From its roots in 1998 as the West Coast Triple with K7FFF, K6FFF and WA7YYY, the Third Annual Coast-to-Coast FISTS Clubs QSO Party has expanded to an amazing 56 clubs participating this year. In fact, some clubs got their numbers just days before the event started. I received e-mails from FISTS members telling me about unknown clubs who didn't know about the event. Just a week before the event, David, K8III e-mailed to say that W1AW was a club. Two hours before the start, I got an e-mail from the Redmond Top Key Contest club asking me to get a club number! Well, even I can't move that fast.
Since I can't put up antennas here at our condo anymore, Casey Bahr, KS7J (now NA7U) invited my wife and I to spend the weekend at his place to work the contest. His lovely wife Tamara and their two children were very gracious hosts and we felt very welcome there. Perhaps we will be able to return the favor in the future.
By all accounts, the event was a bang up success. We started out right on time and were on the air for most of the time. The winner in the individual category was Bill K8FLY who outdistanced the individual FISTS members with 1911 points.
Some of Bill’s comments, “Well talk about exciting news! I knew I did well, but sure didn’t ever expect to possibly get that lucky! I had a total of 55 QSOs, a few rag chews along the way from some newer members as well as a few from fellow FISTS members that I’ve gotten to know over the years. I have always been a rag chewer first then a FISTS member. I sure can’t say enough thanks for all the clubs that took the time to participate ....... what a growing group we are!”
One club that must have been awake all night was W4FCR, the FISTS QSL Bureau Club. Stan and his gang slammed dunked the winning club score with 41 clubs worked and 18 additional QSOs on different bands for a total of 2378. Stan, K4UK, wrote some comments on behalf of the three operators, himself, Riley, K4ORD and Bill, W4BOT.
Here are some of Stan’s comments edited for brevity. “We split up the bands so that (we) operated mainly 20 Meters and ….40 Meters. …..around 1430 UTC….after many (15M) CQ's (Stan) was finally answered by Arve, SM6FFG in Vallda, Sweden. Arve is not a member of FISTS but they had an enjoyable 30 minute rag chew. Then Stan called Bill, W4BOT and told him 15 Meters was open. He also sent an e-mail off to Geo, G3ZQS suggesting that he get GX0IPX on the air on 15 Meters. So, then by golly at 1829 UTC (Bill) was "thrilled" to get FISTS # 1 from Geo at GX0IPX. And later Fred, G4HWK #6470 at 1847 UTC. By far the best bands were 40 and 20 Meters. We were disappointed that there was not much activity on 80 Meters. However the opening of 15 Meters provided some real fun for Bill, who is new to "contesting" and he told me it was one of the biggest thrills he has had in his 50 years of ham radio.”
Geo, who operated #1 club station GX0IPX, commented that conditions were very poor on 15 meters. “In fact, the wheels came off after about 30 minutes and by that time, 20m was nbg due to the noise level.” I’ll leave it to your imagination what “nbg” really means! Hi hi
Three clubs participated from “down under”. ZL6FF, VK2FDU and VK4RC. Judging by what I saw in the smattering of logs I received, propagation conditions were not very conducive to contacts either with Europe or New Zealand and Australia. But I will say many thanks for the hard earned contacts that they provided. Canada was represented by a few clubs most notably VA7TRS operated by John, VE7NI. John had 78 contacts with participants this year. Many thanks to the Canada clubs.
Robin Faulkner, the man behind the fabulous certificates, has done a wonderful service for the Coast-to-Coast event. The certificates are better than any other I have seen. They are printed on a cloth-based paper and the printing really stands out. Almost a 3D effect. To date, Robin has issued 52 certificates.
With more than nearly 80 scores entered in the database, I'd say that C2C 2003 was an unqualified success with lots of activity both slow and fast. It was interesting listening to the ragchews that would occasionally develop between the clubs and members. I heard one member mention that this was the first contest he'd entered and was having a blast. Darron Sanchez, WA5TCZ was one of those who are just getting started. His score of 928 was very commendable for a beginner.
I look forward to next year's event as many of you do. I personally will be getting two more clubs registered and I hope that the trend continues. The more the merrier!
Paul Beringer NG7Z
Chairman C2C ‘03