Michigan QSO Party
Sponsored by The Mad River Radio Club
|Contest Report By Dave Pruett, K8CC|
Links into this contest report:
2015 was the seventeenth running of the Michigan QSO Party since the contest was revised and streamlined in 1999. In 2014, MiQP fell on the same weekend as Easter and this appeared to pull many participants away from the contest. In 2015, we had an off weekend between Easter and MiQP, and activity in the contest recovered nicely. This can be attributed to several factors beyond the simple advantage of occupying an open weekend. First, the initial offering of the Cabinet Counties award for working the ten Michigan Counties named for members of then President Jackson's cabinet between 1829 and 1833 during MiQP brought new interest to the contest and the state of Michigan. Second, an important long-standing vacancy on the MiQP committee was filled when Mike Rudski, N8MR accepted the position of MiQP Publicity Manager, to spread the word about MiQP and encourage activity, particularly through Michigan amateur radio clubs. Third, we would like to thank the ARRL Michigan Section Manager, Larry Camp, WB8R for his support in handing out MiQP flyers and spreading the word at the hamfests he attended around the state in early 2015. The fruits of Mike's and Larry's effort can be seen in the 164 Michigan logs received for the 2015 MiQP - the largest number of in-state entries in the history of the contest. Finally, the ionosphere gave us a weekend without any serious propagation challenges. Some participants felt conditions were down, but it's hard to criticize conditions that allowed participants to log between 2500-4000 QSOs during all twelve hours of the contest! From my seat at the K8MQP multi-single effort from LIVI county, I made the following observations:
20M seemed to be much more usable, without the absorption that seemed to hamper many paths, particularly to the south.
15M was not the barren wasteland it usually is during MiQP. Three of the Michigan multi-ops stations (K8UNS, K8MQP and KA8O) even scared up VE8NSD for the scarce Northwest Territories multiplier
40M was good for Mich-to-Mich QSOs throughout the afternoon and the mobiles were still workable even after dark.
The QRN on 80M was manageable and signal strengths were very workable but where was everybody in the late hours of the contest?
In any case, here are the numbers. The 296 logs received this year was a nice recovery from the 192 logs received in 2014 and was the fourth highest number of logs in the history of the MiQP. In recent years, we typically have received more out-of-state logs than in-state logs but in 2015 that trend reversed and we received 132 non-Michigan logs in addition to the 164 Michigan logs mentioned earlier.
The table below shows the breakdown of QSOs from the contest. Reported QSOs rose to 37,999 vs. 23,627 in 2014; the fifth largest number of MiQP QSOs ever. The number of unique callsigns appearing in the log entries rose slightly: 2,891 vs. 2,871 last year. Anyone doubting the importance of 40M in the MiQP should note that almost two of every three MiQP QSOs were made on 40M. Activity increases on phone continue to out-pace increases on CW. From the logchecker's chair, this appears to be due primarily to new hams with code-free licenses joining the contest, rather than existing participants abandoning CW. It is interesting to note that the ratio of phone-to-CW is about 2:1 on 80M and 20M, while the ratio on 40M is closer to 3:1.
|Pct of total||19.6%||64.5%||14.7%||1.1%||0.1%||-|
It is informative to view the overall contest in terms of QSOs by hour. The graph below shows the total and overall number of QSOs reported by band for each hour of the contest. Compared to 2014, overall activity in 2015 was better by almost 1,000 QSOs/hr in the early going, barely dropping below 3,000 QSOs/hr for the first six hours - that's half the contest! As usual, 40M was clearly the best band for the first nine hours, producing more than 2,000 each hour, then 80M took over for the last three. It is interesting to note that 20M started off slower than 2014, but held on longer than last year. The 80M peak in the 01Z hour was almost 1,000 QSOs better than last year, slightly better than 2013 also, and even stretched into the 02Z hour.
We are pleased to be able to report that all 83 Michigan counties were active during the contest. The five most active counties were Oakland, Berrien, Wayne, Washtenaw and Livingston. Oakland regained the top spot by virtue of 500 more QSOs. It should be noted that #2 and #5 are Cabinet Counties; Berrien is usually in the top five, but interest in the Cabinet Counties probably boosted Livingston in particular. The five least active counties were Crawford, Oscoda, Emmet, Iron and Sanilac. Only Iron is a repeat from last year. The first three on the list had only single-digit QSO counts, and only one lucky MiQPer snagged a Crawford QSO. The W8K team from Keweenaw and K8ONT from Ontonagon made sure their often-rare counties were not on the list...
