Michigan QSO Party
Sponsored by The Mad River Radio Club
|Contest Report By Dave Pruett, K8CC|
Links into this contest report:
Each year, April signifies the coming of spring, and it also brings the Michigan QSO Party. Compared to 2010, the 2011 MiQP saw a small uptick in log entries (289 entries vs. 280 last year), but thanks to improving conditions, activity was way up. Reported QSOs set a new record for MiQP (45,562 vs. 41,666 in 2008) with 3,316 unique callsigns appearing in those logs (although not a new record, it was the third highest in the history of the MiQP).
The table below shows the breakdown of QSOs from the contest. After several mediocre years, 40M regained its title of "most important MiQP band" in a huge way with an increase in QSOs of 91.5% vs. 2010! It did so apparently, at the expense of 80M, which had a 40% drop and many entries reported dramatically lower levels of activity on that band during daytime. 20M had a healthy increase (37.6%) while 15M finally showed signs of life with 681 total QSOs (up 995% with more QSOs than the past ten years combined on that band!) Even 10M had a 362% increase, and more QSOs than the past three years combined on that band!
|Pct of total||22%||61%||16%||1.5%||0.06%||-|
|vs. 2010||- 40.0%||+91.5%||+40.2%||+995%||+362%||+26%|
Both CW and SSB were up this year. On both modes, it was 40M which made the biggest difference. The surge on 15M was a boon for many operators out west, providing QSOs on two additional band-modes which have been mostly barren wastelands in recent years.
It is interesting to view the overall contest in terms of QSOs by hour. The graph below shows the number of QSOs made by band for each hour of the contest. Nothing too surprising here, but its interesting to see how the bands ebb and flow with respect to each other. 40M starts out strong, but wanes to a dip in the 23Z hour before picking back up in the 00Z hour. 80M was pretty slow for the first four hours, but starts to come to life in the 20Z hour. 20M is productive up through 23Z. Note that 40M was the best band nine of the twelve hours of the contest, and when 40M isn't top dog, it's 80M. Some useful strategy clues here...
Unfortunately, we have to report that only 82 of the 83 MI counties were active during the contest, with the missing county being Cheboygan. This is ironic when you recall that as recently as 2007, CHEB was easily workable due to the K8MQP multi-op effort. We'll have to see if we can't develop some MiQPers there for 2012. The five most active counties were Oakland, Berrien, Wayne, Macomb and Ingham. Oakland, Berrien and Wayne repeat from 2010, while Macomb and Ingham moved into the top five, displacing Washtenaw and Livingston. The five least active counties were Roscommon, Gogebic, Oscoda, Dickinson, and of course Cheboygan. None of these were repeats from 2010. As in 2010, none of these hard-to-find counties had fixed station operations this year, relying on transient mobile stations for their activity. Perhaps a strategic hint for 2012...
From the out-of-state areas, QSOs were reported with 56 of the 63 geographic entities on CW, 60 of 63 on SSB and 60 of 63 overall. Its remarkable that these numbers are identical to last year. The five most active out-of-state areas were Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and DX. Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania are repeats from 2010, while Minnesota and DX bumped Georgia (6th) and Texas (13th) from last year's top-five. No QSOs were reported with three entities: Nunavut, Yukon Territories and Newfoundland-Labrador. All of these are typically difficult to get in MiQP, although the latter was workable last year.
54 counties were represented by fixed station operations, which is the best ever for MiQP, and a step towards our goal of having fixed station entries from all 83 counties. Overall, MiQP entries worked an average of 35.7 counties in 2011 vs. 31.4 in 2010. Michigan stations were the big winners in this regard; their average number of counties worked rose from 33.8 in 2010 to 40.8 in 2011, which can probably be attributed to the shorter skip on 40M which made it easier to work the mobiles as they moved from county to county. The number of counties worked by non-Mich stations also rose, but by a smaller amount: from 29.4 in 2010 to 30.9 in 2011. No Michigan counties saw first-ever recorded fixed station entries in 2011 which leaves only two Michigan counties which have never had a fixed station MiQP entry reported: Ontonagon and Schoolcraft.
