CQ WW 2002 (Mostly CW!)
A Personal point of view
CQ WW SSB 2002 was a very low-key event for me, having just moved house I only had wire antennas up and even the amplifiers were not connected. I still managed a few contacts, mostly hunting for new band-countries. Low power SSB with wire antennas can be VERY FRUSTRATING, I heard many stations I would have liked to work but there was no way I could break through the pile-ups. So, the less said about CQ WW SSB 2002 the better....
CQWW CW 2002 was a different story, I had great fun operating, at the last moment I decided to enter single op, single band (15m) QRP, I did this because conditions appeared to be good on Friday evening. I also wanted to add a few DXCC entities on my QRP list. The fact that I had a new FT-817 to play with also had an affect on the decision :-). Operating on only 1 band also allows for some sleep !. After wasting 2 hours rebuilding the (NEW) logging computer early Saturday morning and wasting 2 hours during a very busy period Saturday afternoon due to a thunder storm it all ended well.
Running QRP you cannot really call CQ and expect to hang onto your frequency so it was mostly a search and pounce operation. I managed 26 zones and 90 countries including 2 all time new ones for me (S07PM and YI9OM). This all added handsomely to my QRP DXCC standings. Running QRP in a contest can be frustrating but I managed to work all, except one, of the stations I heard. Since that station was a S9++ with me and he kept on calling and never going back to anyone who answered him I can only conclude that he had no RX, was asleep with an auto keyer running or was using a crystal set !
The FT-817 performed very well but I must admit that there were quite a few occasions that I really missed my FT-1000MP/TS-870S on the RX side, it got rather crowded at times !. Maybe I must install the optional CW filters as that can only help.
I was using a Cushcraft A4S, very low at only 10m above ground level, about 2m above the roof but it worked exceptionally well, I was surprised many times how easy it was to make a contact running only 5 watts (actually according to my Bird watt-meter the radio was only running slightly more than 4w on 15m).
I have to say that there are some really superb CW contest operators, many times I gave my 5w call at 40+ WPM in reply to a CQ that was not even a S1 only to get a reply immediately with the call correct, contact completed in seconds !. Now if only we can get some of the SSB operators to be as sharp !
Thanks to all the great operators who picked out my QRP signal in the noise and all the regulars (K1AR, W2LPL, VE3AT, K3CR, K3WW, 3V8BB ect) who I seem to work every year at the end of November !
So, I am looking forward to next year. Next year I would like to enter QRP again but this time all bands, it will be hard work (40 and 80m will be a PAIN!) but I believe it would be possible to get into the top 10 QRP in the world from South Africa, if conditions are not to bad, we will see...... then again I think maybe a high power entry will be fun, that way I can call CQ, hang on to my frequency and get some decent runs....
Hope to see you on the bands next year !