Gentlemen… start your transceivers!

I am not really know as a ‘SSB lover’. To say the least. But I do enjoy a good contest. So that’s why I limit myself to a single band (SB) effort in CQ WW SSB. For four years in a row, I did a SB20 effort. I want to try something different this year. Tired of 14 MHz. So I set my mind on SB40. I know… and people didn’t stop telling me either. In WW SSB, 40m is hell. In fact I hate it. But what are the options when you want to avoid SB20? Last year 15m was hot. I was on the wrong band then. But who could have seen that coming? And will it be like that again this year? Better stay way from 15/10m for a while to do SB in major contests. SB80? That would have been my second option. I’ll leave 160m to the specialists.

I was bullshitting away on the WWYC chat yesterday. A couple of days ago I announced my SB40m effort while kidding about western EU splatter. Since 15m shows life lately and CT1ILT reporting ‘big signals’ on 15m late at night, I was leaning toward SB15. Zoli HA1AG summed it up like this: I would do equally ‘good’ on SB40 (with western EU splatter, where he quoted myself) and SB15 (where I would be listening to CT1ILT working DX while I won’t hear a thing). Zoli meant: stay away from 40 (since I have no big antennas) and 15 (since ON is not a good location).

At that time I was also having an MSN conversation with K7GK. For the second day this week, he tried talking me into SB80. For reasons already stated. After reflecting HA1AG’s words, and K7GK’s opinion, I settled for SB80. I already considered that myself but K7GK convinced me. All I needed to do was adjust the 80m antenna to make it resonant on 75m (SSB part of 80m). This afternoon, it took me half an hour to remove the 80/160m antenna, pull up a resonant (3750 kHz) antenna and bypass the MFJ tuner. That was easy. Then I added a single K9AY loop but without switchable direction. It’s aimed to the USA ‘short path’. I set up the K3 for diversity reception to listen to the TX vertical and the RX loop at the same time. I still need to thank Theo ON4ATW for the low band hardware he kindly sent to me last winter. I tried some stuff I had in stock last year but couldn’t hear a thing. The ferrite core and terminator resistor Theo donated to this Low Bander In Need seem to work just nice. It took me about one hour to assemble all hardware and put the K9AY loop in the air.

Then I ran USA on 20m for about one hour. Some good signals but in my memory it was better the previous years. Unless everyone was on 15m HI. My annual CQ WW SSB warm up on Friday afternoon. The only time I try SSB outside of a contest. The band seemed to die around 16.00 UTC after a period with severe QSB. Now some TV, some rest and maybe some sleep and then: SB80. No goals, no targets (maybe some target but I won’t disclose that), no stress. Only fun allowed. CU on 3750!

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