2011 turned out to be a year where a number of records were seriously challenged, but few were broken. Nonetheless, the crew at K8XXX set a new record for the Michigan Multi-multi category at 737,352, beating their previous mark set in 2009. Also, the crew at W8OAK, the Oakland County EOC, clobbered their record for EOC stations set last year by more than double, raising the bar to 265,556. Laci, OM2VL bumped his existing record set last year for high power DX stations to 34,338. Finally, Scott, WB2REI/8 set a new mark for the number of counties worked by a Michigan single-operator with 67, breaking the mark formerly shared by N8SS, N8M and K8MM.
In addition, 42 new fixed station and 7 new mobile records were set at the county level. We congratulate all of the record setters for the effort they put into the 2010 MiQP.
This year, we seemed to have more problems with logs than normal. These problems generally fell into one of three categories. The first type was the result of people logging the contest with a general-purpose logging program, and when the Cabrillo file was generated, some or all of the information logged from the stations being worked was omitted by the program. In this situation, an e-mail was sent to the entrant informing them of the problem and asking for a repaired log. In many of these cases, this information was missing from EVERY QSO, so with every QSO being bad, the final score was zero, unfortunately providing no public acknowledgement for their efforts in MiQP.
Second, a number of logs had errors in their entry category. For example, the log indicates "SINGLE-OP" and perhaps their soapbox comments describe a multi-op effort. Or occasionally the log indicates "SINGLE-OP" but doesn't indicate the power level. If the log doesn't clearly indicate the power level or category (e.g., "high", "low" or "QRP"), the log is defaulted to high power.
Finally, we have a consistent problem with the popular N3FJP Logging Program with multi-operator entries. Apparently, this program does not provide the capability to record the callsigns of the operators of a multi-op station, so entrants are recording the operators' calls along with the station callsign in the station callsign field. This requires the logcheckers to manually edit the files, so that the scoring and contest report will be accurate. If multi-op entries using N3FJP would simply add an additional line to their Cabrillo file beginning with "OPERATORS:" and listing the operators' calls it would save the logchecker's time and ensure that the list of calls is reported accurately.
Remembering Hank Kohl, K8DD SK
Back in November 2010, the MiQP community lost a good friend and ardent MiQP supporter with the passing of Hank Kohl, K8DD. Hank was an active MiQP participant for at least three decades, and he resurrected the contest in 1997 after it suffered a two year hiatus due to confusion over dates and conflicts with the Dayton Hamvention. He did the logchecking and results for 1997 and 1998, and accepted a position on the MiQP Organizing Committee when MRRC took over in 1999. It was Hank's persistent enthusiasm for MiQP which got this author (K8CC) involved with it that year. Hank was a long time member of MRRC, QRP ARCI, EMARC and other clubs. In this, our first MiQP without him, it seems only fitting to remember his leadership and many contributions to our event.
Once again, this editor would like to acknowledge that producing these MiQP results is not a one man show. Our thanks go to Ron, W8RU and his daughter Caroline, who typed the 30 or so paper logs received into the computer for log checking and scoring. Also, much appreciation to Mike, WD8S who manages the certificates and plaques for the MiQP awards program, and to Everett Jackson, WZ8P and the team at Franklin Printing in Zanesville, OH for their assistance in creating the beautiful MiQP plaques.
At the end of this report, youíll find a list of the MiQP plaques and the clubs and organizations that sponsored them. The MiQP committee thanks these sponsors for their generous support of MiQP.
As these results are coming out in early August, donít forget to look for many familiar MiQP callsigns during the Ohio QSO Party, August 27-28, 2011, also sponsored by the Mad River Radio Club. Come join in the fun!
And now, on to the results.