I am not a big contester, as I've said here many, many times. I just don't have the patience or the time to put the long hours in a chair that are necessary to make a substantial effort. I do like to dabble. And this weekend coming up is one of the "majors" that I like to dabble in - the ARRL DX Contest - CW portion.
This is an excellent contest for budding QRP DXers. And this post is just for you, who are new to the QRP DX game. If band conditions are favorable, the newbie QRP DXer can easily gather one half, if not all the DXCC entities to earn QRP DXCC in one weekend. The goal of this contest are simple, for W/VE stations to work as many DX stations as possible in the time allotted.
The exchange is also easy-peasy - RST and your state or province. Even if you're relatively "light" in CW, the exchange is not something you should stumble over.
A few things for the budding QRP DXer to keep in mind.
1) Don't get discouraged early on. When you turn on the radio Friday night, a lot of the CW will sound like buzzsaws to you. Wait until Saturday night or Sunday morning to jump in. By then, the big guns will have tired a bit and may send a bit slower.
2) If a station will not QRS for you, don't get sweat it. Just move on and work someone you can understand.
3) Keep listening all this week, leading up to the contest. A lot of stateside Hams will be traveling to exotic locations this week - solely to operate in this contest! They will be setting up and testing their stations ahead of time - get on the air and work them under non-contest conditions.
4) Sunday afternoon to Sunday evening is the prime time for QRP stations. Big gun contesters who are still hungry for points will be more willing to listen for weaker signals towards the end of the event.
5) Even if you're a veteran QRP DXer, you can make this contest fun. You can cherry pick and listen for DXCC entities that you have never worked before - or you can try your hand at DX QRPp. I did this one year. I went down to the shack and turned the power down to 750 milliWatts. I was amazed by the number of contacts I made.
I have never seriously kept track of how many DX stations that I was able to work QRPp. This is something I may start doing this weekend.
Hope to hear you guys fattening up your QRP DXCC totals this weekend. Let me know how you did!
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!