My career started as a
I have done that from 1965 - 1974, serving on
board freighters and passenger liners like the s/s Statendam and the
(old) s/s Nieuw Amsterdam. So 'wireless' is rather familiar.
I did my N exam in 2011. My call sign then was
The first QSO with my legacy and
vintage YAESU FT-7 was
on april 23rd 2011 at 09:15 UTC with
F8CSL. A memorable
day to reach the middle of France with only 10 Watts in the antenna.
It was my first QSO after I stopped being a 'sparks' 37 years ago. A
true adrenaline boost. On
March 5th 2014 I successfully
passed my F exam. From here on my call sign is
PC4Y. I have chosen PC4Y for a reason: my first ship I
worked on as an independent R/O was the KNSM
m/v ATTIS with call
sign PCVY. For nostalgia reasons I just added one dot
to the V and made it a 4 in CW language. The button below gives access to
the F study I did with the help of the VERON ham
radio club and the very useful help from
Some four or five spots in the above map are
incorrect, like the one in Alaska and the one in
the Gulf of Guinea. Apparently these guys have
their coordinates incorrect in their profile. It didn't help to adjust their locator coordinates
Clicking on the above button gives access to a series of
HAM Radio topics and answers from Dave Kesler KE0OG
My logbook is updated in HamRadioDeLuxe with daily updates to LoTW,
QRZ.com, eQSL, HRDlog.net and QRZCQ. LoTW clearly gives the most QSL's but no
QSL cards. eQSL gives nice electronic QSL cards and QRZ.com
is giving disappointing results w.r.t. QSL's. Some figures: On 1
March 2017 I have made 5169 QSO's from both the PD3TRU
and PC4Y call signs. I received 1692 QSL's from LoTW (32,7%),
1465 eQSL cards (28,4%) and 966 confirmed QSO's from
days now on top as per request from many visitors
Weekend 10/11 July 2021. The IARU HF CW contest.
Propagation was superb. I worked all HF bands but the 160 meter band.
And worked the 20 meter band till midnight on Saturday, where I had
a QSO with Chili CE3CT, near Santiago de Chili. RST 579.
Distance 11,939 km.
Weekend 3/4 July 2021. The famous Marconi Memorial
Briefly joined and worked the 10, 15, 20, 40 and 80 meter bands.
Almost no DX. When I worked the 20 meter band, this band almost
dropped dead around 14:30 UTC. It came back on half an hour later or
so. Otherwise lots of stations and it was fun again. Made some 50
QSO's and uploaded the Cabrillo file successfully.
Wednesday 23 June 2021. And the final King of Spain
Contest results came in now too:
Even higher in the ranking than the raw results. # 234 out of # 489.
Thursday 17 June 2021. The King of Spain contest
results (raw) came in:
# 246 out of # 489; holy mackerel, super score. I have never been
so high in the ranking.
Monday 7 June 2021. The raw scores of the CQ WW WPX
contest came in:
World: #1572 of 2035
Continent (Europe): #857 of 1042
Country/Area (PA): #41 of 50
It is not so bad after all, given the time I participated.
Weekend 29 and 30 May 2021. The 'infamous' CQ WW
WPX contest. A straight 48 hours. I joined between other activities.
It was a lovely weekend, sunny and
good temperature so gardening was on top of the to do list. But I
worked many stations in the 10, 15, 20 and 40 meter bands. It was
crowded! Hundreds of stations on air. I made 103 QSO's. Also heard
some Chinese and Japanese stations and....Vatican City HV0A. But
couldn't get thru the pile ups. I worked stations which had serial
numbers well over the 3,000! Holy belony! And the cabrillo log was
Saturday 22 May 2021.
Joined the YOTA contest. Youngest HAM I worked: 14 years of age.
Oldest I worked: 82 years of age :)
Only made 25 QSO's as conditions were poor. The 20 meter band was
all right. Couldn't find the proper N1MM log so I made one up, but
had to modify each QSO afterwards. Well that was doable as it only
were 25 QSO's. Wouldn't have liked it when and if I had made >100
QSO's though. The cabrillo file was accepted by the contest robot.
