Before the contest: the usual story. Workload and bad propagation made for a low level of enthusiasm. But I wanted to get on and make a few contacts. My plan was a casual SB40 so on Friday evening I mounted the vertical. I’d go unassisted. Just park and call CQ. I’m only in this one for the fun so no chasing mults, no maximizing the score, no S&P, no SO2R. Only one man and his F1 button (or ‘enter’ for that matter with N1MMLogger’s ESM). The goal was to relax for a change…

I got up on Saturday at around 04.00 utc which is 06.00 local and after breakfast and watching the rerun of the late night TV news I made my first QSO at 04.54 utc. Not much going on and I got bored pretty soon. One hour later I quit with 73 QSO on 40m. I went outside and started some work in the garden.

By noon on Saturday I returned to the shack to give it another try. Where to go with the tower not up and the tribander only 9m high? 20m? 15m? Why not try 10m? Much to my surprise I discovered 10m was full with quite loud signals. Full being up to 28060. Loud being S7 or more. Hey: SFI = 68 and it’s ten meter! I parked on 28061 and launched a CQ. In little over half an hour to lunchtime I made 64 QSO on 28 MHz. I ate lunch and went back up. I had about one hour until I had to leave to the city to get our picture taken. We both need a new ID card as the old one is about to expire and we need to apply with a picture on a special format. So bye bye ten meter with 201 QSO logged. I expected to get back at around 15.30 utc so that would leave me with a closed 10m band. Or so I thought…

At 15.44 I came home and ran upstairs. 10m still alive and kicking! Woohoo. It became clear that SB40 turned into SB10 and I started what would become the fastest hour in the contest. Between 1600 to 1700 utc I logged 110 QSO amongst whom 3V8BB for a nice DX mult. On 10m! Right now! How sweet… I worked a dozen more at 1900 utc but that was it. I called it a day. I wouldn’t return on 40m because I already took down the vertical. There was a threat for T-storms and who needs 40m anyway when you’ve got 10m  HI.

Sunday 05.30 utc. 10m already alive! Mostly local stuff but half an hour later a first loud UA9. Great! The rate was steady and some more 3 point DX called from within a 5000 km range (UA9, EX, 4L, 4K etc). At 07.58 utc regular HS0AC called me. On Ten, remember: SFI = 68, bottom of the cycle. Orgasmatic! The pace picked up a bit with EU stuff and the occasional UA9 but bingo again at 10.17 when HS0ZCW called. Nice DX but too bad not a new PFX. My hopes were high: what’s next from the East? Less than 4 minutes later: YB0ECT. Yes! VU2PTT continued the amazement this morning and at 11.04 it was time for yet another surprise. VO1MP with my 5el for 28MHz pointed to 90° which is about 150° out of his direction. It wasn’t a big signal but very workable and an easy multiplier. And very early in the morning on his side! I turned the beam to 300° (W / VE) but in vain… A couple of minutes later with the yagi back to 90° it was E21EJC who surprised me. A nice and totally unexpected DX cake on Ten so far but it needed a cherry on top… JA6WIF took the honor at 11.26. I couldn’t believe it: a JA on 10m… Should you need remembering: SFI = 68, bottom of cycle 23! He was weak and turning the beam slightly into his direction sealed the bargain.

I went on until 11.40 and then I ate and we went out for a bicycle ride. There was an event held on several locations throughout the village here and we went from stop to stop. Since I wasn’t into this contest very seriously I decided to do the XYL this favor. Nevertheless I was very glad to get home because a) my bottom hurt because I’m not used to sitting on a saddle for over 3 hours and b) I wanted to work USA on 10m and now was the time! So back in the shack at 15.13 but the band had lost it by then. I already had 600 QSO on 10m. With SFI = 68! Bottom of the cycle! Did I mention that already? I decided to move the beam more west away from W / VE and got called by two PY in a row. Then D4C called me. What a thrill to have that followed by a UN and TC (=TA) on the back of the beam.

Before shutting down I wanted a quick run on 20m. My guess was that USA would be eager to work the OQ5 prefix because I hadn’t been on 20m yet. But I only worked a few and they were weak. K3ZO was hardly S6. Go figure. I made 89 QSO on a disappointing 20m and threw the towel. I skimmed (no pun intended!) 28 MHz another few times in the course of the evening but nothing happened. I’m sure I would have worked one or two W’s if the tower had been up. The catch of the day:

Band      QSOs    Pts  WPX
     7      73     174   59
    14      89     167   40
    28     614     722  301
Total     776    1063  400
Score: 425.200

I’ll submit SB10 HP unassisted with 217 322 points claimed. When writing this 3830 has already disclosed a top claimed in this class of more than 800k by RW2F. I guess it’ll be a ‘1st ON’ paper once more. It was fun to make some contacts again after a long period of inactivity. I hope to do a full option effort in IARU, I hope the K3 will be here and working by then. And I hope to put up the K9AY loop. Lots of hopes…

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