What is this “thing” called contesting?

Currently, we are heading for the bottom of the solar cycle. Listening around the HF bands you would even think we have hit rock bottom but come a “contest” weekend and …WOW!!

The bands have “magically” picked up, there are lots of signals all about the HF bands.
Often plenty of DX stations calling “CQ Contest”

But what contest?

What report do I give?

The easiest solution to finding out what contest is on is to visit WA7BNM’s contest calendar website. http://www.contestcalendar.com/index.html

Here you will find a wealth of info, contest dates and links to official websites that show the rules and what types of report that are needed to participate, what sections you can enter, where to send logs etc

If you are just new at contesting you may wish to just call the other station and give a report. They may require just a simple 59001 and the next 59002 etc. Others like the ARRL DX contest require the report to be the power level you are using, so if you are 5w QRP then every report will be “59 05” or “59 5” or if running 400w then “59 400”
The other station will respond with their US State, so if they are in South Dakota, they will respond “59 SD”

The ARRL DX contests are a good way to work WAS (worked all states) in a weekend as the World works the USA and the USA works the world. The downfall is that some quite rare stations will appear just for the contest and if you call them they may not answer as they are looking for just USA stations.

Later this month is the “All Asia CW contest” the report that is needed is just the operator’s age, so 59 54 (if you are aged 54) but YL’s can just give “00” as the serial number, so 5900 is all that is needed.

July’s  major contest will be the IARU HF World Championship.

This year also WRTC will be active as well during the IARU contest. http://www.wrtc2018.de/en/.

However, this weekend is the VK Shires contest.
It’s a VK contest and often “rare” shires will be activated just for the contest.
The objectives of this contest are for amateurs around the world to contact as many VK shires as possible in the contest period.

VK amateurs are to work the world including VK, whilst the rest of the world can only work VK.  Starting time is 0600z Saturday until 0600 Sunday

For more info: http://www.wia.org.au/members/contests/wavks/

Of course, with any contest, you can just log on paper but if you are going to enter you logs then it would be advisable to use computer logging.

There are several Contest logging programs available, some cost money others are free.

A great one is VKCL by Mike VK3AVV. It can be downloaded from here: http://www.mnds.com.au/vkcl/

Other loggers that are good for many international contests are N1MM+
This is free and well supported. https://n1mm.hamdocs.com/tiki-index.php
I use both VKCL and N1MM+ depending which contest I am participating in.

For a quick comparison of some logging software:

73 for now and see you in the contest.