Last night I attempted my first contest, the RSGB 50MHz UKAC
I am a complete novice at using HF, in fact I am a complete novice at transmitting anything!
My Chinese Baofeng handhelds have pretty much collected dust since getting my licence. However with the purchase of the FT-857D I must, despite my trepidation, step up to the microphone.
I had hit a snag when testing out the new radio, my antenna was showing high VSWR on 6m, even with the ATU I was struggling to get it to 2:1, therefore I decided to construct a simple dipole and sling it up with an ugly choke 'balun' I had constructed.
Due to some unexpected delays I was running out of time but eventually did manage to get something up, it was only around 2 meters off the ground and the VSWR still wasn't ideal, but I was ready.
At the appointed time, well nearly an hour late I started turning the dial and was met with a load of static, wasn't hearing anything! This continued for a quite a time then suddenly I started hearing "CQ Contest CQ Contest" I listened in for a while to try to get the gist of the exchanges, wandering up and down the band.
Then I decided to have a go at a QSO, giving my callsign out, I waited nothing! "QRZ CQ Contest CQ Contest" another go.. still nothing.. and so on..
Changed frequency to another stations, tried again and I was heard, but they couldn't make out my call sign despite several attempts.. another change of frequency and the same results.
Now I know I had only got it set a 5W, the lowest I can till I get some confidence in my set up and am not going to damage anything! But I was a little disappointed, but I persevered until suddenly I was in the middle of my first contest QSO and my brain turned to jelly..
Thanks to M0MDY and his patience and prompting I successfully completed the QSO, details suitably written down. I carried on with no luck and called it a night just after 10pm, and went back in the house and manually entered the details of my solitary contact on the RSGB Contest website www.rsgbcc.org
Checking this morning and there I am at the bottom of the list, but not the very bottom, with a whopping 48 points.
Roll on next week, it is the 144MHz UKAC and I have a proper 2m YAGI... just got to work out how to mount it up on the poll and how to rotate it..