Well, first of all, I didn't operate anywhere near the alloted 36 out of the possible 48 hours, from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon. The YF (that's wife in ham-speak) had an event at the school where she works, so we went out to dinner, and then to the event. I didn't feel like getting started at 10PM Friday night when we got home, so all I did was tune around a bit to see how much activity there was. Saturday morning I got started, and decided to run my FlexRadio Systems rig exclusively, along with the logging program that I recently installed. I stumbled around figuring out the logging program, lost the first half-dozen contacts I made when I hit a wrong button on the logger, and then decided I'd better RTFM. Finally got serious around noon, and started cranking out contacts on the 15 Meter (21.000MHz~21.450MHz) band. I use a method called "Hunt And Pounce", where I'll start at one end of the band, work my way up (or down) in frequency, and work all the stations I can contact. Contests like this don't give you a chance to sit and talk to people, but rather encourage making as many contacts as fast as you can. You give out a signal report and contact number, receive the same back from the station you're talking to, and move on to the next contact. A really good operator at a powerhouse station can sit on one frequency and bang out contacts at better than 200 per hour! When I'm doing 20~30 per hour I feel like I'm doing pretty good considering my modest station. I operated about 6 hours on Saturday, took a break for dinner, watched a movie with the YF, and then hit the hay. I got back on Sunday for about another 4 hours. I only made 116 contacts, with 100 different multipliers, for a total score of 20,800. Some of the station I worked had over 6,000 contacts, so I'm sure their score will be astronomical. I mostly used this contest to get used to operating my FLEX-5000A under fire, and left it on all weekend. I have to say this thing has the absolute BEST receiver I've ever used under crowded band conditions. The adjustable filters are nothing short of amazing, and to be able to hear a signal barely above the noise (S2), sandwiched between two extremely loud signals (S9+30), and to be able to make the interference just go away, is staggering. My other Big Rig is a Kenwood TS-950SDX with an INRAD Roofing Filter kit, and INRAD 1.8kHz crystal filters in both the 8.83MHz and 455kHz IF stages, and outstanding combination in what was, and still is, Kenwood's top-of-the-line Amateur Radio transceiver.
Yeah, I know it's time I could be spending at the range keeping my skills really sharp, but hey, activities like this help keep my "Signal Corps" skills sharp, and it sure beats sitting on the couch drinking beer and watching ESPN all weekend!