It is a nice contest. I wonder why there were so few contesters.
And oh.......I made my 9,000th QSO in HF since I
started this hobby in 2011, 98% of which were in CW mode.
Weekend 15/16 May 2021. King of Spain contest. CW.
Joined the King of Spain contest (CW) and worked Japan and Argentina
amongst many European and North American stations. Great conditions
in the 10, 15, 20 and 40 meter bands.
SINGLE-OP ALL LOW DX
Weekend 8/9 May 2021. I joined the Russian CQ-M
contest, CW only. Between other activities I made 93 QSO's in the
40,20, 15 and 10 meter bands. It was fun again. Mostly Europe, some
US and Canada and some Asian. No South America unfortunately.
Propagation did funny things: one moment a DX station was S5, the
next moment it disappeared in the noise. QSB was annoying. The log
upload was confirmed.
ALL LOW MIXED
Monday 3 May 2021. A new version of HamRadiodeLuxe
became available. I downloaded version 22.214.171.1247 and the
installation was successfully completed. Label printing of
logs should now be improved. Will try and see.
Weekend 1 and 2 May 2021. Joined the Italian ARI
contest. It was crowded again. Made 108 QSO's in between other
activities like gardening and uploaded the Cabrillo log
successfully. Worked the 15/20/40 and 80 meter bands. CW only.
Weekend 17/18 April 2021. Joined the CQDXMM contest
for a few hours spread over the weekend. Conditions were somewhat
better than during the MRD days. Made 52 QSO's mostly in the 20
meter band and a few in the 40 meter band. Africa, Asia and North
America were included. Mostly Europe though.
Wednesday 14 April and Thursday 15 April 2021.
Enjoyed the Maritime Radio Day (MRD) remembering the tragic loss of
the Titanic in 1912. Many lives were lost but also hundreds of lives
were saved thanks to the use of radio communication, which was
pretty new in those days. I met many ex R/O's in the ether, enjoying
the company of many men and women serving the merchant marine
providing for safety of lives at sea and round the clock
communication with home if and when required.
Bert - PC4Y
S/S "Nieuw Amsterdam"/PGGF
Only worked Europe by the way, no US MRD stations unfortunately.
And I uploaded my log which resulted in the above results table row.
Sunday 4 April 2021. The final results of the
Hungarian CW DX contest came in: I ended up #15 of the Dutch
participants. One place higher than last year ☺.
Weekend 20/21 March 2021. Joined the Russian DX CW
contest. And made some 75 QSO's in about 2 hours, spread over the
two days. The bands worked are: 15, 20, 40 and 80 meters. It was a
zoo, but it was nice to hear so many participants from around the
Thursday 11 March 2021. Successfully participated
in the ROA (Radio Officers Association) round in CW with MX0ROA /
Mike as netcontrol. Tried many times before, but in previous cases
the propagation was insufficient for a good QSO. There were some 15
or so participants. On 3565 kHz beginning on 19:00 zulu every
My antennas and masts survived the gale earlier today. There were
gusts with gale force 10. So my mast and vertical were sweeping like
crazy, but no harm was done.
Wednesday 3 March 2021. Had an enjoyable VHF round
with the PI4HAL crew. We do that every Wednesday morning at 09:00
UTC thru the PI3RTD repeater, switching to the PI3RAZ repeater the
next week allowing echolink participants to join. Thereafter we had
the daily Haaglanden round on 145,450 kHz simplex not using any
repeater. Today we even had a QSO with someone in the province of
Limburg which is in the far south of The Netherlands. Then in the
early afternoon I lowered my antenna mast to extend it one meter,
using an additional fibre mast section of which I have still a few
spare. These are ex-defence masts that have become obsolete.