From the out-of-state areas, QSOs were reported with 53 of the 63 geographic entities on CW, 59 of 63 on SSB and 59 of 63 overall. Compared to 2014, CW and phone were even, but the overall number was down one. The five most active out-of-state areas were Ohio, Wisconsin, Ontario, Illinois, and California. After falling off the list all the way to 20th place last year, Ohio roared back to the top spot with a lead of more than 500 QSOs. Ontario at #3 is new to the list, while Wisconsin, Illinois and California repeat from 2014. No QSOs were reported with four non-MI entities: Saskatchewan, Nunavut, Yukon Territories and Prince Edward Island. Of the no-shows from 2014, three stations reported a QSO with Northwest Territories all on 15M. Sometimes, CQing on the high bands pays unexpected dividends...
58 counties were represented by fixed station operations, a healthy recovery from 44 in 2014 and matching the previous record from 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 33.4 counties in 2015 vs. 27.9 in 2014. Michigan stations on average worked 41.0 counties in 2015, up from 33.0 in 2014. The number of counties worked by non-Michigan stations rose slightly to 23.9 in 2015 vs. 22.9 in 2014. One Michigan county saw first-ever recorded fixed station entries in 2015, with not one, but two logs from Ontonogan county. Our thanks to those guys for putting their county on the air. This leaves only one Michigan county which has never had a fixed station MiQP entry reported: Schoolcraft county.
No major category records were broken in 2015. However, 29 new fixed station and 6 new mobile records were set at the county level. We congratulate all of the record setters for the effort they put into the 2015 MiQP.
Improved Log Submittals
Three years ago, we implemented a web page for submitting MiQP entries, based upon a page now used successfully for five years by the Ohio QSO Party. Last year, the web page became the only route for submitting an electronic log. This year, as people became more familiar with the process, only a few entrants had problems using the page to submit their entry and required assistance. Only thirteen logs were submitted on paper, and after these were typed into the computer by your editor, these were also sent through the web site. New for 2015 was the availability of support for MiQP on the Web2Cabrillo web site, authored by Bruce Horn, WA7BNM, which allows paper logs to be entered and converted to electronic Cabrillo files which are automatically sent to us. When it was time to start the log checking, all 296 entries were 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 who used the Web2Cabrillo or MiQP Log Submittal sites to get us Cabrillo-compliant logs.
There are a lot of people who contribute to making the Michigan QSO Party a success every year. This starts with pre-contest publicity, to whom thanks goes to our new MiQP Publicity Manager, Mike Rudski, N8MR, and also the Michigan ARRL Section Manager, Larry Camp, WB8R. Helping us to receive MiQP logs in good shape and in a timely manner is Tim, K9TM who authors the MiQP Log Submittal web page which saves your editor oodles of time chasing down and fixing problem logs. We also thank Bruce, WA7BNM for adding MiQP to the list of contests supported by his Web2Cabrillo page that allow entering paper logs for conversion to electronic Cabrillo logs. Also, kudos to Mike, WD8S who recruits sponsors and 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. Finally, our thanks to the members of the MiQP Organizing Committee for their support and the contributions they make to MiQP each year.
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. Not mentioned in this list, the Mad River Radio Club, as sponsoring club, also provides funding to support the Certificate awards.
If you enjoyed MiQP, you should turn on your radios on Saturday, August 22, 2015 and jump into the Ohio QSO Party, starting at 1600Z (noon local time) just like MiQP. Be aware that the OhQP rules changed for 2015, so that the exchange is "RST loc" instead of "QSOnr loc" as in previous years. More info is available on the OhQP web site, with a link to it available on the bottom-left of the MiQP home page.
Mark your calendars now for the 2016 MiQP, April 16-17, 2016 (which should be well clear of Easter weekend on March 27 :-)). Start planning NOW to come join in the fun!
And now, on to the results.