Michigan QSO Party
Sponsored by The Mad River Radio Club
|Contest Report By Dave Pruett, K8CC|
Links into this contest report:
2017 was a difficult year for the Michigan QSO Party. As it so happens every few years, the 2017 fell on Easter weekend. That same calendar provided five weekends in April 2017 and there were suggestions to shift MiQP one week later to avoid the holiday. However, after some discussion within the MiQP committee and polling a number of active MiQP participants, the prevailing opinion by about 3:1 was to keep the 2017 MiQP on it's traditional third weekend in April. Prevailing opinion was that this might mostly impact the portables and mobiles who would ordinarily travel away from home to activate rare or uncommon counties, but since the contest ended at midnight (and thus did not infringe on Easter itself, perhaps activity would not be impacted too severely.
In any case, here are the numbers. The 241 logs received this year were down 11% from the 272 logs received in 2016, but this was still the best MiQP held on an Easter weekend in the history of the event. Reversing the recent trend, out-of-state logs outnumbered in-state logs, 141 to 100.
The table below shows the breakdown of QSOs from the contest. Reported QSOs dropped 42% to 19,573 vs. 33,877 in 2016, while the number of unique callsigns appearing in the logs dropped by only 8%: 2,790 vs. 3,039 last year. Once again, 40M was the workhorse band, however the 7 MHz conditions did not cooperate this year thus 40M bore the brunt of the QSO drop from 2016, losing more then half of its QSOs. Phone QSO totals were hit harder vs. 2016, being down more than half while CW was down slightly less than one third. These two factor combined caused 40M phone to drop from 15,818 QSOs in 2016 to only 5,656 this year.
|Pct of total||32.9%||48.2%||22.8%||1.0%||0.0002%||-|
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. The most noticeable difference from 2016 is 40M, with rates that never matched last year. The band began to drop significantly in the 21Z hour while activity on 80M peaked earlier. 20M also lost a lot of its activity in the late afternoon vs. 2016, while activity on 15M and 10M was even lower than normal. The last hour of the contest produced a little more than 500 QSOs, vs. about 1400 last year.
QSOs were made with 80 of the 83 Michigan counties during the contest, down two from last year - with no real surprises among the three no-shows: Gogebic, Iron, and Missaukee. All of these counties are typically covered by mobile stations, and with mobile activity likely impacted by the Easter holiday (K8IR/m was the only mobile entry this year) perhaps these are no surprise. On the other hand, the five most active counties in 2017 were (with the number of QSOs shown in parenthesis) Oakland (1086), Washtenaw (826), Lapeer (439), St Clair (374) and Wayne (338). Four of these five counties repeat from the 2016 list, with Oakland and Washtenaw swapping the top spot, Lapeer holding on to #3, St. Clair jumping in at #4 and pushing Wayne down to #5. The five least active counties were Oceana (1), Montcalm (1), Gogebic (0), Iron (0) and Missaukee (0). None of these counties were repeats from last year.
From the out-of-state areas, QSOs were reported with 51 of the 63 non-Michigan geographic entities on CW, 59 of 63 on SSB and 59 of 63 overall. Each of these counts were within one of the corresponding number from 2016. The five most active out-of-state areas were Ohio (755), Pennsylvania (721), Texas (627), Florida (567), and New York (537). Ohio repeats as #1, while the others are new to the list this year. No QSOs were reported with four non-Michigan entities: Nova Scotia, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon Territories. Newfoundland-Labrador avoided repeating on this list with 1 QSO.
42 counties were represented by fixed station operations in 2017, down from 60 in 2016. Every year, our goal is to have fixed station entries on the air from all 83 counties; a feat which has not been accomplished thus far. Overall, MiQP entries worked an average of 20.3 counties in 2017 vs. 32.3 in 2016. Michigan stations on average worked 25.7 counties in 2016, down from 38.8 in 2015. The number of counties worked by non-Michigan stations also dropped in 2017 to 16.5 vs. 24.8 in 2016.
