Being from Connecticut I never, really appreciating being that closes the ARRL. I have always had connections from club lunches in Newington as well as being a Diamond Club contributor as I believe in the cause: http://www.arrl.org/the-arrl-diamond-club
I was visiting my dad at the VA in Rocky Hill, which the VA care he is getting right now is amazing and I am excited about that considering all the other news out there. I do not want to get off on a VA tangent, but the story starts there. After a hard day seeing a World War II Vet at 94, I wanted to get back to the airport and head back to Florida. I had some time so I decided to head over the league for a while.
To be on the safe side I emailed the league the night before to ensure they knew I was coming, but I found that over the years of operating it’s pretty easy to get in and of course it’s first come first serve.
I got there at 1pm and once I realized it was the Centennial QSO Party, which of course I had to sit for a second knowing that I was going to be DX and it would not be a short or easy operating day. I have been a contester for many years and it is one of my favorite parts of the hobby. I know, I know some hate us and know we are going to kill the bands for a weekend when there is a big contest. I love it, I always have and will, I have operated from K1KI, K1TTT, and of course N1IC (my station (old calls – K4MGN and KD1LR). I still hold some records on 10M-phone contest and have been in many other notable results for my ego of course.
As I was trying to decide on what band and mode to go with I figured I would just stick with 20M SSB since I wasn’t sure of band conditions and I am rusty, I haven’t operated in this type of environment in 4-5 years so I didn’t know how I would handle the pileup that was coming.
First, know it that if you have not been the ARRL it is an amazing station, tons of radios, antenna options, just about any rig you could think of, and a great staff. Joe NJ1Q runs an amazing operation. I have to remember here to thank him as he was always as great to work with, fun, happy to have me there and made me fell like I was in his home and he would give me anything I needed upon request.
The only caveat I did not know was I was not going to be W1AW for the day due to the QSO Party I was going to be W100AW. I got a little nervous as again, I was rusty and I just left seeing my dad so I was a little emotional still. I figured what the heck though I was going rip the Band-Aid and get the call out there. Maybe I could make a few contacts before I had run to the airport and have a few people get 100 points for their logs.
I threw the call out there on 20 and..Crickets. After about four CQ’s from this call sign I had someone come back to me from Alabama so I knew I was getting out to the southern states. Figured maybe since he found me and we chatted a little I would have more…. Not much, few more calls and then a station from Iowa. Just about that time I believe I was spotted and all hell broke loose:
Here are the spots from my date at W100AW (W1AW)
Last 10 DX Cluster entries for W100AW in the last 72 hours
|Date / Time||Hamcall||Spotter||Remarks||Frequency|
|2014-06-04 18:52:44||W100AW||S57MM||14252.0 kHz|
|2014-06-04 18:43:20||W100AW||UR0QK||TNX QSO 73!!!||14252.0 kHz|
|2014-06-04 18:42:47||W100AW||SQ2PHI||55 near Baltic Sea||14252.0 kHz|
|2014-06-04 18:37:28||W100AW||WA8QYJ||VIA LOTW AND QSL BUR||14252.0 kHz|
|2014-06-04 18:27:12||W100AW||G1TDN||NEWINGTON CT USA||14252.0 kHz|
|2014-06-04 18:25:59||W100AW||G1TDN||NEWINGTON CT USA TNX NICK 73S||14252.0 kHz|
|2014-06-04 18:13:21||W100AW||W0KH||14252.0 kHz|
|2014-06-04 18:12:20||W100AW||IZ3XEF||Tnx ARRL party||14252.0 kHz|
|2014-06-04 18:03:34||W100AW||KI4VMK||14252.0 kHz|
The pile up started and did not stop for the hour I had. 162 contacts in an hour from Europe to all over the US as well as South America. It was a great run and I was having a lot of fun. As in any pile up, there were the few people that would come over the top of me trying to pull out weaker stations.
My operating style in this situation is to try to go back and forth between countries; big stations, big signals, and then I try to get a few deep down signals. I do my best to get any station that is QRP or mobile. The challenge in any pile up as those of you that know is there are always a few operators that do not follow the guidelines and will come over the top even though you are trying to work a certain station.
That is my commentary on pile-ups – it is harder when you are a little rusty and have not been DX in a while, but I did my best. I really hope I was able to get to as many people as possible.
Here is my take on the day, if you have not been to the ARRL in person and have a chance to operate their take it. You will never forget being W1AW and you will never forget the chance to be DX if you have not been there before. The staff is truly amazing and will take good care of you.
There are many things in life that I have been lucky to do, lucky to be a part of and honored to say I was there. This is one of those days in my life that I won’t forget, there were so many people that had worked the station for the first time and I remember working my first DX, my first contact and my first major pileup break through. Operating W100AW will be in my memory back for a while and I hope that those that got a chance to talk to me had a good experience as well as got the points.
I will be going back to operate from the league, I do not know when, but I know I will.
Thanks to all of those, I spoke with and as I am building my new station, right now I look forward to making contacts with all of you that I have not had the change yet.
For now, 73’s! De N1IC Nick