Finally some action!

Saturday evening the forecast predicted a calm night. Little chance of rain and nothing mentioned about T-storms. I was watching Shutter Island on TV but the movie didn’t appeal much to me. I was always thinking: what would the bands be like? I opened the laptop and peeked at the online cluster. What? EU still spotting SA on 15? Off TV, on K3. But first go outside and reconnect all cables.

The CQMM contest does not appeal to me for the contest itself. No: it’s the fact that you work tons of SA DX and of course it offers tons of prefix goodies for the UBA Prefix Hunt. One of the things that strike me in WPX contests: Brazil and Argentina are the horn of plenty when it comes to prefixes. Good for my PFX score. First signal: XQ1KZ on 15, 23.00 local time, sounding like the proverbial local. ZP, YV, OA and dozens of PY and LU. Yummie! Some USA but it’s late for that part of the world with the yagi 90° off. Then again on 20m and a few on 40m. For once I almost exclusively do S&P. I don’t want to run because I want to avoid too much EU. I already do enough contests like that. This time it’s the DX I’m after.

I come across YW5PI on 20 but this seems to be an expedition and not in the contest. So I put it in the DX log. At 22.38 there is a loud VK2DX on 15 long path. Worked him like a breeze. The sudden rise in SFI shows! I look him up on QRZ. Something I almost always do when I call CQ outside contests. It gives me something to read during the contacts. VK2DX is a man with a plan: he wants to make at least 100 DX contacts every single day during 2012. Wow, note to self: work him as much as you can. I decide to check 30m but QRT soon after. WX indeed is calm and online weather maps don’t show showers in the wide surroundings. Off to bed…

Sunday moring and not too much going on. Maybe today I can snatch 9M0L on the higher bands? I worked them easily and mostly by accident on 40 CW when they just started 10 days ago. I didn’t even know there was a Spratly DXpedition! On the higher bands either I couldn’t hear a thing, or the pile up scared me away (or I was QRT due to the WX). After lunch I could hear them on 12 but the band was QRM’ed by some radar woodpecker. Still I got through (tried before in the morning but no luck) but the op copied OQ5A. Tried to correct that and listen through the QRM and I was pretty sure to hear him correct to OQ5M. Done! Then try 10m. That went fairly easily. As anticipated because the yagi works great on 10 and it’s currently 1.5 lambda high. A sniff of QRO helps. That’s two QSO in fifteen minutes! In the mean time the cluster starts showing complaints of missing QSO especially on 10m…

Around this time there is a fair opening on ten meters to SA. Fair but certainly not fingerlicking like October 2011. So after a thorough sweep I head off to 15m again. I spent some time with the family and around 20.00 utc I wanted to do a final check of the bands. Better not make it too late: the alarm will ring early on Monday! Fifteen is not interesting anymore but I work a lot of new prefixes on 20 and some on 40m. There is a spot for 9M0L on 15m. I QSY and turn the beam. Strange: I hear him call CQ three times in a row without anyone answering. After that my yagi shoots straight at him and I send my call 1 up et voilà: never thought it could be so easy. 9M0L 15 CW: check! I see that VK2DX calls CQ (viva Reverse Beacon Network!) on 40 CW and jump in to work him. 2% of his QSO in the last 24 hours are made by me  HI. It’s getting late and I launch a CQ on 30. I work only EU apart from a weak JA5 and a couple of semi-weak Americans. Time for bed.

I check the 9M0L online log on Monday. The QSO on 15 is there but 10 and 12 are missing. OQ5A pops up only on 12m CW so chances are the op did not correct my call in the log although I thought he did. He gets the benefit of the doubt because of the radar QRM. Still my very experienced gut that almost never lets me down, tells me it was ok. There is absolutely no excuse for me not to be in the log on10 meters. I clearly heard him sent OQ5M three times after I asked to confirm. In the mean time I hear more grievances about missing QSO. As I am typing this on Tuesday, ON7RU tells me his missing 10m QSO is now online and I immediately check. Yes, it is there. But my 12m QSO isn’t. I hope they’ll fix this – but how? Do I have to send an email or what? I have no experiences with NIL for DXpeditions, except for XR0X in 2002 where two locals heard me work them (we were on the local VHF talking away) but I wasn’t in the online log. QSL manager N7CQQ never wanted to let me know if it was a busted call or not. “Just send your QSL card and we’ll see” he replied to my email. Yeah right, me sending greenstamps to receive my own card back kissed by his ‘Not In Log’ stamp! Or does it take Dollars to get him to check the log for a busted call? I don’t know how a QSL manager works and at what rates.   ;o)

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