Happy BC Day – Happy HF day. Thank you BC QSO Party (BCQP)

Written by Joseph – VA7YJJ

Most countries and their administrative regions have a HF day know as a QSO Party Contest. Orcadxcc.org initiated the first BC QSO Party contest in 2012. In 2014 I did my first contest with them and since that time I have done it almost every year. It is usually held the first weekend in February.

If it was not for that Contest I would not be doing HF radio today, more about this at the end of this reminiscence.

I got all Amateur radio licenses in 2009 (basic, advance and CW). I know how to pass exams but don’t be fooled, I knew nothing about the real world of amateur radio. An old 1980 HF radio was given to me but it took me 4 years before I made it work. I asked the old guys in town to show me how to work it and they all told me we don’t do that anymore and I should buy a new (used) radio which of course they were eager to sell me for too much money. I went home, put the radio in the box and that was it for HF stuff for me – for the moment. Amateur radio was not my preferred hobby but provided an insight into a mysterious world.

Hamfests, however, kept me connected to the HF amateur radio world. I needed a variety of testing equipment for my other hobby projects. At the time, one item I was able to acquire for only a few hundred dollars was a complete electronics lab typical of the 1980 lab . The capability of these units was good enough for what I was doing; as a side bonus, I learned a lot about radio. My excitement grew. I opened the box, twirled the knobs in chronological order knowing what I was doing instead of “let us see what that do” and then voila, that ghost became alive and I smiled. I used it until I got an Icom 7300 which I bought just at the beginning of COVID.

I occasionally do phone HF radio e.g., once in awhile I check with BC net. The BCQP is my favorite. Amateur Radio is a liberal art, meaning, you make it what you want it to be. Contesting is one aspect of it. For me, it’s like the collector of art. I am after callsigns, certificates with different flavors. And like any collection, whether it is ships in a bottle, old watches or whatever, it has value only to the collector but otherwise the collection is very much an useless thing. So at the end of this blog there is a photo with my collection of certificates from my BCQP world. I am proud of it. There is something very unique about the BCQP and that is, the extensive report that VA7BEC, Rebecca writes about most of the aspect of the contest in terms of participants, band conditions, sections activation and more. That kind of reading intrigues my mind and that is the main reason I have kept doing that contest (other contests do not do that). Have a look at the 2023 report here: http://orcadxcc.org/content/pdf/bcqp/2023_BCQP_report.pdf

Now earlier I said that “If it was not for that contest I would not be doing HF radio today”. It’s the truth. It’s because I wanted to improve my participation on that contest that I bought a brand new Icom 7300. The old 1980 radio works but is very slow at tuning and has limitations. With my new radio which is digital ready, I discovered FT8, the HF radio for the 21th century for callsign collectors. And now I want to explore VaraC for HF. It is like having Discord on HF and I believe that is where the new generation of HF operators will be found.

I hope IslandHF will, sooner or later, be the leading participant in those Brand New Waves of HF. Have a look here: https://islandhf.ca/index.php/2023/07/30/the-brave-new-waves-of-hf/

Happy BC Day to All, Joseph VA7YJJ

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