It is a cumbersome task as lowering the mast means the guy wires
get all tangled up in the cypress tree nearby. That cypress tree has
a function though as it hides the mast from being seen by the
neighbours. And I have to get up to the roof of the barn to put that
section on top. So my VHF/UHF/50MHz antenna is now higher up in the
air and so is the midpoint of my G5RV. Anxious to know if it is an
In the evening I was told by PE2MOS I have gained 2 S points on
his transceiver. So I guess it was worth it.
Tuesday 2 March 2021. Started to work with the
maintenance of my outdoor antenna system. I lowered the far end
section of the G5RV junior as the pulley by which I can hoist that
antenna section had jammed caused by the branches of a nearby
apricot tree. So I needed to cut away some branches to make it work
again flawlessly. Tomorrow I need to extend my VHF/UHF antenna mast
with an additional mast section of about one meter.
Weekend 27/28 February 2021. And of course I joined
the UBA CW contest this weekend. But again a full agenda, so I only
participated one hour here and one hour there. And I didn't work any
Belgian stations. In the day time the 40 and 20 meter bands were
open for DX, but the 80 meter band didn't work. And I had no time to
work that band in the evening unfortunately. 80 meters in the
evening would have been nice for working Belgium.
Weekend 20/21 February 2021. Participated in the
ARRL CW DX contest where US/CAN stations are invited to work
non-US/CAN stations and visa versa. I made (only) 45 QSO's spread over these two
days. Mainly in the 20 meter band. One in the 40 meter band.
Conditions were moderate.
Weekend 13/14 February 2021. Joined the PACC CW
contest. I experienced poor conditions. Hardly any good US stations.
So my tally was smaller than last year. But it was fun nevertheless.
And my uploaded log was accepted. So I will probably end up last on
the list ☺
Monday 1 February 2021. Found a new flag in my
tally: French Guiana:
I have made one QSO with this country, well know for the launch
of the ESA rockets and satellites. I have been to the neighbouring
country Surinam and (British) Guiana, but never to this French
Friday 29 January 2021. The UKEI CW contest results
came in: I ended as follows:
#689 of the 1103 overall participants
#479 of the 729 EU participants
#344 of the 618 low power participants
Given the limited time I participated, I am not at all
So I ended one place lower than last year: #17; last year: #16
Weekend 23/24 January 2021. Joined the UKEI CW
contest and added 111 QSO's to my tally. These were made in the 20,
40 and 80 meter bands. Quite crowded and thus a challenge to find
ones way between the often heavy QRM. It still appears to be a
problem for many hams to listen first before sending. Anyway, it was
nice and the log was uploaded without any hassle.
Wednesday 20 January 2021. The past week I
successfully installed and worked some stations with JS8CALL. I also
received my ordered MFJ464 CW keyer and reader which I ordered for
tutor purposes. Unfortunately this keyer does not support a straight
key with respect to showing the characters on the display. Everything worked fine with a paddle. Decoding CW from the
transceiver also works fine. PA3GXB has suggested a modification
that will facilitate a straight key. Eager to see if it works.
Weekend 16/17 January 2021. Joined the HA-DX
contest. Made 81 QSO's spread over two days; one hour in the
afternoon, half an hour in the evening and an hour the next morning.
Bands: 15, 20, 40 and 80 meters. Only one QSO in the 15 meter band
though. Heard nothing in the 28 meter band. In the other bands: lots
of activity. Nice.
Monday 4 January 2021. Just finished a QSO with
ZL1BBW in New Zealand,
Northern Island. 18644 kilometres! RST 559/569. But clear signal. I
just woke up and he went to bed ☺.
And I added one DX to my tally. Total DX worked now
Friday 4 December 2020. Further experiencing with
Fusion. And the GM button on my FT-991A set. Entered my geographical
position into my set as well and did some investigation on GPS
modules, just in case I want to bring my set into the field. It
seems the GY-NEO6MV2 could be a good and cost effective solution. It
needs to be connected to the GPS/CAT interface (RS232) on the back
of the set. And it requires 3.3 Volt.
