ARRL CW DX contest Feb 17/18 - best propagation in 20 years?

For all you international ARRL WAS participants , this weekend might be a great time to get a “rare” US state like DE, ND, WY or whatever it might be for you.

I saw a predication from a reputable source that conditions this weekend might be the best in 20 years for this contest.

Might also be a great way for domestic activators to up their 10m challenge unique call sign count. I’m expecting @N6AN and @K6EL to clear the 1,000 unique callsigns by Sunday night!!



Yes, this year the Arrl DX CW could be a great challenge to get states needed in some bands.

I will try a few hours in a 10m.

Hi Paul,
Yes undoubtedly K6EL and N6AN will exceed 1000 unique contacts but you too Paul !
Good luck to all !
Chris F4WBN

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I imagine that the WARC bands will see a lot of use this weekend
Jess / W6LEN

Just for fun, I decided to participate in the ARRL contest Portable with my SOTA kit, only in 28 MHz CW, QRP 5w.

I ran from EA2NV-119, a local summit, and used a simple wire vertical EFHW (5 m long).

Well, not a SOTA activation, but similar fun working many states over NA. This is the map for yesterday on a brief 1h 30mins visit to the summit (29 QSO / 18 States):

I must admit it’s easier when you are in SOTA, run CQ and get familiar chasers.
In the contest I had to do Search & Pounce mostly with a lot of repeats to complete the exchange. Finding gaps between kilowatt competitors was hard!
Fun anyway.

73 Ignacio


This! I tried calling CQ SOTA on 10m but 10W was not enough to maintain my frequency. I tried some search and pounce but many of the US contesters couldn’t hear me above the KW stations. 12m was pleasant in comparison. 15m had the biggest signals I can recall. But the competition for space was fierce and again was being stamped on. Then someone was sending some kind of digital signal over me, definite DQRM but it had the opposite effect… it masked all the nearby signals and those calling me heterodyned nicely with the DQRM and were easy to copy :slight_smile:

I deserted to the DC bands 30m and 40m. I cannot recall when so many 40m signals were all 59+20 or more on the KX2 meter. Propagation to the UK was such that I was 59 with most. Finally 30m and I don’t ever recall such a pileup for me. 27 stations in 30mins. There must have been some strong SpE because I was working very short paths on 30m, around 430km. I also got an exclusive chaser, Barry GM4TOE called me and he was most impressed at the massive pileup I had created on 30m.

Only 8 on 10m, but KP4 and ER1 were nice QSOs.

I took my new IC-705 along and, of course, forgot the mic and the manual EFHW tuner. No ATU so I just used it to listen :frowning: I think it sounds nicer to listen to than the KX2. But I think the KX2 has a better receiver.

Boy those upper HF bands were busy.


Told you.

Especially with headphones, since the KX2 is unable to drive them.

On crowded band conditions and big signals the 705 should be better, but Elecraft still wins on AGC pumping (or lack thereof) over impulsive noise.


I am currently the nominated person to air the Tall Trees Contest Group short contest callsign G5D. All the other members have their own short contest calls, so the group one risks not being used - so I volunteered!

In the CQWW CW last year, I took a bit of a liberty, operating on the Saturday as GW5D from Mynydd y Cwm GW/NW-076 (en route to a gig in Abergele!), and on the Sunday as G5D from The Cloud G/SP-015. It wasn’t a problem as they were never going to be remotely competitive entries - even if combined. But with operating sites in separate DXCCs and different callsigns, I actually submitted two separate (extremely token) entries.

This weekend I’ve taken even more of a liberty - but I don’t see anything in the rules to prevent it! Anyway, even if it doesn’t work for the contest (for which my entry is again ‘token’), it’s good for SOTA!

Yesterday I operated from The Cloud G/SP-015 as G5D in the ARRL CW DX contest. It was hard work. I couldn’t get any rhythm going at all. No chance of holding a run frequency. Every CQ call from the USA or Canada seemed to be answered by several stations, most of whom gave “599 100” or “599 kW” - so little chance for my 5 watts to cut through! I ended with just six QSOs - all USA - but that was 30 minutes of operating. There was no point in being late for the football with such a slow QSO rate - and I’m glad I wasn’t - Macclesfield beating Ilkeston 5-3 in a thrilling encounter.

