Two weeks of QRX was enough. Time for some shack-attack. No time or energy for a full time effort, which I never do in SSB contests. But I planned to have some fun on 15m. After all, conditions were perfect when I was last active (February 18) and I read fantastic reports on 3830 about the 15m conditions in the ARRL DX CW contest. Too bad I couldn’t do that one. I cranked up the tower on Friday and prepared everything in the shack but I didn’t make a single QSO. So I had no clue about what the bands were like. On Saturday I started around 13.30 UTC. That’s late but it was a ‘just for fun’ operation and I was planning on sticking to 15m.

Soon I learned that 15m was poor. Marginal signals and not too many. Even the guys who are supposed to be S9++ were hardly S7 at best. So I went to 20m. That band once again was very crowded. That’s what you get when the other bands are closed and everyone lands on 14MHz. I tried the same on Sunday. I worked one or two stations from Florida on 15m who were S9+20dB. So I tried running and running and running… but I hardly worked a thing. So once again I made 20m my playground. And once again 20m was the ‘wall of sound’. I quit when I had 500 QSO on the counter. That’s 460 on 20m and 40 on 15m, roughly.

I’ve been getting quite some fan / hate mail lately. Angry mails from people telling me I shouldn’t list the calls of stations who spot themselves in the UBA contest. And this came in right in the middle of a 20m run last week:

Every time there is a contest, it never fails that the ham operators from Europe, who are participating in that contest, will pick a frequency very close to 14.300.00.   You choose 14.300.50.  Are you aware that this frequency is used during emergency’s?  Are you aware that there was a net running on 14.300.00 at the very time you were calling for contacts?  I would ask you to request from your fellow ham operators in your area, and the surrounding country’s, to give the frequency of 14.300.00 at least 4 Khz’s of space.  Would you do that for me?
With Warm Regards, <name>
<K2 area call>(relay for net control)

Was I aware there was a net running on 14.300? Yeah sure, and the signals were so earcrushingly loud that I chose to move up the full half kilohertz. DUH! And please remind me next time before a major SSB contest that I personally make a phone call to everyone who will be active in the contest, that they reserve 4 kHz of space around 14.300. Better make that 5kHz guys. Just to be sure.

I did work a brand new one yesterday. A V6 on 30m. I have never worked a V6. I know it’s only semi-rare but most V6 I remember was either in SSB (don’t care) or on the low bands (can’t make it there). He was quite loud and I worked him after 3 calls or so. My magic band, 30m. QSL is via some OM2 and QRZ says he uses LotW. Great! This morning I was listening to a ZK3 on 30m. Solid copy there too. The operator was a W7 and he was working JA at a big rate. I didn’t work him because I got called away. So I don’t know if he bothered to listen for EU, but it would have been another all time new DXCC for me.

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