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 30 November, 1&2 December
2020. Experienced with Fusion, C4FM, WIRES-X, Rooms,
hotshots and what have you. Learned many settings in my FT-991A.
Learned to use the GM feature and made some QSO's with stations in
either the same room or using the same repeater. Interesting. And
oh.....I did indeed receive my Euro 80,-- cashback from Yaesu for
the purchase of the FT991A. Great. Much appreciated.
Weekend 28/29 November 2020. CQ WW DX CW contest.
Worked many stations in the 10, 15, 20, 40 and 80 meter bands. Mostly
Europe and Eastern US stations, but also Cape Verde and Mid US
stations. Also Morocco and Kazakhstan. The so called quick and dirty
contest. RST+ CQ zone. Mostly stations working 35 wpm or more.
Automated. Well it is nice to fill the logbook ☺.
I made some 137 QSO's and passed the # 8,000 QSO's in
my logbook since I started the hobby in May 2011.
Sunday 15 November 2020. Also joined the PA beker
SSB contest from 09.00z till 10.00z. Only in the 80 meter band.
Didn't hear that many stations or they didn't hear me. My antenna
setup is not very well suited for that band unfortunately.
Saturday 14 November 2020. Joined the PA beker CW
contest from 09.00z till 10.00z only in the 80 meter band. I heard
no Dutch stations in the 40 meter band. Apparently they were all to
close for that band at that time.
Saturday 31 October 2020. Have been familiarizing
myself with the ins and outs of my new FT-991A transceiver.
Especially the C4FM, WIRES-X, hotspots, reflectors acronyms and
alike are new to me. Reading about WIRES-X I get the feeling it is
in fact a proprietary Echolink system. And I have no intention to
buy a 'hotspot' or anything else that is required to use WIRES-X as
I am within reach of a C4FM/WIRES-X repeater (or reflector).
Monday 5 October 2020. The results of the Slovenia
contest came in:
Thursday 1 October 2020. The HRDL issue has been
resolved. Looking in the HRDL problem database I found the exact
problem I have when I tried to open the HRDL logbook: 'The
operating system is not presently configured to run this
application', this must have been Murphy's law: at the same time
I installed my FT-991A Windows apparently came with an update and
removed the Microsoft Access Runtime. So initially I blamed the
FT-991A for the problem, but not so as it turned out. I reinstalled
the Access runtime and all worked fine again spot on. Thanks HRDL
for the well documented problem database!
Tuesday 29 September 2020. Yesterday I collected my
Yaesu FT-991A from Classis International in Roermond (Limburg).
Unpacking a new transceiver always gives a thrill. The smell alone
of new electronics is very satisfying. Today I started to install
and configure the set. Made my first CW QSO in the 20 meter band with LZ3QE. I
now have to enter all the VHF/UHF repeaters, but I have the
ADMS-991A-U software, so it shouldn't be so cumbersome.
you can see the FT-991A next to my FT-450D. The Signalink is for the
FT-450D; the FT-991A has its own soundcard.
This is the follow up of the FT-897 all mode, all band transceiver. However all band is
not really true as the 70 MHz band isn't there and also the 23 cm
band and above are not included of course.
Now I hope to live long enough to be able to eventually offer this
set as a vintage FT-991A. ☺
Connecting the set to Ham Radio de Luxe (HRDL)
gave some problems in the beginning as HRDL didn't read the FT-991A
frequency; instead it took the frequency of the FT-450 (that wasn't
even connected I thought). In the end it worked, but now HRDL
doesn't want to open the logbook. It also doesn't want to open the
logbook with the FT-450, more over; without any set connected it
doesn't open the logbook anymore. So that is an issue. The plan now
is to reinstall HRDL and if that doesn't do the job I can uninstall
HRDL and start from the beginning. But I don't know what data gets
lost when HRDL is uninstalled, so that is a risky operation.
