March 2019 President’s Notes – New Hams and Contesting

As the contest season winds down and spring turns into summer, there is one last contest you should participate in before the season goes dark.  The Missouri QSO Party is the first full weekend in April and runs from 9 am to 11 pm on Saturday April 6th and then again 9 am to 3 pm April 7th.  Even if you’re not a contester, I encourage you to join in the weekend fun. The goal of the Missouri QSO party is for stations in the state of Missouri to contact as many Missouri counties and states as possible over the allotted time frame.  The goal for out of state operators is to contact as many Missouri counties as possible.

Why should you participate in the MO QSO party?  A few reasons.

If you have never participated in a contest, the MO QSO is a great, laid back way to get your chops wet and maybe catch the contesting bug.  State QSO parties are slow, in the grand scheme of contests. Nobody is going to tell you to “hurry up” to send your exchange, or scold you for submitting a log with only three contacts and there isn’t anybody out there that’s going to say “get off my frequency”.  

If you know of a new ham that shows that competitive drive, you might want to ask them over and see if they are interested in making a few contacts.  Someone who might have an interest could find the experience rewarding. I always think the state QSO parties are the “gateway experience” into larger contests like ARRL DX and CW World Wide.  Get a new ham in front of an HF rig and tell them to spin the dial and do some search and pounce and before you know it, they are wanting to run and call CQ on an open frequency.

If you are a new ham and haven’t participated in a contest and this sounds interesting, reach out to your mentor and ask them if you can work a few hours over at their shack.  If you don’t have a mentor, let me know and we can pair you up with someone who is interested.

Another trait a good contester will use is their ability to pass traffic quickly.  If you are into ARES or RACES or even HARN (see for more info on those organizations), passing traffic via a net quickly and accurately is a very good attribute to have, especially during high stress environments like disasters.  Good contesters practice this ability every contest with recording call signs, location and traffic, but in the contest it’s called the “exchange.” Once becoming a seasoned contester, you’ll find passing traffic second nature on the VHF and UHF repeaters or on HF nets.

I invite you to take some time from your busy schedule on April 6th and 7th to get on the air, invite a new ham over to your shack, show them your equipment, what the different knobs and buttons do on the HF rig and make some contacts during the MO QSO party.  You’ll never know who you invite over to your shack might get the contesting bug, or maybe it will be you!


Kyle Krieg, AAØZ