ARRL DX Phone Contest Brings DX in Full Force to the HF Bands!
With the 2010 ARRL International DX CW Contest now history, the first weekend in March brings the next round of competition: the 2010 ARRL International DX Phone Contest. Like its CW predecessor, this event focuses on DX stations working all US states and Canadian provinces, while US and Canadian amateurs try to work as many DX countries as possible over the 48 hour contest period.
"Conditions during last weekend's CW contest were, by all accounts, very good indeed," said ARRL Contest Branch Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X. "Fifteen Meters was open for extended periods of time, allowing excellent QSOs to be made from the US and Canada to all corners of the globe. Even 10 meters decided to show up for the party, with openings both Saturday and Sunday to South America and Africa, with a sprinkling of Europe thrown in for good measure."
For the veterans, it was a delight to have good propagation on the higher bands again. For the more recently licensed, it was a chance to finally experience an opening on bands that have more or less remained dormant due to the extended low in the 11 year solar cycle. "I've had some Old-Timers in my local club tell me 10 meters would open like this, but I've never heard it open before; I didn't believe them," one newly licensed amateur told Kutzko. "Now I get it. It was exciting. I had a great time!"
Just as in the CW contest, US and Canadian stations send a signal report and their state or province, while DX stations send a signal report and their transmit power. Remember that for this contest, Alaska and Hawaii are considered DX -- this means that stations in KH6 and KL7 focus their efforts on working Stateside and Canada.
How can you participate? You are only limited by your imagination and willingness to get on the air. If the high bands remain active, even stations running 100 W and a dipole or vertical antenna will work a lot of DX. If you live in an area where antenna restrictions exist, take your contest effort on the road! Operate from your car, set up a portable antenna in a park or campground or see if a friend's station is available. If you have a station and won't be using it, consider opening your doors to members of your club and let them try their hand at working some DX. If you make 100 QSOs, you are eligible to purchase a commemorative pin for your efforts!
The ARRL DX Phone Contest runs from 0000 UTC Saturday, March 6 through 2359 UTC Sunday, March 7. Complete rules and forms may be found online. The high bands are finally showing signs of life. Why let all this DX pass you by -- get on the air and have some fun!