Monday 21 September 2020. Made a reservation for
the YAESU FT-991A at Classic International. Delivery expected
somewhere in October. Not that I am unsatisfied with my current
YAESU FT-450D, but I sometimes need a digital mode on VHF/UHF, or CW
/ SSB. And the FT-450D only goes up to 50 MHz. My FT-7900 only does
FM, so that is why my choice was made for the FT-991A. Additional
advantage: it will be easier to automatically log VHF/UHF QSO's in
HamRadiodeLuxe. So I will get an e-mail when the unit comes in.
Unfortunately the YAESU cashback of Euro 80,-- ends in September.
Well you can't have them all can you?
Weekend 19/20 September 2020. Joined the SAC CW
contest. Poor conditions on Saturday. Sunday was much better.
Initially I only heard Finnish stations in the 20 meter band. Later
in the 40 meter band also some Swedish and Danish stations.
Oh.....and Iceland on Sunday in the 20 meter band. It was fun again.
And the Cabrillo file was uploaded successfully. And in the late
evening of Sunday I had an exceptional DX QSO on the 2 meter band
with Ipswich in the UK. Through the PI2NOS repeater, but
Tuesday 15 September 2020. Returned from my summer
holiday. Now ready to go on air again. But this morning the bands
seem very quiet apart from the digital mode sections.
The following frequencies are currently used for Amateur Radio ISS
contacts (QSOs): Voice and SSTV
Downlink: 145.800 (Worldwide)
Voice Uplink: 144.490 for ITU Regions 2 and 3
(The Americas, and the Pacific and Southern Asia)
Voice Uplink: 145.200 for ITU Region 1 (Europe, Russia and Africa)
VHF Packet Uplink and Downlink: 145.825
UHF Packet Uplink and Downlink: 437.550
UHF/VHF Repeater Uplink: 437.800
UHF/VHF Repeater Downlink: 145.800
Registration number at Dutch
Administration: 6629107. Above pictures are from May 2011 onwards.
Antenna: G5RV junior, best suitable for 160, 80, 40, 30, 20, 17, 15, 12 and
meter bands with an external ATU and ATU extender, sloping dipole. Highest point apporox.
10 meters. Lowest point: 4 meters. Diamond V-2000 vertical for VHF/UHF (6 m, 2 m and 70 cm)
usage. Height of the antenna: approx. 10 meters. Diamond X30N VHF/UHF (2 meter and 70 centimeter) antenna for
MFJ-1768 Yagi for the 2 meter and 70 cm bands, also for field
work. MFJ1022, active indoor antenna for receive only.
and other auxilliary equipment: MFJ 925 autotuner, MFJ 914 auto tuner extender.
Tigertronics SignaLInk USB to connect the
audio from FT-450 to PC and vice versa. For
TNC-X modem for Winlink usage
SignaLink USB for Digi modes
Dummy HF antenna
K-PO power unit
13.8 Volt distribution panel MFJ-1128
West Mountain Radio PWRgate PG40S, allowing
automatic battery backup when regular power
90Ah GEL battery system with USB, Neutrik and
Anderson Powerpole connectors.
Software: Ham Radio de Luxe with DM780 software for transceiver
control (CAT), logging and digimodes version 126.96.36.199
N1MM for contests
RMS (Radio Mail Server)
(RIG): YAESU FT 991A
YAESU FT-450AT max. output: 100 Watt All amateur bands, incl WARC and (modified for) all maritime bands CW, SSB, PSK31, FM
and C4FM on VHF and UHF incl. 28 MHz and 50 MHz.
and: YAESU FT-60E
output: 5 Watt VHF/UHF, 144 MHZ and 430 MHz amateur bands. FM
and: BAOFENG UV82-HP
hand held for 2 meter maritime, 2 meter amateur
and 70 cm amateur bands.
Output 8 Watt
FM and FM Radio bands.
and: YAESU FT-7900 dualband (2m and 70 cm) transceiver
modes: FM and AM. Output 50 Watts (2 meter) and 45 Watt (70 cm)
Attached to my TNC-X packet modem to work
with Winlink (Paclink) thru the PI8HGL RMS
on 144.850 MHz. Try me on
and: vintage YAESU FT-7 max. output: 10 Watt bands: 80, 40, 20, 15 and 10 meters CW, USB and LSB only.
