We’re coming to the end of the major contests this spring ham radio contesting season. Did you contest on your terms?
It is an important question because contesting is a diverse activity within the ham radio hobby. For example, this year we have the Triple Play Award offered up by the American Radio Relay League. Contesting on your terms could mean that you contest only to work and confirm new states for the Triple Play Award. You don’t worry about your score or winning your division or how well your station is working. Instead, you contest on your terms and search for stations that help you win the award.
Think a bit on how ham radio contesting on your terms can help focus your efforts in the hobby.
Contesting quickly tests anything you need to in the shack. Want to test that new 40-meter antenna? Enter a ham radio contest as a single band entry on 40-meters. Want to see how that 40-meter band works DX? Make sure you enter as a single band entry in a DX contest.
Want to find out all the new features and roles of a software program that interacts with your radio? Enter a contest using the software (contesting or not) and you will soon find out how everything works. Or doesn’t work. When you are under the gun in a contest, learning happens quickly compared with the stoic pace of casual conversations.
Work a CW contest and watch your code speed increase about 10-WPM. Nothing is better than trying to copy code in a crowded band with many stations running!
This is not to say that you shouldn’t go out and try to win a contest. There are many people who do just that. But contesting is a diverse activity and one that can help you focus on the hobby without going after the “win” for the contest. Instead, use contests as ways to learn, test and increase your operating ability to get you out of your comfort zone.
Have you been contesting on your terms? If not, you still have some time before the end of the spring contesting season.