2015 in radio

Posted on December 22, 2015 by Chris Lumens in , .

At the end of 2014, I wrote down a whole bunch of goals for my main hobbies, in order to motivate myself to do them more often. Since we’re at the end of 2015 now, it’s a pretty good time to look back and see how well I did. Over the past several posts I’m going to do that, one hobby at a time. Since I’m unlikely to do anything with the radio the rest of the year, I’ll talk about that first. I’m also going to mention what I have planned for the upcoming year.

My first goal is the same every year, more contacts than days in the year. I did really well at this, getting 508 contacts. In fact, that’s 40% of all the contacts I’ve ever made.

Second, I wanted to beat my January and September VHF contest scores. This wasn’t too hard. I only got 216 points in January and 780 in September. For this January, I added a new beam antenna for 70cm up on a mast above the 2m beam but I also removed the coax for the 1.25m antenna so it was out. I got more contacts on both 6m and 2m than 2014 and also more contacts overall. Multipliers were down. The September contest still hasn’t been posted on the ARRL site yet so I can’t officially state how many contacts I got. However, I added the 1.25m coax back so I was active on four bands. I also got a good opening to the south which resulted in increased multipliers including a couple completely new grids. I’ve got my contest scores posted if you want to look through them.

Third, I wanted to operate from W1AW. Anyone who’s a licensed ham can go to the ARRL headquarters in Connecticut and operate for a couple hours. Since I live so close I figured it would be pretty easy to get down there. However, that never happened. So this goal was a bust.

Fourth, I wanted to get single band DXCC. I got all-band DXCC a year or two ago. That was pretty easy. The obvious place to go next is the five band version I’m a long way off from that so I decided to go with just a single band. I don’t remember exactly where I started at the beginning of the year, but I know I had under 60 entities on both 15m and 10m. I thought one of those would be pretty easy to finish up. What I didn’t count on was that propagation on the upper bands would take a total dive partway through the year. In particular I was hoping the December 10m contest would be useful, but I didn’t get anywhere with that. I was able to get in the mid-70s on both of these bands, and I think that was pretty lucky. So that goal was a bust too.

Finally, I wanted to get five band WAS. I knew this would be a real stretch, but I thought if I made it a goal I would give it a good effort. There were a couple contests and special events throughout the year I thought would help me get this, plus I started using digital modes more. That helped a lot with the lower bands, but the propagation problems up on 10m and 15m really ruined this goal too. I was able to get eight states complete on five bands, and eleven more on four bands. Overall, I got over halfway through this goal. That’s pretty good considering how hard it is.

So what are my goals for next year?

This fall I got interested in Summits on the Air since it combines both radio and hiking into a single activity. I’ve been putting together a portable radio setup for this coming year, so I made a couple goals for that too: