SOTA activation during the ARRL DX contest

During this years ARRL DX SSB contest I went for a SOTA activation on 20 meters SSB.

Working as a portable low power / QRP station during major contests can be a bit of a challenge, as most of the bands fill up with QRO contest stations. This is especially challenging during DX contests, as the IARU zone-specific “no contest” zones apparently do not apply.

My normal strategy for doing portable ops during contests is to join the contest. In this case it wasn’t possible, as I heard very few of the US stations you had to reach. Another option would of course be WARC bands, but in this case I decided to make it work on 20 instead. Doing digimodes would of course also be a viable option.

The first part of the activation shows the effect of splattering from a very high power station. It was possible to operate, and I operated more than 3kHz from where he operated. Better filters on my end would probably have helped a bit, but not all that much. After a while my small slot got taken by another contest station, so I moved lower in the band where it was a lot quieter, except from a large amount of tuning.

In the end I managed 17 QSO’s with many of the regular SOTA hunters stopping by for a QSO.