10m ARRL Contest (2020)

I was very excited today to use the IC-705 for the 10 meter contest hosted by the ARRL. The IC-705 is a QRP radio, and has a maximum transmit capacity for SSB of 10 watts. I knew I was going to be challenged using the radio at home. Thus, I decided to go outside to a park to have a better chance of making contacts.

I went to Yorba Linda Regional Park. A beautiful quit park where I can set up my radio and my End Fed Half Wave EFHW antenna.

The EFHW antenna adapts to your needs with very little equipment. On this day I considered using a tree as a mounting point for the end of the antenna and I used a stick to prop up the transformer. I used a QRPGuy’s 10 watt EFHW antenna (it comes in a kit).

In the two hours I was at the park, I received two contacts from California – Laguna Beach and La Mesa and one contact from Austin, Texas. The 10 meter band can be challenging to work. At the moment, we are at the lower cusp of solar activity when there are few sunspots. Sunspots help ionize the F2 layer of the atmosphere so our signals can propagate better.

This was my first 10 meter contest. What I learned was that as the solar cycle increases, the band will open up more and thus more contacts. In addition, having a Yagi antenna might help. I noticed those who had very strong signals were using Yagi antennas. An operator from California had a contact from Connecticut!