I’m glad to report I have now worked all W1AW portable states with IA (Iowa) being the last one this week. So my qualification for the “Worked all States with W1AW” award, all the territorial stickers and the plaque is finally finished. 🙂
To celebrate it’s Centennial ARRL’s (American Radio Relay League) headquarter & Hiram Percy Maxim (ARRL founder, pictured left) Memorial station W1AW was active twice from every of the 50 US states as well as the District of Columbia and most of the US overseas territories like KH0, KH2, KH8, etc. during 2014.
I had missed quite a number of those activations at the beginning of this year so had to hurry to catch the missing states during the second round. The most difficult one has been HI (Hawaii) with W1AW/KH6 last week. Condx were very bad and the path goes directly over the North Pole. With Aurora condx almost every day and running relatively low power (a small KPA500 with 600 watts … compare that to all those Italian amps ) it was a real challenge with generally very weak signals and all of Europe calling (and really bad pileup discipline ). Furthermore openings were short: 20 m was open between here and Hawaii for just 50 minutes daily and only 20 mins with reasonable signals, i.e. more than s1 or s2. I heard them one day with up to 57 on 20 m SSB for about 10 minutes but no chance at all. But I was lucky enough to catch them on 40 m CW as well as 20 m CW & RTTY. That RTTY QSO also provided my last missing state for the “Triple Play WAS“. 🙂 Calling 1 kHz above the pileup was key on RTTY (they simply could not decode anything with all of Europe calling at once) while on CW I was fortunate to recognize they moved their TX frequency during transmit up 1 kHz to get away from the simplex pileup and start all over with split. Luckily nobody else recognized it that moment so with 2 or 3 callsign repeats (Did I mention weak condx already?) I made it into their log. 🙂
All in all it was great fun chasing the W1AW portable stations throughout the year. I worked them on over 500 band/mode slots (might provide some more detailed statistics later on). To be honest this activity was the reason to switch the radio on so regularly on my side. Without it I’m sure I would not have been as active as was the case this year. So thanks ARRL and thanks all you great W1AW portable hosts and operators!