One Down, One to Go: The ARRL International DX Contest Gears Up for SSB
With the CW portion of the ARRL International DX Contest now a series of fading dits and dahs in the memories of participants, preparations for the SSB portion of the DX Contest -- the weekend of March 3-4 -- are already underway.
According to ARRL Contest Branch Manager Sean Kutzko, KX9X, for this contest, stations in the US and Canada work only DX stations, and DX stations only work the US and Canada; Alaska and Hawaii are considered DX for this contest. DX stations will be trying to make QSOs with all US states and Canadian provinces. The contest exchange is simple: US and Canadian stations send a signal report and their state or province, while DX stations send a signal report and the amount of power they are transmitting with.
“The CW portion had a lot of twists and turns,” Kutzko recounted. “The solar flux index was down considerably from the great conditions we experienced in the last quarter of 2011. We were also dealt a blow with a solar storm on Saturday afternoon, generating some strange phenomena on the bands. Ten meters -- which earlier in the contest season was open to Europe and Asia for hours at a time -- barely showed up this past weekend. Despite all of this, hams worked tons of DX on 15 and even 10 meters.”
Will these conditions improve? It’s hard to say -- the SFI remains around 100, and just a week before the contest, the A and K indices are reasonably low. “Check The K7RA Solar Update each Friday on the ARRL website for the most current solar forecast,” Kutzko advised. “But one thing is for certain: The number of participants in the 2011-2012 contest season has exploded, and more activity means lots of DX.”
The ARRL International DX SSB Contest runs from 0000 UTC Saturday, March 3 to 2359 UTC Sunday, March 4. Complete rules and forms can be found online. Electronic logs should be submitted via e-mail; paper logs can be sent to ARRL DX SSB Contest, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111. Paper logs must be postmarked no later than 0000 UTC Tuesday, April 3, 2012.