WAE CW 2009

It has been quite a while since I did a serious full time effort to put down a good score. I wasn’t planning on doing so either this year. Face it: WAE has everything to be a stupid contest:

  • Yet another contest? Again?
  • Summer propagation: lots of QRN on the bands.
  • Summer season: why not go to the beach?
  • Only DX to be worked. With these conditions?
  • Low rates and not too many DX active, only the usual suspects.
  • QTC? What QTC?

However I like WAE CW a lot.

  • Yet another contest? Hooray!
  • Still plenty of DX to be worked. I worked PY and LU on 80m, as well as W/VE and numerous others on 40.
  • I hate the beach.
  • Copying CW QTC makes up for the lower rates and is a fun thing to do.

I set myself a modest target: 300 QSO, 500 QTC and try to be Country Winner for Belgium. I needed to regain the fun in contesting, especially after what happened in EUHFC the week before. Still finding myself without an antenna for 80m and 160m, and still no control cable for the 2el 40m switched array, I wasn’t sure what to do.

I woke up on Saturday and looked at the online DX cluster. I didn’t have the feeling I was missing too much. The XYL and I left for a day trip and we returned by 15.00 UTC which is 17.00 local. I had made up my mind. Crank up the tower, put up only one vertical dipole for 40m, make the 80m wire from the week before a little longer. No 160 in this contest so I didn’t need to worry about Top Band. At 16.11 UTC I was in the shack and ready to roll. I missed out more than 12 hours already so no need to plan any breaks, just rock ‘n roll away.

Less than 9 minutes later I was already copying QTC. Luckily NY4A was willing to hand ‘m out this early in the contest. I stayed on 20 and much to my surprise a lot of DX stations were already giving QTC. The years before you got a standard ‘LTR’ or ‘QRU’ before Sunday. I tried 15m but it wasn’t a big hit.

I can be brief about the rest of the contest. I slept a few hours at night. Later on I tried 80m which was very disappointing. It wasn’t the antenna this time. It was a noisy summer 80m band with lots of static and QRN and not too many stations QRV on 3.5 MHz. At night it was 40m that provided the contacts and during the day it was 20m. I tried 15m off and on and on 10m it was even worse than last year. It was good to work a VU2 there, and being called by P43JB was the cherry on top. I managed to work K1LZ on 10m with the beam slightly off bearing (260° i.s.o. about 300°). N3RD was very weak but we managed. NN3W called too but the QSB drowned the weak signal completely. JH3PRR was V.E.R.Y. loud on 40m. I think I heard him on 80m and a VK3 there too (after seeing both spotted), but nothing workable so I didn’t waste any time there.

I dug it out to the end on 20m, the band that was open to the very end. Some stations kept coming back to get rid of their QTC. Bring it on boys! I appreciated N4YDU’s effort to get some more QSO’s and then return to give me a series of 10 QTC. I guess Nate wanted to make up his “SRI – QRU” some moments before. Not shooting the messenger here but he sent me a QTC with OP4K who handed out QSO #678. I hope Joe didn’t work too many QTC, otherwise my Country Winner target is not met…

I had a great time and I’m totally relaxed after an enjoyable contest. I topped my targets. Fingers crossed for OP4K…

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