Tis the season to be… drowning!

Nothing jolly about this season here. Almost as warm as a mediocre spring day, there’s always the strong wind and rain rain rain. There were flood alerts yesterday, go figure. Last week I decided not to raise the tower completely because of the strong gusts. Last Friday I wanted to do so in order to put up the 80/160m antenna but the forecast predicted even stronger gusts. Jolly! OK then, just put it up as inverted L on Saturday? Oh my, it started raining Friday night and it stopped somewhere in the night from Sunday to Monday. I had to take out the garbage from kitchen to garage, that’s about two times a seven meter stretch. My head was dripping from the rain when I came back in. More of the same depressing WX is predicted. G4ILO set the mood to “SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)”.

So why do I need an 80m vertical? RAEM – the best thing next to CW QTC in WAE. A CW contest with a REAL exchange: serial number and lat/long coordinates (001 50N 04O for me). I’ve liked it ever since I discovered it a few years ago. Last year I wrote “I might as well go for a full time effort then” with ‘then’ being now. This year this event didn’t coincide with Christmas eve/day. But as the WX hindered me from putting up the 80m vertical I found myself very low on motivation to burn the midnight oil. I got up around 0600 utc and soon had a ball on 40. Two hours later I had to pull the plug: somehow I couldn’t copy CW anymore and was making a mess of things. SAD acting up? I set the alarm to go off one hour later but slept through it and woke up in a nice warm bed at 10.15 utc. I went on to the end of the contest with a fresh head and ended with a lousy 300 QSO. But again this short lived effort sucked all the energy out of me and looking out of the window didn’t help either. I really hate this weather and I can’t stand it when it lasts too long and no improvement is in sight. Low on sunspots, low on sun rays. Last week I even considered an African excursion!

I played a bit on 17m too this past weekend. Conditions seemed worse than SFI indicated. Lousy propagation was my impression. Only a few W6/7 in the afternoon. I smiled when 7P8ZM called me though. I only had one occasion so far to try the afternoon SS/SR path on 30m between ON and W6/7. I only worked a handful and the signals weren’t ‘armchair copy’.

Last night I tried the ON-W1234 path but there wasn’t many activity on 30. There was an A6 that was loud and easily worked and he was working a batch of Americans but I couldn’t hear much of them if anything so I decided to call it a day and went to bed after a long and dark, wet day.

Today I left the shack for what it is and I rose to the occasion: it was a dry day (still dark and cloudy though) so I ran errands and cleaned the sewer entry in front of the house that had been clogged overnight with debris the raging water took from the land to the street’s gutter. The soil is saturated and each additional rain drop just makes for muddy waters sliding down and into the gutter. The XYL and I were dreaming of a white chritsmas when looking at SJ2W’s winter scenery until a rattling window screen and raindrops hitting the window woke me up. “It’s raining – must be Belgium”  Merry Christmas!

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