WAE CW 2014

Rather: NO WAE CW 2014.

I was going to start with the expression ‘You can’t win ‘m all‘. Which is inappropriate because I haven’t won any DX contest. Apart from the UBA DX contest. But no DX-DX contest. Sometimes you have to let it slide. No matter how bad you want something. There are these days or contest weekends when the stars are not aligned.

The week leading up to WAE CW this year was incredibly hectic. And without going into detail: emotionally loaded. Both in a good way and in a bad way. And of course the forecast was not helping by using phrases like ‘warnings for parts of Benelux mainly for tornadoes, large hail severe wind gusts and excessive precipitation’, or ‘parts of Benelux and Germany mainly for severe wind gusts’. That was for Friday night to Saturday. One might argue that forecasts are what they are but I must say that the sources I usually consult have been pretty darn spot on over the last eight months. I have always lived by the adage that it’s better to be safe than to be sorry. So I decided to keep the tower where it was: cranked up one level. And sleep the first night to let the bad WX move on. A good night sleep is well spent off time.

Saturday morning I took my time to get into contesting mode but it was only the ‘light’ version thereof. I finally made it into the shack by 6AM UTC. Forty was empty but I had some pretty good US signals on the 20m band. KU7T, one of the N1MMLogger dev team was my first QSO and good for 9 QTC right away. Woohoo still got this QTC thing mastered with no training. Regular contester and WAE specialist N3RS was next with ten QTC.

I played for about two hours but then the fun was gone. Why? Well: what to think of the following lingo for Sunday? ‘Tornados may be produced from embedded mesocyclones in a linear system or from discrete supercells ahead of the line. An isolated strong tornado may occur’. Don’t ask me what an embedded mesocyclone is. But I do know a tornado. The simpler yet official WX pages (not some panic spreading bozo) talked about bad weather and strong winds and possibly thunderstorms. They had it right for Friday evening. There were two local events with lots of damage caused by extreme and sudden wind phenomena. Tornado or not, it was predicted and it did occur. Granted it was hundred kilometre away but still. The warning was general. So the forecast for Sunday combined with the mood I was in, made me decide to quit. I went outside to work on a construction project. That helped me to unwind just a little bit. Later in the afternoon I played for two more hours on a very disappointing 15m band. Last QSO was K7RL at 1658 UTC and good for another batch of ten QTC. But the band was miserable. At least I got the impression.

By this time I had established four things:

  1. The latest update for the new N1MMLogger soon to be published made for a working QTC interface. I owed it to N2AMG to test it after all the hard work he successfully did.
  2. The sun offered us what seemed to me a sneak preview of what’s to come. Forget 10 and be glad to work at least something on 15.
  3. My brand new shack PC seems to work.
  4. I was not in the mood for contesting.
  5. Maybe a fifth thing but that’s off the record: It might be time to have my eyes checked and wear glasses to look at computer screens. OFF THE RECORD. Totally.

Before sunset I took the tower down and disconnected all coax and other cables. It was a calm night (of course!) and rather a nice morning (of course!). But as Sunday morning turned into noon the weather quickly deteriorated. The wind picked up speed and gained in force and in the late afternoon it was so windy I was glad the tower was down. Not that it would have suffered damage but I wouldn’t have been comfortable with it. Apart from the strong wind at my QTH, there were severe thunderstorms over the country again. And Sunday evening another outbreak of what the media call a tornado but what weather experts describe as something else. Tomato – tomato.

Even as I type this two days later thunder is roaring over my head. For the second time today. I just heard on the radio that a huge festival tent blew away 100 km east from me during a sudden gusty storm burst. I think I’ll have to migrate this into a WX blog.

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