This is an interesting genre of contest which exists in a number of states. The object here is to “work” all 254 counties — or as many as you can — by making contact with mobile stations. Some hams contest from home stations, some from mobile stations, but the object is to contact mobiles. Here is a map of our planned route in the 2009 contest. And for an interactive Google map, click here.
Jennifer will be driving and I will be operating and logging contacts using our freshly configured mobile rig.
Why is this called the Texas QSO Party? ‘QSO’ is ham-speak for a contact, a conversation if you will. In the Texas QSO Party (TQP), as mentioned above, the object is to contact as many mobile units as possible, in as many different counties in Texas over a 1-1/2 day weekend. Those contacts are quite brief, seconds really, as the object is quantity and not a chat session.
I will log my contacts using the very fine program by Chuck, NO5W. In addition to logging contacts, the program tracks your time and distance (approximate) to the next county crossing which requires that you lay out those crossing points. I’ve done that and you can see the points on a Google Earth map which is depicted in the jpeg above.
This is done by having a GPS tied to the computer, and the CQ/X program reads the GPS and also controls the radio. By using a boom-mic headset and a footswitch for the push-to-talk, my hands are free to make radio adjustments and log the contacts. The program will automatically include the pertinent county in the log entry.
It’s the perfect melding of all of my favorite hobbies. Now if it were only via kayaks!