Contests and QRP

When there’s a big contest like the WPX contest going on this weekend. Is it worth venturing out and doing an activation ?
I’m wondering how easy it’s going to be to operate with the cacophony of the contest going on.
I usually avoid contest weekends, but I’m in the mood to go for a hike.


In reply to K1YMI
I would say yes its worth it, You can use the contest to your advantage providing its with in the rules of the WPX. Just give away points and at the same time qualify for your activation.
Myself and M1EYP have purposley done the CQWW SSB and CQWW CW contests from a summit to see what DX can be worked with QRP by simply giving away points, It works best on the last day of the contest we found when all the big guns have worked each other. Sean M0GIA

Indeed Sean. You will remember my triumphant roar on Gun after working Greenland for the first time - in the CQWW CW IIRC.

There are several ways to activate on contest weekends:

  1. If you have enough power, you could attempt to hold your own QRG and work all the callers.

  2. You could be a S+P caller in the contest.

With 1 or 2, you will make lots of contacts, but SOTA chasers will have little chance to work you. With 1 or 2, it is important to do your homework on the required exchange in the contest.

  1. You could activate on 30m or 17m (for instance) as they will be clear of contest traffic. This is probably what I will do tomorrow.

I enter many VHF activity or backpackers type contests each year, and nearly always on a SOTA summit with valid activation wkg condx. As Sean says, we have been out S+P’ing in the CQWW contests from a SOTA summit.

SOTA activating in a contest is a bit different, as you focus on working the DX available rather than working the chasers. But it is great fun, and you can still work the chasers on the WARC bands as well if you desire.


In reply to M0GIA:

Just give away points and at the same time qualify for your activation.

It depends on what you want to get out of an activation Sean. Personally I prefer to work chasers and give away points to those interested in SOTA. Having said that, contacts with potential SOTA participants are always most welcome, but you are not likely to find such interest from those working the contest.

I have carried out activations during contests. Last year I deliberately activated and qualified SE-013 and SE-015 on 70cms during VHF NFD. It was one way of getting some interest out of relatively quick activations when the XYL was accompanying me. I have also used contests to bump up the QSO total after qualifying the summit (and more) through contacts with chasers. The UHF contests are excellent in that respect as I can work a good number of chasers on 2m without the QRM element and then move up a band to play radio in the contest. That’s the best of both worlds.

73, Gerald