Well, another big ham radio event has drawn to a close. It was fun, but I fell a little bit short. The 13 Colonies Special Event is each year during the week of Independence Day. Work one, get a certificate. Work all 13 (K2A through K2M) and get a “Clean Sweep” endorsement. I worked 12, being unable to contact South Carolina. That’s the way it goes I guess.
There were two bonus stations this year as well. I was able to work the one in Philadelphia but was never able to make it through the pileup to get the Great Britain station.
Special Event Log – 13 Colonies
|2017-07-05-202500||20m||SSB||14.25290||WM3PEN||Philadelphia Bonus Station|
Just as much fun for me was what happened outside of the event. While everyone was trying to work the 15 special event stations, it was quite easy to work other stations while waiting to be able to contact a K2x. I was able to contact six new DXCC entities, work the Gettysburg special event stations, got my first contacts on 2 new bands, and progressed towards my WAS Award.
General Log – July 1-6, 2017
|2017-07-01-205400||40m||SSB||7.26500||W1G||United States||PA||154th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg Special Event Station|
|2017-07-05-163200||20m||SSB||14.32500||KC1CBQ||United States||MA||POTA: Dighton Rock State Park|
|2017-07-05-201800||20m||SSB||14.29000||V4/W6NN||Saint Kitts & Nevis|
|2017-07-07-002423||20m||SSB||14.32200||K0ATZ||United States||MO||POTA: Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield|
Unfortunately, the event also highlighted much of what was wrong with this hobby. I invited my mother-in-law into the shack to see what I was working on, then had to awkwardly explain to her that some of the odd noises were intentional interference. Some were operators (albeit excited) jumping into a pileup either ignorant or apathetic to the fact the station was calling by numbers. This, combined with participants who were intent on getting every station with every band and every mode, made the process much more difficult than it could and should have been. Yes, I did contact a few stations more than once. But I made a point of only doing that when they were slow, and I made sure to spot them afterwards to get them more contacts.
I get challenging yourself, but there are only endorsements for CW and QRP. There is no reason to try to complete on all bands except ego. There is no reason to chase all RTTY or PSK31. All that does is add to the chaos, and that is the last thing we need.
The bottom line is I had fun. I will do it again next year. But if amateur radio is to survive as a hobby, we must clean up our behavior. If it comes down to it, we must assist with enforcement as well by not engaging with or acknowledging stations which do not follow (or are even openly hostile to) the proper code of conduct.