Friday, June 22, 2007

SMIRK contest

I'm a bit behind in posting, but nothing terribly exciting has happened over the last week. The one thing that I did do last weekend was to make about three dozen contacts in the SMIRK Contest. SMIRK (Six Meter International Radio Klub) is an organization who's purpose is to promote the use of the 6 meter (50 mHz) amateur radio band. Like most contests on 6 meters, the general idea is to contact as many stations as possible, with each grid square being a multiplier. Two points are given for contacts with a SMIRK member (though you don't have to be one to participate), and one point given for all other contacts.

Unlike the previous weekend, where 6 meters was not "open" (meaning that all contacts were essentially "local", with almost no enhanced propagation (meaning that the signals travel via "ground wave" along the surface of the earth, rather than by bouncing off the ionosphere, which results in longer distances, and usually more, contacts), there were a number of good band opening for the SMIRK contest. As a result, in about an hour or so, I made about 1/3 as many contacts as I made during about 10 hours of operating during the previous week's ARRL VHF contest. This makes it a lot more fun, though since I didn't really plan to participate at all, I had some non-radio things to take care of and didn't spend a lot of time operating.

I wasn't even going to bother submitting my score, but my friend Larry, N4VA pointed out that nobody has been awarded first place in NJ for the past few years, so I sent in my score, thinking that perhaps my my meager 1300 point score will be enough to win the state.

The other thing that I did was to join as a member of SMIRK. In order to do this, you need to collect the SMIRK numbers of six other SMIRK members, and of course the contest provided an easy way to do that. They've made things really easy to join: you send the SMIRK numbers and callsigns of your six contacts to to club via email, and you can pay the membership fee ($6, of course) via Paypal. I got an email back from the club secretary, Dale, AA5XE the next morning with my newly-assigned SMIRK number: 6759.

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