A short report for the sake of history.
There is not much happening in ON5ZO Radioland right now. Because there is too much happening in the real evil world. I caught a flu early February and it was a nasty one. I needed more time than anticipated to recover from that one. It was followed by a severe cold. Just my luck. And I couldn’t stay home ill to recover because in late January I decided to quit my job (don’t ask) and start over somewhere else mid February. As expected, that professional move isn’t easy to digest. And the immediate result is a temporary (I hope so!) increase in workload and stress. I have a hard time dealing with changes. And so I decided to skip ARRL DX CW. Too much work and running low on fuel. I was exhausted. And my first day at the new job right after this contest? Didn’t seem a good idea.
Last weekend was ARRL DX SSB. I feel much better by now but once more I decided not to participate. It was the first dry, warm and sunny weekend in a loooooong time. After months of rain and grey weather, it was time to let the sun do its magic. Not the ionospherical magic but the make-me-happy magic. The whole family enjoyed a weekend in the open. Work as well as play. Fifteen degrees or more so I went out in style: wearing shorts, my favorite garment. By popular request we closed the weekend with a modest improvised BBQ. The warmth and the sunlight and all the work done gave the moral a boost. Probably more than a SSB contest could have done.
In between these weekends was the UBA DX CW contest. Still tired and with a lot on my mind, it was more a moral duty than a pleasure. With heavy winds predicted Saturday night and Sunday morning until right after the contest, I decided not to crank up the tower and change the 24h plan to just 12h. I had to go somewhere Sunday afternoon which meant no time to put the tower down after the contest. Furthermore I knew I would be home late so I planned a few hours of sleep in advance instead of pulling an all-nighter. I didn’t even turn on the big amp. That would only be RFI-hell with the antennas so low to the ground and right above the shack. I ran the contest with the 500W amp. And on 80 I used a ridiculously low dipole with the feed point only 8m high. I took the SSB dipole and added the right amount of wire to shift resonance down to CW. I tried moving two Americans from 40 to 80 but it didn’t work out. No W mult there. Propagation was so-so and the dipole too low I guess. Nevertheless I’m pretty happy with the result considering the low position of the aerials. Almost 1000 contacts in under twelve hours with the tower down. I didn’t even operate the full period. Before the contest I briefly contemplated trying QRP for a change but I chickened out.
I hope to be back 100% in RDXC. I finished 5th World last year. And QST shows me on #8 World in the IARU Contest 2014.