Although it’s one of my favorite contests, it seems it is haunted here. Mostly bad WX. Even the XYL spontaneously brings up this parallel between contest weekends and bad WX. This prevents me from cranking up the tower or makes me want to stay inside in stead of deploying the temporary low band antennas. This year it was not different. Very nice WX up to Friday. On Friday the wind came with some rain to boot. Prediction for Saturday was more and stronger wind and some T-storms. Add to that the fact that I’m very tired because of a recent change in the familial situation. And organizing all the stuff that goes along with it. So there were many reasons not to participate and do a full time all band effort. No low band antennas because of the weather, no energy to make it through the night. But contesting is so much fun so I decided to do SB15 Mixed Mode. This way I did not need to put up more antennas and I could get some sleep. I told myself I’d start on 15m and stay there. If that didn’t work out I’d just quit the contest and not revert to 20m. When 15 is closed, 20m is too much of a mess and I’ve been there all too often.
I can be short about the contest. I was active for about 10 hours spread evenly between Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. I had quite some fun and conditions seemed good. Sometimes it felt as if the band was more open than there was activity. Maybe people still give up too fast? I must admit that when I’m SOAB and the rate is too low, I also QSY to a band that offers a bigger rate. But I’m sure there was more to be worked if more people were there. Especially on Saturday afternoon. The band was open to NA and the Caribbean but there was little activity.
Maybe ON is
an ideal a good location for RDXC with the UA target zone? Right skip on the higher bands and not too far for the low bands. That seems especially true on 15m. I could work DX until late on Saturday (19.00 UTC). Then I quit. There was some lightning over the QTH on Saturday night so I went outside and unscrewed and unplugged all cables going into the house. I hate doing this because on Sunday I had to go outside and connect everything back again. In stead of getting out of bed and dropping into the chair right away, I needed to go outside. Sunday’s propagation was good to the East. Some Japanese stations called me in both modes and they were loud. JA, VK, ZL, YB, BY and the likes: worked easily in both modes. Huge number of PY stations on the band. They were all very loud. On Sunday I came across a dozen non-UA stations in SSB that spoke Russian which seemed to work quite well for them. Apart from the language benefit for them, I often could not find out whom was running because I don’t understand the Russian phonetics. The rate was good at times but not extraordinary. I set my mind on about 600 QSO so I’m glad I passed the 700 mark. I’m also glad it’s 57% CW versus 43% SSB. For a CW operator that doesn’t like SSB, it’s quite an accomplishment. I’m glad I did it this way in stead of completely bailing out. Although SOAB is still my preferred way of contesting in CW. Maybe I’ll be SB15 next week too (WPX SSB).