The last week of 2009

The last week of 2009 started with the last weekend. We got two very nice CQ contests going. Stew Perry on 160m only and the Russian RAEM contest on the other five bands. I must admit that almost five days after these contests, I don’t remember much anymore. No booze, no drugs, just a few hectic holidays. Stew Perry learned me that my 160m antenna might be resonant or rather matched to 50 ohm but not a real DX magnet. It wasn’t easy to get across the Atlantic this past weekend. I stayed awake and in the shack Saturday night for RAEM to begin at 02.00 UTC which is 3AM local. Before that I hung out on 160m in the Stew Perry contest but it wasn’t a real success. I took a rather slow start in RAEM too so by 04.00 I took a nap and was back again about 2.5 hours later.

It seemed to me that although there was more non-UA activity than last year, overall activity dropped. Still RAEM is a fun contest with a real exchange (001 50N 04O for me). Like QTC in WAEDC CW you actually need to copy something. Scoring is based on distance and there are no multipliers. I like this a lot. I worked a ZL1 which was a real score booster.

Other than that, it has been calm on the radio. Yesterday I tried 160m at sunrise but again: nothing but some EU. On 80m I worked a few USA and then at 08.00 UTC I moved to 30m which gave me 40 minutes of JA. I needed to ask EU to QRX repeatedly. No offense but I’ve had it with DL, OK, SP when I’m just working the bands. I can work those 24/7 on all bands. Stations like mine need to seize every occasion to work ‘JA ONLY PSE’ when the opportunity comes knocking.

I repeated the same routine this morning. On 160m I was talking to myself. ON4UN got spotted a few kHz away and I went to listen there. He called CQ and got no reply so it made me feel confident. If a lot of power, big TX antennas and beverages every 30° don’t cut it, my station won’t get through either. Then K0IR answered him and was S7. Aha, life that I can hear. So back to CQ’ing but after a while I forced myself to go to 80m because I only warmed up the shack with endless CQ’ing. It was better on 80m with a bunch of East Coasters and Arkansas. Then at 08.10 UTC I tried the JA path again on 30m. First caller was a ZL1 that sounded like a DL. He was so loud I thought it was a DL1 but it was a real antipodal QSO with S9 signals. Then a bunch of JA but obviously the JA operators were partying for the new year rather than working DX on 30m. Can’t blame them. QRT and off to party too. CU in 2010!

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