Just a short note for the records…
I was very tired starting the contest. I didn’t recover from the ARRL CW contest the week before as on Wednesday I got ill which made for sleepless nights and nauseous days. The virus spreads around and it was only logical that I would get it too.
The lousy propagation didn’t help either. I had good rates on 15 but 10 was nothing. When K4BAI called in on 15 I had to move him to 10. He was loud so it could work, I know he copies CW so he’d understand my ‘PSE QSY 10?’ and I assumed he’d be willing to make the move since he’d be playing in this one for fun. And so I got my K mult on 10. There would follow three more USA’s on ten meters but better safe than sorry. I tried the same with a VE but that didn’t work out. So no VE on 10 and not even on 80! Bummer because I got spotted there by VE2GU…
The rates were around 100 averaged over the first hours but that soon drops to 70 when the daylight bands close and you worked down the initial pile ups on 40/80. I have noticed this for a few years straight: it’s pure chaos. I like it very much that there is a modest pile up. And I like a few 150/hr periods. But the problem is that the rate drops significantly because there is total chaos. I RIT about 150-200Hz up to listen on the sides of the pile up so I copy smart ops and non-zero beat stations. But the folks just DO NOT listen to whom I’m returning. While I could work ‘m all really fast of they cooperated, I just need to repeat partials over and over again. The worst is this scenario: I copy a LY2 and a slightly weaker UA3:
[many people calling but no LY2]
me: LY2? LY2?
[less people calling]
me: LY2? LY2?
[no one calling anymore]
me: UA3? UA3?
And THEN UA3 answers but is QRM’ed by LY2 who now decided to answer, so I’m back to square one: two calls over each other, rendering full copy impossible. People are rude and especially some big gun Eastern EU just think they can blast away anyone. Some people might not copy CW apart from their own call, others just don’t care and have a ‘me me me first’ attitude. And I’m only a simple Belgian station in a small contest. What if you’re a double mult in CQ WW?
I see ‘DX code of conduct’ endorsements everywhere but I tell you: it’s useless. It’s the way society works today: no time to smell the roses, stress, hurry up, impatient, me-me-me-first, minimal effort for maximum result, I want it ALL and I want it NOW. You see it in stores when you go out shopping, you see it in traffic and thus it infiltrates in our hobby too. No I’m not a great philanthropist. Never was, never will be.
And so the contest came to a slow period. It was time to try something new: duelling CQ. Fun to see the RBN listing spots on alternating bands each time the CQing band toggles. But this contest doesn’t really have the right format for that. Serial numbers and a loooong exchange from my side (serial AND province). A lot of fills are needed because casual CW operators don’t seem to copy 5NN 1234 VB at 32WPM (not even at 30 for that matter). But it kinda worked and with tailored CQ messages and come practicing, I see many periods in smaller contests where this might be useful. But soon even this didn’t produce enough rate so I went to bed for a couple of hours. In the morning I had a rush on 20 with UA9 and to my surprise even JA. Even on 15 I worked quite far. Ten meters did only open for EU with light signals and the occasional DX to the far east.
And so ends this year’s UBA DX CW. It was fun but it could have been better if the sun would have cooperated. My guess is that I will have the best score in the 24h high power category. I’m not aware of anyone else as a single operator having done the full period (or most of it). Participation from ON side will have been low. You Majesty, there just aren’t a lot of CW contesters in Belgium. 73 Your Highness!