30 Ham Radio Contest Tips — Go on a contesting DXpedition


VP9 DXpeditionThis 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: Go on a contesting DXpedition.

For as long as I have been an amateur radio operator, I’ve wanted to go on DXpeditions. Fortunately, with the Cinco Nueve Contest Group, I’ve been able to go on a couple where I’ve gone out of the country and operated in contests.

But, you don’t have to leave the country to go on a “DXpedition.” While living in the Midwest, people took a trip to North and/or South Dakota to help put a needed multiplier on the air for Sweepstakes.

Last year, the Cinco Nueve Contest Group drove from Washington and Oregon to Idaho to put Idaho — a unique multiplier for the CQ WW RTTY Contest — on the air for the deserving.

Here are some good reasons to go to that relative rare one for a contest:

  • The other end of pileups. Yes, they ARE different on the other end from where you’ve been calling for your entire ham radio career. How to handle them is a skill you will need to quickly learn.
  • Speed of operation. Because you are rarer in the contest, the activity stays up longer and operates faster. If you are familiar with “speed” in sports, then you’ll be able to relate that DXpeditions up your speed game.
  • Logistics. Picking up everything and going somewhere to operate provides a completely new set of challenges. Going through the logistics experience helps you understand what is important for operating — helping you set priorities for your own station back home.
  • Motivation for the contest. You made the trip. You are more likely to be committed to the contest then if you were surrounded by all of the comfort — and tasks — of home.

Going on a contest DXpedition aren’t for everyone, of course. But if you get the opportunity, my suggestion is GO. You’ll learn a lot.

Scot, K9JY

  • I might also suggest the RSGB IOTA contest as an excuse for an excursion. This year I joined N4YDU for an expedition to the south core banks. What a blast. (see http//n4a.w4kaz.com and loog for the ‘photos’ link).

    We activated NA-067 from the south core banks here in NC. It was fun being a multiplier, even in a summertime contest.

    It was very much a learning experience. It was also a lot like field day, as the island was accessible only by ferry, so everything had to be hauled in for the weekend.

    I was also at a club meeting earlier this year where W2DZO gave a presentation about V26H. It had only been a couple of weeks before, and Henry was very enthusiastic about his first DXpedition.

    73 de w4kaz k

  • Exactly — and another great example. Outside of IOTA, there is also a fresh water island grouping now that could also be done as an expedition of some sort.

    Great addition — thanks.

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