SFI > 250 or bust!

Contesting is my thing but the magic of radio has always been my first love. Not knowing what was going to happen. Sending some current down a cable into a wire or aluminum tube and hoping that someone far far away picks up the E/M wave to convert it back to an electrical signal. And then repeat this in reverse direction.

I had a week off after CQ WW SSB. I still have a lot of small jobs to do so I had planned to finish many of these after the contest. But I had so much fun in WW SSB and propagation was (surprise!) not too bad so I decided to leave the tower up for the week and just don’t do anything that is remotely close to ‘work’. I did lengthen the 80m wire to bring resonance back to CW and pulled up my 30m dipole as a slanted vertical dipole. After all WARC bands are my favorite go to outside of the contests.

It’s not that I spent many hours in the shack. But I went there when I felt like it. Mostly late in the evening or early in the morning when everyone in the house was already or still asleep. And mostly on CW of course. Propagation was indeed not too poor the first days. Here and there some contest-expeditions were still active and switched to CW. And I managed to work 3C1L for a new one on 40m. Too bad this 40m contact doesn’t show up in their online log. It was an easy QSO though and I clearly heard it right. One late night later in the week they were very loud on 30m. He was working around the world. Mostly JA but a reasonable bunch of EU and NA in the mix. It was after midnight and I wanted to sleep. I tried for a long time but no luck. I did hear many nice DX in the pile up. Proof that the band was wide open. But my CQ yielded next to nothing. So later on I called 3C1L some more but again: no luck. I think I spent almost one hour and a half in there calling. Ninety minutes of my life that I’ll never get back. I haven’t called a DX this long in ages. Who cares about DXCC anyway. In the end I went to bed.

Friday morning I had to leave home to run some errands. 3C1L was QRV on 20m this time. So I delayed leaving the house. But all it took was just one call. Sweet. Three elements one wavelength high and the DX only 5000 km away: what could go wrong? Luckily this QSO is listed on Clublog. It’s been a long time since I logged a new one.

But wait, there’s more. Thomas OZ1AA signs /4W. I heard him on 15m. Not too loud but given his antenna (pics online), it was amazing that I heard a signal from 12 000 km away on 21 MHz at this point in Cycle 24. YANO – yet another new one! I worked some more DX: quite a few VK9’s active and I managed to work two. Even one on 15m SSB. Yes SSB ☺.

On Wednesday November 1st I found that propagation was declining compared to the previous days. I called CQ on 30 at 11 AM utc. Nothing came back although RBN did show my signals quite beyond EU. Suddenly JF1IRW calls me. With a fair signal. Too bad no one else answered so I QRT’d.

Sunday morning I decided to make a few contacts in the Ukrainian DX Contest. The counter stood at 299 when the bell rang. I planned to lower the tower after the contest (all that work has to be done some time) but I saw a cluster spot for VK9MA. One for the road then? With the yagi still high in the sky, it was a sure shot. Not a new one, but still good DX.

That was fun. I hope for a calm wind-free end of the year so I can keep the antennas up. I really can use some RF-therapy!

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