Michigan QSO Party
Sponsored by The Mad River Radio Club
|Contest Report By Dave Pruett, K8CC|
Links into this contest report:
Perhaps it was inevitable, but after several years of slow, but consistent growth, MiQP activity was down significantly in 2014. This can be attributed to several factors outside of the contest. First, the contest fell on the same weekend as the Easter holiday, keeping many participants away from their radios. Second, Michigan saw a strange mix of spring-time weather in the week leading up to and including the contest weekend. In some areas, nice weather lured participants away from their radios to spend time outdoors, while in other areas severe weather damaged home station antennas and kept mobiles off the roads. And finally, while radio propagation was not terrible, it was poor from Michigan to certain areas for large periods of time during the contest. As an example of this, MiQP committee member Tim, K9TM was on vacation near Sarasota, FL during the contest, but made an effort to participate from there with 500W and a multi-band vertical, mostly on 20M during the hours of daylight. In six hours he could only manage 15 Michigan QSOs and many Michigan stations (including some "big guns") CQ'd in his face. From my seat at the K8MQP multi-single effort from LIVI county, signals seemed very poor from that direction on 20M, despite having a TH7 yagi fixed in that direction the entire weekend. The other strange observation we had was the low level of activity we saw on 80M during the hours of darkness. Noise levels were reasonable and signal strengths were very workable, there just weren't many stations on the band.
Regardless, of the reasons, here are the numbers. 2014 was the sixteenth running of the Michigan QSO Party since the contest was revised and streamlined in 1999. The 192 logs received this year were down from 298 in 2013 and the lowest level since the 183 logs received in 2006. Despite the poor conditions described earlier on 20M to the south, there was decent propagation within the state on 40M and reasonable QRN levels on 80M at night. Reported QSOs dropped to 23,627 vs. 44,606 in 2013; not surprising considering the K8XXX multi-multi and the top finishing multi and solo op mobiles from 2013 were QRT this year. The number of unique callsigns appearing in the log entries dropped to 2,540 vs. 3,219 last year but this was a smaller drop percentage-wise than some of the other metrics.
The table below shows the breakdown of QSOs from the contest. 40M maintains its title of "most important MiQP band" in a huge way by providing 58% of all QSOs in 2014. It is interesting to note that while all of the main contest bands (basically, 80M thru 20M) had big QSO drops in 2014 vs. 2013, the drop on 80M was about half of 40M and 20M. From a mode viewpoint, CW suffered more than phone, which can probably be attributed to the drop in mobile activity, such stations typically having high percentages of CW QSOs.
|Pct of total||22%||58%||19%||0.6%||0.08%||-|
|vs. 2013||- 29.0%||-53.0%||-42.9%||-56.9%||+17%||-47%|
It is interesting to view the overall contest in terms of QSOs by hour. The graph below shows the number of QSOs reported by band for each hour of the contest. Compared to 2013, overall activity in 2014 was lower by almost 2,000 QSOs/hr in the early going, showed more variation in the middle hours, then fell off faster in the waning hours of the contest. All of the bands contributed to this decline; 40M was clearly the best band for the first nine hours, then 80M took over for the last three. It is interesting to note that 20M started off essentially even with 2013, producing 1,000 QSOs in the first hour both years, but dropped off much quicker than last year. Even the 80M peak of 1,500 QSOs in the 01Z hour was down significantly from the 2,100 QSOs produced during that hour in 2013.
Unfortunately, we can only report that 80 of 83 Michigan counties were active during the contest. However, this is considerably better than the 68 of 83 counties planned for on the "Planned Activity" page of the web site just before the contest. The five most active counties were Wayne, Oakland, Berrien, Grand Traverse and (surprise!) Leelanau. Usually, Oakland is in the top spot, but Wayne rose to the occasion this year and by having not one, but two competitive multi-single entries (#2 and #3 overall), often-rare Leelanau jumped into the top five. The five least active counties were Keweenaw, Gogebic, Charlevoix, Oceana, and Iron. None of these were repeats from last year. The first three on the list were the no-show counties while the last two had only one reported QSO each. Keweenaw and Gogebic are two of the most isolated and desolate Michigan counties which are difficult to get to so it's probably no surprise that they are on the list, but the others are more of a surprise...
From the out-of-state areas, QSOs were reported with 53 of the 63 geographic entities on CW, 59 of 63 on SSB and 60 of 63 overall. Compared to 2013, CW was down by four, phone was down by one, but overall mults were identical to the last four years. The five most active out-of-state areas were Wisconsin, California, Illinois, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania. The major change from 2013 is last year's leader Ohio falling off the list all the way to 20th place, while California jumps onto the list in 2nd spot. Illinois and Minnesota swapped positions from last year while Pennsylvania repeats in 5th place. No QSOs were reported with three non-MI entities: Nunavut, Northwest Territories and Prince Edward Island. Of the no-shows from 2013, one station reported a QSO with Newfoundland-Labrador and two stations reported QSOs with the Yukon Territories. It was nice to see these rare regions active.
44 counties were represented by fixed station operations, a drop from 58 in 2013. Every year, our goal is to have fixed station entries on the air from all 83 counties; a feat we've not accomplished thus far. Overall, MiQP entries worked an average of 27.9 counties in 2014 vs. 34.2 in 2013. Michigan stations on average worked 33.0 counties in 2014, up from 41.4 in 2013. The number of counties worked by non-Michigan stations dropped to 22.9 in 2014 vs. 28.9 in 2013. No Michigan counties saw first-ever recorded fixed station entries in 2014, so two Michigan counties remain which have never had a fixed station MiQP entry reported: Ontonagon and Schoolcraft.
No major category records were broken in 2014. However, 10 new fixed station and 1 new mobile record were set at the county level. We congratulate all of the record setters for the effort they put into the 2014 MiQP.
Improved Log Submittals
Two years ago, we implemented a web page for submitting MiQP entries, based upon a page now used successfully for four years by the Ohio QSO Party. With two years of experience under our belts, in 2014 the web page became the only route for submitting an electronic log. In 2014, only a few entrants had problems using the page to submit their entry and required assistance. Only seven logs were submitted on paper, and after these were typed into the computer by Ron, W8RU these were also sent through the web site. When it was time to start the log checking, all 192 entries we checked into the log checking system without issue. This was a huge step forward for the log checking process, and a big help in being able to publish the contest results more promptly. It was not all that long ago, that simply getting logs to this point required six or eight weeks of hand editing. Kudos to all the entrants for using the web site and submitting Cabrillo-compliant logs. And a big hand to MiQP web site technologist Tim, K9TM for authoring the log submittal web page used for the MiQP.
Once again, this editor would like to acknowledge that producing these MiQP results is not a one man show. As mentioned earlier, our thanks go to Ron, W8RU who typed the paper logs received into the computer and to Tim, K9TM for authoring the log submittal page. Also, kudos 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, you’ll 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. The Mad River Radio Club also provides funding to support the Certificate awards.
Mark your calendars now for the 2015 MiQP, April 18-19, 2015 (which will not be Easter weekend :-)). Plan to come join in the fun!
And now, on to the results.