Contesting QRP Style – The 2012 ARRL Phone Sweepstakes

KX3 Using Guest Position


One of my goals has been to complete a Worked All States Award (WAS) QRP. We added an Elecraft KX3 Transceiver to our station recently to facilitate achieving this goal and to equip ourselves with a lightweight portable “travel” radio. When the 2012 ARRL Phone Sweepstakes came around a week or so back, I decided to use the combination of the KX3 and our new antenna system to try to achieve a WAS award QRP and to have a little contesting fun in the process.

I did a bit of on-air testing before the contest and got some pretty interesting results. As an example, I worked a QSO with KC0W, Tom in Minnesota, USA (about 1,550 miles from my QTH) using 5 watts peak power and got a signal report of 59 + 10 dB. After letting Tom know I was QRP he asked me to drop my power to 1 watt. I did so and received a signal report of 59. At this point, Tom was pretty amazed and asked me to drop my power again so I went as low as the KX3 would go which was 100 mW. Tom then gave me a 57 signal report and we proceeded to have a nice rag chew. These results gave me some encouragement to work the contest QRP.

2012 ARRL Phone Sweepstakes Results for AB1OC

2012 ARRL Phone Sweepstakes Results for AB1OC

I was not able to work the entire contest period due to other commitments. As you can see from my multiplier tracking sheet above, we came pretty close to our goal of completing a QRP WAS during the contest – 42 of the 50 states worked and most of the contest multipliers snagged. I made 130+ QSOs during the limited time that I had to operate. I have since worked a few additional states QRP and now only need 4 to complete a WAS QRP – Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Utah. The first two are the difficult ones that remain and I should be able to get there with a little more work on the air.

If any of our readers living in one of the states that remain to complete a WAS QRP and could help me complete a QSO, please drop me an email at

– Fred (AB1OC)

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