March 3, 2013 | In: Geocaching, Ham Radio

1000th Cache and the ARRL International DX Contest

Well, my ears are still buzzing a bit from the static and background noise, and I’m a bit disappointed in my final numbers, but I did enjoy my opportunity to play on the radio a bit this weekend, as well as my chance to log my 1000th geocache

On Friday evening after work and a quick stop for a geocache, I hopped on the radio for the ARRL International DX Contest where US and Canadian stations try to work stations from the rest of the world. The 10, 15, and 20 meter band were already closed down for the evening, and I had practically no luck on the 40 meter band, so I called it a night and headed to bed.

Saturday morning we woke up and got rolling fairly early…I had logged 998 geocaches, and this was the day to go for #1000. I’ve been a pretty casual geocacher for most of my time in the hobby…only since last August have we been going at it in a steady, methodical way, trying to log at least one cache per day in an effort to go for a year with a find each day. First stop, for find #999 was at the End Of The Road cache, which proved to be much easier than its rating would imply. Then we proceeded to one of the oldest surviving caches in the area, the Slippery Root Cache in Burien’s Seahurst Park. Poked around a bit, and then, “Ta-Dah!” there it was. It felt good to get this milestone under my belt. I’m really hoping my next 1000 finds don’t take nearly as long.

After lunch it was back to the radio for more contesting fun…at least it was supposed to be fun, but I was having an awful time trying to break through the pileups. Finally I gave it up for the evening with a paltry 15 contacts, but glad to have logged Brazil, Columbia, Japan, Alaska (AK and HI are separate “countries” from a radiosport perspective) and several of the Caribbean islands.

Sunday morning I was up a bit earlier than normal, got dressed for church and then headed in to play on the radio a bit more. The bands were a bit more cooperative this time…in less than an hours time I’d added Finland, European Russia, Croatia, and the Ukraine to my log, as well as some more Japanese stations.

After church we came home and I found the the 10 and 15 meter bands had finally decided to open up at a time when I was actually sitting in front of the radio. I logged four Brazilian stations on 10 meters in the first five minutes I was back on the radio. As the afternoon progressed, Chile, Argentina, Bonaire, Asiatic Russia, Venezuela, Anguilla, and Sweden also were added to the log. There were many more countries that I was able to hear, but not able to reach through the course of the weekend. Finally about 3:30 (half an hour before the end of the contest at 4:00 Pacific, Midnight GMT) my ears had enough, and I called it a day. We then went out to find our daily geocache (the streak is alive at 192 days and counting) and grab some sushi for dinner.

I do want to make a shout-out to to Scott, N3FJP for his ongoing work in providing great logging software for the ham radio community at phenomenally cheap prices at his website. If you are a ham looking for either a general purpose log or one for a specific contest, give Scott’s work a look-see. If you find it useful, you can buy a license to everything he makes for one convenient low price, or you can buy the different programs piecemeal.

Comment Form