I am not a major amateur radio contester, but if I hear a contest in progress I will sometimes join in to give away a few points and to keep up my skill level. Occasionally, I will even submit a log.
So it was last June that I heard stations calling CQ Contest on 6m. A quick check of the contest database, which I have on my iPhone, gave me the rules for this SMIRK contest (http://www.smirk.org.) Conditions were good so I worked a few stations, sent my log off to the organisers and thought no more about it.
To my surprise, this week I received an envelope postmarked Pennsylvania and inside was a certificate confirming I had won first place in England! I checked the web site and sure enough, there I was. Unfortunately, I was the only station from England to submit a log which rather took the gloss off my achievement, but this is the only time I have ever come anywhere near the top of any contest so I don’t feel too bad about the lack of competition.
My 6m station is very modest – FT-817 running just 5 Watts and a home-made non-rotatable dipole, fabricated from some old 22mm copper pipe in the loft. But even with this, I can work all over Europe and occasionally beyond when there is a good E-opening.
So, it is worth entering contests even with a very modest score, and thanks to the SMIRK 6m club for running this event.