage 2: 2x PZT2222 push=pull, stage 3: 2x RD16HHF1 push-pull. Soundcards: Audigy SE for SDR, onboard ALC888 for PC audio.
For software I use PowerSDR 2.44 (modded version) and HRD 5, plus WSJT-X for some digital modes.
I would like to see you pzt2222 stage schematic…
73 de Kleibe PP2KR