It was the ARRL 10 Meter Contest this weekend. Normally contests are a non-starter for me, as I jut really don’t “get” them, however, I thought it was a good opportunity to try my HTX-100 that has been languishing in my shack since I acquired it. Despite the weekend being filled with Christmas shopping and clearing out the soon-to-be nursery, I did manage to carve out a couple of hours to play radio.
I’ve been wanting to test out my HTX-100 since I recieved it. SEMARA has a weekly 10M Ragchew net on Tuesdays and that was the first and only time I’ve talked to someone on it. The signal reports were good, but there is a slight difference in working somene across town, and working someone across the country. So, I strung up the dipole, popped up DXAnywhere on the computer and scanned the bands. I wasn’t interested in scoring points, I just wanted to see if I was “getting out” and everything was working well. I tuned up and down and heard W4SVO calling CQ. I tried calling him a few times but he kept responding to other stations. Finally he came back to me with a 5 by 9, which he gave everyone but I digress. I continued tuning around and heard another Florida station, WD4IXD, calling CQ, so I got ready to work him.
Now, the HTX-100 has a high and low power setting. It puts out 25W on high power and if you pull out a knob, it puts out 5W. After thinking about it for a moment I decided to be adventerous. My other radio, a TS-120, is 100W all the time unless you fiddle with the mic gain and then your max output is a bit of a guessing game. I worked W4SVO with relative ease and I wanted to have some fun. I pulled out the knob and flipped the radio into low power mode. It took slightly longer but after quite a few tries of losing out to other stations, I finally contacted him. I was pleased, it was my first HF QRP contact! I did the math out on the Google Maps Distance Calculator and it came out to be 1099 miles! Thats 219.8 miles/watt. Not bad! I moved lower on the band and came across a 3rd Florida station, but the band seemed to swallow him up before I could get to him. I then unsuccessfully tried to work @dskaggs, N4EA but the band seemed to be closed at that point, and it stayed that way until I packed it in around 7:30PM.
It was a good couple of hours and I’m glad to have my first 10 meter “DX” contact and my first QRP “DX” contact in the logbook. I need to sit down and QSL WD4IXD as I want to get the QSL for posterity. I also need to start looking at getting the HTX-100 into my car, as that was my original objective for it.
Oh, and I think my final score for the 10 meter contest was a whopping 4 points. Go me!