Running nose, feeling flu-ish, a severe cold, being tired. Add to that a lot of work that needs to be done and has been done. I’ve been fighting for almost three weeks but I lost the battle this week. Doctor’s prescription: rest and sleep. That’s about the only thing I did the last couple of days. Always a good cure for any disease is some ham radio. With the sun finally boosting the SFI to well above 90, that might be a surprise. This afternoon I played some 17m CW. I called CQ and a VK6 answered right away. Cool! I worked a lot of USA there too. Nothing special except the signals were WAY UP compared to what I worked lately. And even stations from Oregon and California well above the noise. Some peaking S9. But the DX cluster was spewing out EU-NA spots on 15m SSB. I checked the CW sub-band but nothing to work there. So contrary to my own likings I took a mic and tried SSB. It’s not that much fun but I wanted to be above 18MHz for a change. I heard CA on 15m SSB but didn’t bother to call. I had a nice chat with W1STT (boy was he loud on 15m!), one of the YCCC officers and it turns out we have a mutual friend in W1EBI. Then I tried to run the band but I gave up for dinner. SSB, it’s just not my thing. “Microphobia” is what I call it. Proven once more.
During dinner my cell phone rang. The display showed a prefix pointing to the USA yet an unknown phone number. Turns out the YCCC kingpin W1STT sent a note to W1EBI about our QSO and the latter took his phone and gave me a call. That was a nice surprise! We had an enjoyable non-RF QSO… make that non-HF QSO since cell phones use RF after all. George talked me into the CW Operators’ Club a while ago and he reminded me about the monthly midweek contest activity. I forgot all about that (re-read first sentence) but it sounded fun and I told him we had a date in 90 minutes. My only hope was 20m being still open to USA.
For the first time in my career I did a contest outside of the weekend. I started listening around 14020 and heard a loud station giving the right exchange. What a coincidence: a loud W1EBI. We worked like we have worked numerous times over the last years and I decided to run the band. The rate was slow, of course. Once in a while I scanned the band but only heard 2 calls that were already in the log. I worked 20 QSO in 1 hour. Only two of those were non-USA: ZS1EL on the back of the beam and VX2AWR. I think there were a lot of ‘small pistoleros’ out there that I couldn’t copy. Snowfall caused some QRN too.
All in all a relaxing few hours in the shack. Just what the doctor ordered. I might be back next month for the CW test.