Extra receiver: Vintage SAILOR R-104 MW, LW and SW 80 and 160 meter bands AM, A1, A2 and USB only.
Straight CW keys (Junker and Kent), a Begali paddle and a HAM Gadgets Master Keyer
MK-1 complete the ability to use Morse during the QSO's.
Click here for the CQ serenade
I am a member of the
association and work the on board
radio-station mostly one day
per week, using a Yaesu FT-897, an ICOM-271, ICOM-765, a Skanti and/or a Yaesu FT-1000. The station is on board the former cruise ship s/s
Rotterdam and is now a hotel/museum ship operated by
have a team of about 10 operators and 5 technicians. We are
still looking for more operators as it is our ultimate goal to
operate the shack every day of the week. So if you are
interested please don't hesitate to visit the PI4HAL site (click
on the logo at the left) and send an email.
Or you can send me an e-mail.
HERE you get
access to the PI4HAL newsletters (in Dutch).
I also joined the DARES foundation in 2011 and
have already done quite a few field tests. I
am part of a so called SIGCO team.
Why is a
ship called she ? A ship is called a "she'' because there is
always a great deal of bustle around her. There is usually a gang of
men about, she has a waist and stays. It takes a lot of paint to
keep her good looking. It is not the initial expense that breaks
you, it is the upkeep. She can be all decked out. It takes an
experienced man to handle her correctly. Without a man at the wheel,
she is absolutely uncontrollable. She shows her topsides, hides her
bottom and, when coming into port, always heads for the buoys. When
you see her lying at the berth, you are proud of her like she is
your attractive girlfriend.
Why she is a ship, or
a ship is she:
We always call a ship a She, And not without
a reason, For she displays a well-shaped knee Regardless of the
season. She corns the man whose heart is faint And does not show
him pity And like a girl she needs the paint To keep her looking
pretty. For love she’ll brave the oceans vast, Be she a gig or
cruiser, But if you fail to tie her fast You’re almost sure to
me in the shack
| Gerard in the museum | Wil and Karel at the antenna's
Announcement from Agentschap Telecom:
15 watt e.i.r.p.
At the beginning of this year 2015 I had hoped to achieve this goal
this year and so I did even well before the end of the year. Of
course most of the credit goes to the hams who have confirmed our
QSO's in LoTW. Thanks YL's and OM's.
My chances of getting a 200 DXCC credit Award are small as I have
worked most of the DX's I can reach with my current station set up.
But who knows? Writing 1 March 2021, I have 121 DXCC's though
as a few QSO's from quite some time ago have recently been confirmed, like Bermuda,
Cuba, Albania, Ceuta and Melilla, Uruguay and San
Marino. So I am still adding to my list. Like the one from ITU HQ.
In addition to the 100 DX list, the latest 23 additions are:
On the top of the list is
4X4DK who has worked
394 DX entities! I wonder though how that can be as ARRL says
they have listed 'only' 340 DX entities. Wim PA0WV explained me
how: in time quite a few entities have disappeared (like e.g.
the DDR) and others emerged.
See above video to learn more about DX-ing.
Lesson to learn and use Morse code:
Much to my surprise I received a 'worked 100
grid squares' award on my old call sign: PD3TRU, which I have
not been using since March 2014. The big black dot in the lower
left corner is in fact a golden 'Certified QRZ authentic'
stamp that my scanner wasn't able to reproduce apparently
Click on this picture about the engine room fire
on board the m/s Prinsendam/PJTA and the rescue of well over 500
passengers and crew on 4 October 1980 in the stormy Gulf of Alaska. It
still took a week for the ship to sink beyond salvage. Listen to
MP3 audio file with the SOS transmissions starting with the
transmission of 12 long dashes of 4 seconds each (twice) to activate the Automatic
Alarm Systems which ships had installed those days giving an
alarming chime in both the radio room and the bridge during
times the R/O was off duty.
also this article. I remember to have sailed under captain
Wabeke when he was a first officer on the s/s Nieuw Amsterdam/PGGF
(/PJRS when under the Antillian flag). There is now also a new
book, written by Matthieu Oosterwijk:
PC4Y as a rookie R/O on board s/s Nieuw Amsterdam (1969)
HERE for ancient Morse transmissions from various coastal
All about decibels:
You must have at
Thought into the past,
Where some things go out
While others last
What comes to my mind is
The old Morse code,
That has weathered the storms
From any abode.
