August - Good Time for Temporary Antennas, QSO Parties, and Other Contests

August is a time when almost anyone who does not have a large permanent antenna can put up a temporary antenna hung from a tree or pole, and participate in a contest, given 100 W of output power.  A 10 m balun dipole is pretty happy when only 15 ft above the ground!  KV2R has worked the November Sweepstakes this way from his car at the Osage Middle School and also from the Pine Hill Golf Course.  Check out the August contests in the QST Contest Corral at www.arrl.org/contest-calendar and then click on the desired month of Contest Corral near the bottom of that page.

The Corral’s table lists several inviting contests for August.  The North American QSO Party (Phone) runs on August 17 from 6 am to midnight  (August 3 for CW).  It is an HF contest in which a modest 10 m antenna will yield many contacts if oriented to radiate east-west.  Similar comments apply to the Kansas, Ohio, and even Hawaii QSO Parties on the weekend of August 24-25.  The Maryland-DC QSO Party on August 10 requires a different kind of antenna, probably an 80 m dipole, a 6 m antenna, or a quite high 2 m beam.  And if you are looking to make a neat contact on 20 m in faraway South Africa, August 4 is your day.

The state QSO parties are good opportunities to make more casual contacts than are the norm in the more intense contests like ARRL DX, CQ DX, Sweepstakes, and VHF QSO parties.  Many out-of-state contacts are from patient veteran hams just enjoying the hobby and willing to help out someone competing in another state’s QSO party.  A few short comments about the weather, their location, your experiences there, propagation, etc., are ok.  As an in-stater you should always be prepared and patient enough to explain the object of the contest to your contact.  For example, more than 200 out-of-staters took time to talk to KV2R for the New Jersey QSO Party on July 27-28.  To a man (or YL) they were easy-going, polite, and professional in their approach.  As an out-of-stater you probably won’t need anywhere near 200 contacts to earn an award certificate, and you will feel good about it.

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