EUHFC 2012

This year no useless studies about tower height for better EU coverage.

This year not messing around with low dipoles for better EU coverage.

This year just plug ‘n play with the low band verticals which work anyway. So Friday afternoon I went into the field next to me to put up an extra elevated radial, like I always do before a contest. I thought of wearing my long working pants to stroll through the high grass but since the sun was shining I just kept my shorts on. Bad idea: something must have bitten me on the lower shin. It was hot and I was sweating which in turn drew the attention of some other nasty insects hoovering around my head.

So it was warm and sunny when I started to crank up the tower. When this was done, I jokingly told the XYL that within half an hour the sun would be masked by dark clouds, a shower would pour down on us, strong winds would rock the tower and maybe, if I attach all cables, even some lightning would be seen over the QTH. Well, I was wrong. It wasn’t half an hour. It was fourty five minutes. Since I decided to plug in the cables on Saturday, we dodged the lighting. Yes, that’s how Belgian summer works for ON5ZO. But there was a shower and there were some wind gusts. I should be the local weather forecaster: “Nice weather except on contest weekends or when doing antenna work”.

I had set a target of 1200 QSO and 350 000 points. Since it was clear that Ten Meters would yet again disappoint and that the low bands in summer are not easy… I managed to maintain an 100/hr average over the first 9 hours. Then a sudden thunderstorm passed over me. All this crappy weather always comes from the south of me (the French!) but the shack’s window gives me nothing but a northern view. So all of a sudden there it was: dark skies, a massive wall of rain falling down, trees swinging, terrace furniture dancing and some flashes. It only lasted fifteen minutes.

In the mean time the bite on my lower leg started bugging me. It hurts, there is a dark spot in the center of a red circle about 7 cm in diameter. The circle feels like a hard disk (2.5″ SATA 500GB 🙂 ). It gives me a nasty pain in the leg but also makes me worry. I need to follow this one up, normally I never develop these things when an insect (or spider?) bites me. Or maybe I haven’t really been bitten before? BTW I noticed there are a lot of spiders in the trees this year.

Anyway I had troubles staying focused. It was warm in the shack and I was dozing off, even with the last hour meter well above 100. By the end of the contest I lost attention and dreamed away with the finger on the enter key, repeating endless CQ but most of all flooding the keyboard buffer. This hangs the PC and there is no alternative to pushing the reset button. Then Windows asks me to skip the tests which I can’t. The USB wireless keyboard only responds when the driver is loaded for which in turn Windows must have booted.

As always it seems that with two hours to go the casual ops go to sleep. Good for them but this leaves the full timers without stations to work. I found 160 poor this time. Not many stations there. On 80 I was thinking: “What on earth will we do on this band next week?”. WAECW, remember?

Another EUHFC for the books.  Glad to see my friend ON4IT sticking around to the end with me. But you probably worked him as OP7T. Let’s do it again next week. PSE QTC?

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