This weekend is the ARRL DX Contest (CW).
Even in you're not a contester and even if you're not a CW Wizard, this is still a good one to dive into for several reasons:
1) It will improve your CW.
2) The exchange is simple.
3) You'll be able to work your way well toward earning QRP DXCC.
4) It's a lot of fun!
Here's the official line from the ARRL:
Contest Objective: To encourage W/VE stations to expand knowledge of DX propagation on the HF and MF bands, improve operating skills, and improve station capability by creating a competition in which DX stations may only contact W/VE stations. One contest period is CW-only and one is Phone-only. Use only the 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, and 10 meter bands.
W/VE amateurs: Work as many DX stations in as many DXCC entities as possible.
DX stations: Work as many W/VE stations in as many of the 48 contiguous states and provinces as possible.
CW: Third full weekend in February (February 19-20, 2022).
Phone: First full weekend in March (March 5-6, 2022).
Contest Period: Begins 0000 UTC Saturday and runs through 2359 UTC Sunday.
W/VE stations send a signal report and their state or province. DX stations send a signal report and power as a number or abbreviation.
How simple is that?
But here's the big tip!
For those of you new to QRP CW - either your code is kinda on the slower side; or you're not a big contester - I would wait to jump into the fray until Sunday. If you jump in right at the beginning, you're likely to get frustrated and discouraged. At the beginning of any big contest like this - it' s best to let the big guns and CW speed demons get their rocks off for a while. From the very beginning, a lot of the CW is going to be sent so fast, that you'll think you're listening to a buzz saw.
It's way better to wait until the latter part (second half) of the contest. Those big guns will have worked just about everyone they could have and they will more than likely be willing to listen for weaker signals and slower CW in order to fill up their logs. This is your big chance!
If conditions are right, and you're new to QRP DX, you can easily work your way to a quarter, halfway or even more countries needed for QRP DXCC.
Go get 'em!
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!