Saturday, I was supposed to go to a Halloween party in the evening. Instead, I spent the whole day being a ham radio geek. I did get to go out to breakfast with my friend Greg and the waitress flirted with me, but that was the only non-geeky part of the day.
This weekend was the CQ World Wide DX Contest. That means all the big geek ham radio contesters (the hams with the really big towers, and lots of them) were all on the radio trying to talk to as many countries as they could. I played with my own pathetic little radio for a while, but on Saturday I went up to a friend’s house to play with his radio.
Let’s compare. Here’s my antenna:
If you look very carefully, you’ll see a vertical antenna on the garage, and the 10M quad on the roof.
Here’s a picture of Brad’s towers:
If you look carefully, you’ll see a second tower in the background, and both towers have stacks of antennas on them.
I’m not an experienced operator, so I mostly just hung around. I have a couple of blurry pictures of people running the radios. The first is Jim, KI7Y, the President of the Willamette Valley DX Club at the secondary station.
Here’s Denis, K7GK, and John, KL2A at the main station.
You’ll see the big radio usually towards the right side, and a large computer screen where people keep track of who they’re talking to. As a comparison, I could call until I was blue in the face — up to fifteen minutes — trying to get a guy in the Carribean to hear me, but at Brad’s it would just take one or two calls to get all the way into central China, almost halfway around the world.
Anyway, it was fun. I think the furthest I got was Macau and Finland, and with the scoring I made about 2000 points. While I was at Brad’s, they had about 2,000,000 points, and that was only halfway through the contest.
So, I missed the Halloween party, and as I expected, the kids at the door were my whole Halloween experience. We had 84 kids here from 5:20 until 8PM when I ran out of candy (full bags of M&M’s or Skittles). I think my sister said she had 263 down in Paso Robles, CA, and she also ran out of candy.