The North American Sprint is tough but its skill dividends are well worth the effort. I enjoyed a pre-Sprint breakfast with a group of local contesters and DXers. We met at Cocos in Pismo Beach in the morning. I had a blast listening to the latest on DXing and RadioSport.
I was tired going into the contest but managed to stay relatively focused. The key, at least for me, during Sprint is focus. Code speed and movement across the band is exciting and taxing.
I called CQ more often instead of searching and pouncing (SP) even at 45-watts with a doublet. Every QSO counts in Sprint and Level-1 and -2 stations will find you. My signal is not of the slugger type where I can hang near the low edges of Sprint. Instead, on the first half-hour, I called CQ at the high edge of each band. I call CQ three times then SP within 10 KHz of the upper edge.
The second half-hour is Sprint style after the Level-1s and -2s logged each other. My Sprint log demonstrated a definite QSO trend on the second half-hour. Additionally, the bands thinned out going into the last ten minutes on the hour as well. This gave me an opportunity to move below the upper edge, call CQ, and work SO2R operators or other Level-3 and -4 stations.
My copy skill improved since the last Sprint and I felt confident despite the fatigue. This time around less fumbling at the keyboard and better QSY technique. I recommend labeling function keys and using VFO A=B function on the radio. Spinning the dial after a Q is cumbersome given the time pressure of Sprint.
I recalled this tidbit of information despite high speed CW. You set the speed and if you need a repeat or fill be sure to ask. I did this time around. The operator on the other end typically slows down to your speed. It works.
Stats from the Log.
- Rate meter indicated 16 Qs in the last hour; last ten average was 17; and overall 17 Qs per hour.
- No section clean sweep almost worked all of 4-land during Sprint. Almost only counts in horse shoes however.
- Eleven multipliers on 20-Meters; 6 on 40-Meters; and 1 on 80-Meters.
- Fifty-one minutes on 20-Meters; 1-hour and seven minutes on 40-Meters; and 37-minutes on 80-Meters.
- First in the log was KL7RA in Alaska and last in the log was N6TR in Oregon.
Sprint is fast, fun, and furious. It's a big hoot seeing familar calls in the log and I'm hoping to meet some of the finest operators beneath the ionosphere sometime in the future.
Overall, I tied my QSO total from last year but lost points because of my multiplier count.