An all time new one on the air. A pretty rare one too. I’d like to work it but I don’t like spending much time in unruly pile ups. My time is too valuable to get frustrated on what should be fun and relaxing. So I closed a deal with myself: no SSB since I only work towards CW DXCC and not too much chasing band slots. One or two contacts will do. I’ve been spending too much time in the shack already over the last two weeks and a half and I need to get some work done!
I had tried to work them on 30m during a lull in the ARRL DX SSB contest. They were loud even way past our sunrise. The operator showed INCREDIBLE skills. He ID’d almost after every QSO, working only EU at a fast pace. Really: the rate was incredible and he picked full callsigns out of the mud most of the time. Only seldom he had to come back with a partial call. I don’t know who he is, but RESPECT for this guy’s skills. At one moment I figured they were feeding the mega-pile up into a local skimmer so the calls were on display for the operator to pick. I hope my daring and of course utterly imaginary suspicion triggered by envy of this operator’s skills is false. Boy this guy knows how to work a CW pile up! I’m not easily impressed but this guy… WOW!
But the QSO was a no go for me. My self imposed time limit was over. A spot appeared for 40 CW and I managed to work an all time new one pretty soon after the QSY. The op here was very good too. And the signals were very loud for being 10k kilometres away. I guess having the antennas near salt water and a path that goes over sea mostly is the key to success. When the DX is in Central Africa on the equator, things tend to sound differently here.
So now we’re Monday morning. I’m having a day off from work and my plan was to lower the tower and start working in the garden. It’s cold (-2°C) but sunny and a blue sky. Lowering the tower is a must to keep me focused on all the work I have to do and keep out of the shack. But then there’s TX5K… After bringing the kiddos to school and day-care, I fired up ye olde amp and PC. Wow, 07.30 utc and they’re LOUD again on 30. A snappy operator, and most of all what I was counting on seemed to be the case: much less IDOTS (sic) on frequency. It’s a deliberate typo, since on Saturday and Sunday there was a self-appointed DX cop sending ‘IDOT’ over the DX when some other screwball was QRM’ing the DX. Anyway: with less of these clowns QRV (maybe they do have day jobs?), things should be easier and maybe less frustrating for yours truly. I couldn’t get through today either so I went to listen on 20 CW. Again: loud! A few calls was all it took for QSO #2. Almost no fun (almost!). So back to thirty meters since it was a case of now or never. I’m really reeling the wires in and crank the tower down this morning.
I knew it was a matter of time: the signals were loud, they were focusing on EU, the pile up was not that big, the operator stepped on the gas so everything was favouring me. They could of course always leave 30 and QSY elsewhere. But after I guess about fifteen minutes, I managed to work QSO #3. That makes 40-30-20 CW. That’ll do. I can now lower the tower and not wonder too much about Clipperton.
Great expedition, great signals, great operators, great hobby of ours!