This 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: Test Equipment Before Contest.
You know something won’t work, don’t you? Even when you were on the air last night? Yeah, it breaks.
What should you test? Here’s a checklist for what to test before a contest:
- Each antenna on each band. Somehow, the SWR always goes up before a contest.
- Each rotor. For some reason, they won’t turn the day of a contest.
- Each radio can receive. Make sure the radio can hear signals on the band.
- Each radio can transmit. With an SWR that makes sense.
- Each computer. Make sure the software comes up and can see the radios and rotors.
- Each macro. Make sure your CW/SSB/RTTY/PSK messages work as advertised with your function keys, including transmitting.
- Each sound card. Make sure the levels of the sound card are set correctly and work with the radios.
Testing is so boring. But much better to find out that the 80-meter vertical doesn’t work in the daylight than finding out in the heat of battle when it is dark outside.