Mobile Amateur Radio: Operating in the 2014 ARRL DX Contest

Brunswick – I’m not a contester, but I usually try to get on the air for the major DX contests to put a few stations in the logbook and try to work a new country/DX entity or two, even if I’m in Brunswick with just the mobile station to operate from.  I usually wait until Sunday to operate if I’m using the mobile station; on contest Saturdays it always seems that the mobile station just doesn’t have enough to get through with it still early in the contests.  The big stations are all still trying to work each other so I just wait until Sunday when it’s late in the contest and the big stations are looking for anything they can find to get points.  This past Saturday, however, I was in Brunswick but had plans for Sunday so with low expectations I fired up the mobile station and gave the bands a check.

KF4LMT Mobile,  Antennas: ABSCANC on top, CHL-72S on left rear, HVT-400B on right rear
KF4LMT Mobile, Antennas: ABSCANC on top, CHL-72S on left rear, HVT-400B on right rear

It was just after 1200 UTC (0700 local) so 40 meters was a logical place to start but my antenna isn’t as efficient on 40 Meters as it is on the higher bands and it sounded like the band was slammed so I started on 20 Meters.  20 Meters was already (as it always is during the major DX contests) a madhouse but I was actually able to get through to a couple of stations within 1-3 calls.  I was pleasantly surprised!  Within about a half hour I had worked 14 stations on 20 Meters but had reached the point where I had worked those I was going to be able to work.  I checked 15 Meters but although it was open, it wasn’t quite open enough for me to get through.  I decided to check 10 Meters and discovered that 10 Meters was not only open but busy with contest activity.  Over about an hour and 15 minutes time I worked 61 stations on 10 Meters, usually getting through on just the first or second call (once again a pleasant surprise for operating from the mobile station during a contest).  Once I had made a run through the 10 Meter band, I took a break and did some chores and housekeeping before coming back to see if 15 Meters had improved. Indeed it had; I was able to work 35 stations in about 45 minutes on my favorite band for operating mobile.  By the time I’d made a run through 15 Meters, it was time to shut down and get some sleep but the morning had definitely provided some Amateur Radio fun!

As I mentioned above, I had 14 QSOs on 20 Meters (13% of total), 61 QSOs (55 % of total) on 10 Meters, and 35 QSOs (32% of total) on 15 Meters  for a total of 110 for the morning.  In those 110 QSOs, I worked 47 different countries or DX entities including 10 that were new for the mobile log:  Bermuda, Bulgaria, Dominica, Dominican Republic, French Guiana, Latvia, Macedonia, Russia (although I’d previously worked Asiatic Russia from the mobile), Sint Eustatius & Saba Island, and Turks and Caicos.  In addition, Macedonia was a first for both the mobile or the home logbooks.  As you can see from the list below, the propagation was varied geographically, offering opportunities to work stations from Alaska to Western, Central, and Eastern Europe as well as the Caribbean, Central America, and South America.

DX Entities worked during the 2014 ARRL DX Contest

  1. Alaska
  2. Aruba
  3. Austria
  4. Azores
  5. Belarus
  6. Belgium
  7. Bermuda
  8. Bonaire
  9. Bosnia
  10. Brazil
  11. Bulgaria
  12. Canary Islands
  13. Chile
  14. Colombia
  15. Croatia
  16. Czech Republic
  17. Dominica
  18. Dominican Republic
  19. England
  20. Finland
  21. France
  22. French Guiana
  23. Germany
  24. Hungary
  25. Ireland
  26. Italy
  27. Latvia
  28. Lithuania
  29. Luxembourg
  30. Martinique
  31. Macedonia
  32. Morocco
  33. Netherlands
  34. Nicaragua
  35. Norway
  36. Poland
  37. Russia
  38. Serbia
  39. Slovak Republic
  40. Slovenia
  41. Spain
  42. St. Eustacius & Saba Island
  43. Sweden
  44. Turks & Caicos
  45. Ukraine
  46. Virgin Islands
  47. Wales

As I mentioned in opening, I began the morning’s mobile ops with low expectations but I exceeded any expectations I may have had with the results.  I would never have thought I’d have 110 QSOs in just a few hours time on the Saturday of a major DX contest.  If I had this kind of success in a short time with the mobile station, I can imagine that those working from home or contest stations had terrific weekends and that contest scores were up (I did see reports online and on social media of east coast stations hearing and working the Pacific).  All I can say is that I’m glad I turned the radio on, I had a morning full of amateur radio fun – and when it’s all said and done, that’s what the hobby is all about.

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