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The Society of Midwest Contesters

When should I take off-time for Sweepstakes?

11/13/2014 – The question came up, when should I be taking my off-time for Sweepstakes.  As a reminder, you can operate 24 of the 30 hours.  For your first break, the traditional Midwest thinking is to operate as long as the rate is decent on Saturday night.  This is usually around 2 a.m. to 3 a.m. CT (08-09 zulu).  You would take off about 3-4 hours, until the East Coast wakes up and then get back on the low bands for those close- in QSOs.  You would then take various 30-60 minute breaks throughout Sunday to break up the monotony.  In the 2013 ARRL November Phone Sweepstakes write-up, they published a graph of QSOs by hour for the the entire contest.  You might want to study this to develop your own plan.  Please keep in mind that this data is for the entire geographic area, and Midwest best times and strategies may not line up exactly with this chart.  Of course, it would be great if we could have a similar chart just for W9!

 Click on the graph to enlarge

ss-phone-qs-per-hourQST, June 2014