I was able to spend 17 hours operating in the CQWW this year. I wasn't really planning on a big effort, but did want to get on and work some new QRP countries...since February, in a limited amount of non-contest operating, I'd only worked 61 countries, and was well short of my goal of having 100 countries worked by the end of the year.
I also knew I wanted to do some antenna improvements before I operated more seriously in the 'WW - at the beginning of the contest I had an 80m doublet at about 45', a Par End Fedz 10/20/40 hung as a sloper, and a 30m delta loop up about 45 or 50 feet. I'm not convinced the delta loop has been giving me anything over the doublet, so I wanted to try something else. I'd noticed the Par and the doublet would sometimes change over time as to which one worked the best on 40 and 20, so I figured a lot of that was due to angle of radiation more so than pattern, so I thought I'd convert the loop to a 25' vertical doublet. Fed with window line, I'd use it from 18 through 28 mHz. At that length, it wouldn't be so long on 10 meters that I'd lose the low angle of radiation. At least in theory.
So, Saturday afternoon, during the contest, I dropped the loop and cut off about 75' of it and re-hung it as a vertical dipole. As it turned out, I don't recall the vertical doublet ever being much, if any, better than the 80m doublet. So, after a bit more use to confirm that, I'll probably try something else. In particular, I'd like to add a second 80m doublet at 90 degrees to the one I have now to fill in some of the holes in the pattern on the higher bands. I also need to get up a couple of inverted-Ls for 80 and 160...although I'm not so sure how much 160 I'll be operating QRP!
I didn't get on in the contest until about 2am Saturday morning and only worked a couple hours, but was surprised to actually work a couple Europeans with the low doublet and 5 watts. Neat. I slept in on Saturday and got to 10 meters late in the opening, but was still able to make a few Qs. Then antenna work in the afternoon and a move to pick up a few countries on 40 in the evening.
Sunday morning I made sure to get up early enough to take advantage of the good condx on 10 and 15, and about a half hour before sunrise I was chasing (unsuccessfully) JAs on 40 meters. A pass through 20m which had been largely ignored since the beginning of the contest, and then on to 15 meters at about 1245Z. Pretty quickly I noticed 15 was wide open to Europe, and at one point I looked at my log and saw six stations logged in three minutes - all S&P at 5 watts and a low 80m doublet - not bad! In fact, 15 was going so well, I never made it to 10 until after 14Z, which I had to force myself to do! So, I know I missed a lot of the good early opening on 10. Oh well.
Since I was just operating mostly for play and new countries, I decided to operate assisted, so I ended up just looking for interesting spots to chase. That, and a lot of starting and stopping to do stuff around the house meant that this was nowhere near a serious effort. Even so, I ended up with 17 or so hours of operating time. Best DX (not necessarily longest distance) was D2QV in Angola, who was very weak, but with no callers, so I dropped in my call and he came right back, no fills needed. Maybe he was QRP too??
During the contest I worked a total of 92 countries, which boosted my QRP country total from 61 to 108, and my CQ zone count from 25 to 31. Not bad for a weekend of non-serious operating!
Here are the totals:
Band QSOs Pts DXC Zone
1.8 2 2 2 2
3.5 22 52 17 9
7 28 79 25 11
14 20 59 18 9
21 93 262 62 21
28 108 304 58 20
Total 273 758 182 72
Score : 192,532
Remember, this is nothing fancy - 5 watts and mostly an 80m doublet. Fun stuff!