With scores down in general for the reasons already discussed, it is no surprise that no major category records were broken in 2016. However, 6 new records were set at the county level by fixed stations. We congratulate all of the record setters for the effort they put into the 2017 MiQP.
The MiQP committee wishes to thank one of our web technologists, Tim Mitchell, K9TM for his contributions to improve our record reporting and adding the EOC records.
Improved Log Submittals
The MiQP Log Submittal page implemented four years ago continues to pay dividends. However, this year we had a few logs that were entered with errors th web site could not catch. For example, we had three logs marked "single operator" but with multiple operators listed so it would appear to be a multi-operator entry. In these cases, both the Cabrillo entry file and the data entered on the log submittal page matched, so the web site let it pass on. This costs the log checkers time e-mailing a query back to the entrant, then waiting for a response before the log can be properly handled, so please take a few moments to check over your MiQP entry to make sure that it accurately describes your entry
Delayed Publication of Results
Creating these results is a very time consuming process. While the log-checking is mostly computerized and with the logs passing through the web submittal site having fewer errors these days, the log-checking is usually done fairly quickly. However, auhoring the web writeup, with all the breakdowns, color commentary and web formatting, can easily take a month or more. We usually shoot to have the web writeup finished and published on the web by August 1st, however here it is late March 2018 already. I know a number of you have expressed concerns about the 2017 results no being published on time so I would like to give you an explanation as to why this delay occurred.
After the 2017 MiQP in April came the Dayton Hamvention in late May. As the current MRRC president, I was heavily involved in planning and executing MRRC activities at the Hamvention, many of which were significantly different with the Hamvention move to the Xenia location. After Dayton, I was invited to join a group traveling to the Bahamas in early June to operate the ARRL VHF Contest as C6ATA. In July I was able to get all the MiQP logs processed and scored, but I could already see I was behind schedule to meet our traditional August 1ST publication target. In late August/early September, I wents on vacation for a week in Palma de Mallorca (what we hams know as EA6). However, I had been asked by the organizers of the Great Lakes HamCon convention to put together a Contest Forum for the Convention in early October, so upon my return from EA6 I had to immediately get started recruiting speakers, etc.. In November, my two favorite contests occur: the phone and CW ARRL Sweepstakes which I operated solo on CW, and assembled a multi-operator team for phone. In December came the ARRL 10M Contest, which I did not participate in, but for which I am a volunteer ARRL log checker. The ARRL's new five day deadline for log submittals compressed their publication deadlines without alerting me, so I had to pretty much work through the Christmas holiday and into January to wrap up the log checking for the 10M Contest in time.
In late January, I had plans for another vacation, this time for a week in Dubai (what we hams know as A6). The day before leaving I started experiencing pain in my feet and joints, and I almost canceled the trip. Instead, I toughed it out and went to see my doctor when I returned at the end of January. He diagnosed my problem as a case of gout. I had some reactions to the medicine he prescribed so I was pretty much laid up for all of February before I started feeling well enough to get up and around. It was early March before I could start working again on the MiQP results.
So now you know the reason that publication of these MiQP results were delayed. I recognize the some of the delays were my own fault (scheduling vacations and taking on too many outside responsibilities) but some were out of my hands (the ARRL 10M results schedule, and getting sick for a month). Nonetheless, I take responsibility for the delay in publishing these results and commit to better plan my time and get the 2018 MiQP results published on time by August 1, 2018.
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 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 Mitchell, 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 supporting MiQP through his Web2Cabrillo page that allow entering paper logs and converts these 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, is the Mad River Radio Club who provides funding to support the Certificate awards and administrative costs.
If you enjoyed MiQP, you should turn on your radios Saturday, August 26, 2017 and jump into the Ohio QSO Party, which is also sponsored by the Mad River Radio Club. OhQP starts at 1600Z (Saturday noon local time) just like MiQP. 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 2018 MiQP, April 21-22, 2018. No, this is not Easter weekend, so let's hope that activity levels settle back to normal, and maybe the band conditions will cooperates.
And now, on to the results: