30 Ham Radio Contest Tips — Work a contest one month before the real contest

Planner for ContestsThis month, I’m providing a ham radio contest tip-a-day (along with other posts) to help you trigger your own contesting activities.

Today’s tip: Work a contest one month before the “real” contest.

The classic example for me is to work the CQ WW RTTY contest the fourth weekend in September, about one month before the CQ WW SSB Contest the fourth weekend in October.

Of course, there are many that work the CQ WW RTTY Contest just for that contest alone, and I’m one of them.

But the beauty of working the RTTY Contest in September is that it is one month before CQ WW SSB in October.

Why is that important?

Put on your propagation hat and what you experience at the end of September — the timing of the band openings, the reach of the signals, the level of absorption, and the strength of the openings — will very much be what the end of October is all about.

That sun, you know. It turns once a month and the sunspots that are around at the end of September will most likely be there at the end of October too.

Take good notes during the CQ WW RTTY contest for how the bands are working. You’ll be rewarded in your plan for the CQ WW SSB Contest at the end of October.

Scot, K9JY