Midweek update

I just spent my sunrise on 80/160. Only some EU on 160m and K5 / Oklahoma on 80m. Also a W2 on 80m but I had trouble copying his callsign. It seemed that every time he sent it, he had another callsign. A quick try on 15m yielded a bunch of UA9 but nothing more (and EU Russia too of course). I just took the 80/160m antenna down (see last week). I’ll now try to make things more permanent. Of course all this will have to wait until after this weekend’s CQ WW SSB.

Last weekend I tried the new antenna in the Stew Perry Warm Up. There was very little activity. The SP contest itself is little known outside of the “Top Band Fan Club”. It’s a CW only contest where points are calculated depending on the distance between two stations. The exchange is the 4 digit grid locator. A fun concept and a fun contest if you have an antenna for 160m. I first tried it last winter and it was fun. They held a ‘warm up’ contest this past weekend but like I said: not much going on. I only made 25 contacts of which only 3 DX (K1, K4, K9). Now that I checked: I made 139 QSO in the real SP last December of which only 9 Americans. Now there’s something to work on this year!

Last Friday I even tried some 20m SSB and worked about 30 American stations. Lots of unsolicited and unanimously positive comments on my audio. Good to know for CQ WW. Saturday I had a modest JA run on 17m. I listened for K4M (Midway) on 30m. The operator worked stations in a steady pace and K4M had a fair signal. And for once, not a real mess on the QRG. If only he would have sent his callsign. I listened for over 10 minutes (!) without him signing once. It was only a matter of time before the situation got out of control. People started sending ‘?’ or ‘DX? DX?’ resulting in the usual ‘UP’, ‘QSY’, ‘LID’ etc. Yet another once-in-a-decade DXpedition that I didn’t work. I don’t even mind. Now my focus is on CQ WW CW (long term) and CQ WW SSB (short term). And I’m also looking forward to more fun on the low bands this winter.

Last Friday the missing RIT control knob for the K3 arrived. Contrary to my nature I was relaxed about the missing part and had all confidence in the Elecraft after sales department. A simple mail and a couple of days later, the knob is on the front panel. Now only to get rid of the remaining TS-850…

UPDATE @ 09.00 UTC: I tried CQ’ing on 15m again and got called by a dozen Japanese stations, two Chinese and a BV. That’s over 9000 km. The JA’s were between S5 and S7, the BV was S5. Is this a sign of better things to come or just a lucky shot? That said, my 2.4GHz new wireless mouse and keyboard (remember?) work great anywhere from 1.8MHz to 21MHz. I went looking for that last Friday. The store carried several from different brands but no set clearly stated ‘2.4GHz’ on the box. Except the expensive MS (won’t mention the brand unless they pay me HI) set. I didn’t want to ask because I’m sure the store clerks are not the sharpest knives in the drawer. I guess it’s safe to say they wouldn’t know what I’m talking about. So I gambled and spent over 100 Euro to buy the combo that operates on 2.4 gig for sure. All is working fine so far and I took away the old mouse and keyboard with its ferrite, aluminum foil and copper shielding.

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