ARCA & Contests by Al, KG6HM

Contests are very enjoyable experiences which afford hams like us the opportunity to contact many different and diverse stations from around the world, in a very short period of time. In this way we all get to test and improve our operating skills, while having lots of fun doing it. There are many kinds of contests. There are DX contests, there are YL contests, there are state contests, there are contests for hams on islands, there are CW contests, there are lighthouse contests, there are microwave contests, there are EME (moon bounce) contests, there are VHF/UHF contests, there are QRP contests, there are RTTY contests; the list goes on and on and on. There is always a contest for everyone. Each year, on any given weekend there is some kind of contest happening, somewhere. I am personally a long standing dedicated contester. I find it very hard not to jump right in every time I hear ’’CQ Contest’’ coming out of my receiver.

Although we are a relatively young club, ARCA now has a very significant contest history, with some very impressive scores. We participated in field days 2002, 2003, and 2004, with scores of 2,865, 3,315 and 2,430 respectively. All of our field day entries were QRP/Battery. We worked the January 2004 VHF/UHF Sweepstakes (phone) for a score of 3,380. In 2004 we entered the ARRL international DX contest (phone) and produced a score of 29,868. This year (2005) we entered the same DX contest and produced a score of 28,980 (claimed). For the first time in 2004 we entered the ARRL CW 160 meter contest. Our final score was a very impressive 11,234. Just the 160 meter full size dipole antenna was a sight to behold. The 2005 ARRL DX phone contest was our club’s first contest opportunity to use our new club call sign K6QLF. All earlier contests were operated under the call signs of various club members (i.e. KG6HM, KO6JF etc.)

My first contest was operating field day when I was 15 years old. Several friends and I set up a field day station consisting of tents, and antennas at an ocean beach near my home in Rhode Island. I’ll never forget how, in the middle of the night, as I boldly send CQ FD on CW, feeling cold sea water on my feet and realizing that we had pitched our tents too close to the water’s edge, as the incoming tide threatened to drown our operation. We all had to scramble to move tents, radios, and antennas to higher ground. In spite of all the confusion, I was hooked as a lifelong contester. Today when we as a club operate field day each June, I can’t help remembering my first field day and all the fun I had, even if we nearly found ourselves operating maritime mobile at midnight.

Today ARCA tries to operate about one contest each quarter. Over the past year and a half, we have operated ARRL field day (as a club ARCA now has lots of great field day history), the ARRL DX contest, the ARRL VHF/UHF party, and the ARRL 160 meter contest (CW only). There is no rule that says these four contests must be the only ones we as a club will be operating in the future. These contests are only the ones that some of us felt most drawn to try out in the recent past. I welcome any and all suggestions for future contests. We as a club believe strongly in breaking new ground and trying out new adventures. As yet untried contests are a great way of exploring these feelings of adventure. As we are now getting our club station (whose call sign is K6QLF) organized at 522 West Midway, I believe we as a club will be in a prime position to pursue any and all contest of interest to the membership. Let me know what turns you on, and we will see if there is a contest, which supports it. You can contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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