To talk with ones
Is surely an art,
Of any info you
Care to impart,
In most conditions
The signals get through,
While the same about phone
Is simply not true.
Those dits and
Cut through the trash,
Of near by noise or
To the sensitive ears
Of the hams receiver,
Who records this data
With ardent fever.
He knows he's
(in such poor conditions,
That's quite a feat)
To roger the message
That came off the air,
These brass pounders
Sure do have that flair
They say Morse ops
Are a dying breed,
But don't despair,
There's always that need,
That when conditions get rough
for the new automation,
Be rest assured,
There'll be need for your station.
CW is dying?
Believe it never,
This mode will be 'round
Forever and ever.
But one thing is sure,
What we really need,
Is to relay our knowledge
To the younger breed.
To carry the torch,
Long after we're gone,
To send Morse code
Through the air like a song.
When at last,
Silent keys pull that lever,
We can rest in peace,
It's CW forever.
Jim Hatherley, WA1TBY (SK)
A promo video about HAM radio. Made in 2014 by VERON. In
Dutch. But pictures speak for themselves.
Every now and then I get
the question: 'what is the fun of a contest ?' 'It is often not much
more then a quick exchange of some data and then on to the next
one'. Well to be honest, this is what I thought in the beginning
as well. But let me try to summarize the fun:
There is a lot more activity in the air than usual. If you
ever doubt if there are still hams around: listen to the radio
during a contest.
It is an art to distinguish the various stations from one
another when they are tumbling over each other. They cannot help
it really because when you participate in a contest and pick a
frequency say in the 20 meter band, you cannot hear your fellow
hams in the same region in that band.
It is a nice addition to your logbook. In one weekend or one
day you can easily add a hundred (or a thousand) QSO's in your
log and receive many eQSL cards (and/or hard copies).
You hear stations you have never worked before.
It is nice to notice so many stations actually hear you!
It proves your setup is working fine.
Often a plaque is provided that can decorate your shack.
A multi operator contest in e.g. a club station is adding to
the fun as you meet fellow hams.
Of course there are also some reasons why NOT to join the
Lack of time. A contest often runs a whole weekend (48
hours) or a whole day (24 hours). If you cannot join the contest
during a couple or hours, you are missing some of the fun, like
# stations worked or # increasing exchange number. This is the
main reason for me NOT to join a given contest.
Lack of experience. Well this is not really an excuse as you
can only build up experience by doing it.
Contests that require a serial number (exchange number). It
can be de-motivating to hear a station giving a serial number up
in the hundreds, where you just fired up your system and starts
Bad conditions, like an Asian contest or Oceanic contest,
where the stations can hardly be heard (in my region).
Nobody hears you. Can be due to poor conditions or your own
system setup. Remember: the antenna is much more important than
the transmit power.
In addition there is a major choice one has to make: do you wish
to send out the CQ, or do you wish to respond to the CQ's. Of course
you can also decide to do both. But the operating practise differs
somewhat between the two options. The option to respond to a CQ is
far more relaxed than the option to send the CQ as many stations
will then try to make contact with you, often causing lots of QRM.
If you want to go for the highest scores you'd better send out the
CQ yourself. The advantage to send out the CQ yourself is you can
remain on the same frequency or have to change frequency only a few
times, whereas if you respond to a CQ you will have to work the
whole band in every band.
It would be interesting to hear other reactions. So don't
hesitate to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org