Amateur radio had taken a back seat in recent years due to progressing photography and astrophotography.
The biggest challenge I enjoyed the most was contesting. It was an opportunity to test yourself in both stamina, deep knowledge of hf propagation and an ability to not only copy and send morse code at high speeds but an ability to remain focused under pressure. I can guarantee that after 48 hours of operating, knackered has a new meaning !
Contesting is definitely not for everyone but don’t stay off the air just because it is a contest weekend as you will miss some rare DX stations, that is for certain.
During contests there is the chance to catch some of the rare and remote places around the world that may only operate for the duration of the contest. The best time to search for these stations is just before the contest begins while they are testing their equipment.
It is also possible to get DXCC in under 12 hours. Operating with a rare callsign helps a little also.
With an inverted ‘L’, coaxial dipole and a Moxon Rectangle I have achieved some very high scores including two former world records using less than 100 watts.
The photo above was CQWW SSB breaking the world record after only 28 hours in (48 hour contest). It was my first contest and I had to finish early due to other commitments.
The winning formula was a ZC4 prefix, sunspot maximum and at the time, the SBA Cyprus was still in the Top 20 most wanted list.