Today I’ve headed north for another few days based at the famous Tushielaw Inn - this time with Liam. (Jimmy M0HGY’s turn will happen in May!) En route we visited See Morris Hill GM/SS-274 and White Hill GM/SS-289. From each I operated as GM5D. The first summit was a similar experience to yesterday, and again 30 minutes was invested in making just six US contacts. The second showed the “Sunday contest afternoon” phenomenon of running stations not being called by as many, and I was able to reply to them and usually get work first call. So this was much better, and I made 23 QSOs in 45 minutes.

I’ll submit a couple of entries - one for G5D and one for GM5D - later - FWIW!

Back to good old MM1EYP/P tomorrow!

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Nice to get S2S QSOs with you during the contest period, Paul.
I have had a superb weekend. I’d still be out there if it weren’t for the rain. All my gear is unpacked and drying out after 90 minutes in a cloud. It was exciting, but I got cold and wet and didn’t want to risk damaging the KX3.
Ten has been amazing! I could S&P up and down the band and make snappy contacts with EU and AS as though I were running a “real” station, not 5 watts and a 17’ doublet on an 18’ mast. Did I say amazing?
I got four summits in from Friday evening to Sunday morning: W6/CT-225; CT-029; CT-167; CT-207.
285 QSOs were made including 10 S2S, 6 this morning with EU summits 3 on SSB.
Thanks to:
Unless the Sun shuts down suddenly I think conditions will continue improving as the Spring Equinox approaches, and beyond.
See you on the air!
David N6AN (28 Qs shy of 1,000)


Similar story here in Arizona yesterday… I managed to only work 129 stations in four and a half hours…

I could not hold a frequency anywhere in the CW portion of Ten Meters. As a result I had to hunt and peck CW Contest Stations. I had a little better success on Ten Meter SSB, where I managed to work some EU SOTA Chasers (THANK YOU!!!). Never made an EU to NA s2s contact on any mode.

The contest QRM and their HIGH power levels made QRP contacts difficult at best. Contest ops kept taking over any CW frequency I called CQ on. I gave up calling CQ’s on CW. So the best I could do is work the 1 KW contesters.

At this point, operating CW contests in the low end of the Beacon Band looks like a possible option to me. It’s not against the rules…and I can handle low power beacon QRM better than 1KW contest er QRM. :grinning:

So thanks to all of the SOTA ops I was lucky enough to work.




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I struggled on 10m CW yesterday thanks to two contests happening at once. On G/NP-017 there was an incredibly strong YT station which I could hear throughout the band. It must have been some sort of IF breakthrough which I don’t understand since the IF is 4MHz and he was on 28MHz. I then changed antenna (from a single band 10m GP to a GP with radiator links for 10/12/15m) and, although he was still on his frequency, he wasn’t audible across the band. Very odd! (This is with a homebrew rig so I take full responsibility for bad design). I tried calling CQ but was very quickly stomped on by a contest station. Fortunately I found a very strong SV2NCH/P on SV/MC-049 for an S2S. I’d already had a good run on 30m so didn’t need to get any more on 10m.

Later, on G/NP-010, I worked one contest station to claim the summit for the 10m challenge. I had planned to work a few more but I couldn’t compete so I moved to 12m where I worked several US and other stations. It was so nice and calm in comparison!

The other thing I’ve noticed recently is my first US contacts on 30m. I was also called by a VE although I never got his call (although I notice he has registered a chase).

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That’s incredible Dave. Well done. 10m does seem to be treating us west coast lads well.


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Very impressive!!

Hi Ignacio, I tried it in ARRL CW too. I visited the Květnice hill OK/JM-069 both days. I didn’t last long on the hill because of the cold.
It was about a lot of patience to call and call and call. And often not succeed.
73 Jan


Hi Jan,
Very well done!! I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who was mad for this contest, hi.

Indeed, I had cold as well and ended my activation shivering. All qso hand operated was difficult at the end. I logged in my phone, small screen and VLS Logger app, not comfortable but enough.

Your map looks very good, I’m glad you were in OK so that I don’t have a huge competitor as you here in EA!
Thanks for sharing and congrats.

VY 73 dear Jan

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Good for you Jan!!

I always enjoy being chased by you (voice not morse) as W6PNG and M0SNA.