Finally some action. Last QSO logged was in RDXC more than two months ago. I told myself: no targets, no stress, just fun. I didn’t even set up the tower and low band wires on Friday and I decided to have a good night’s sleep. I did that on Saturday and the XYL noted that setting up goes fast. Yes I know the routine by now. I took off the 160m wire and reduced the dual band GP to 80m only as WPX has little or no 160 activity. Even 80m is often neglected as would be the case again in this one.
With being away from the bands for so long it shocked me to see the SFI dip below 100. That has been a long time. My guess is it’ll only go downhill from here and the best years of cycle 24 are behind us. Too bad because contesting is so much fun when 10m and 15m are hot. Oh well, nothing we can do. My guess is that I’ll be doing more single band efforts the coming years. Especially in SSB.
I operated like in my early days ten to twelve years ago. Off and on. Except I made 1900 QSO now instead of 300 back then ☺ Ten meters was a big bust throughout the weekend. And I didn’t make much contacts on 80 either. There was not much happening there, as predicted. Which was convenient because the dreaded QRM was very active again making copying almost impossible. And while listening through it trying to put the callsigns and serials together, I almost got a headache. And -touch wood!- I never have nor had headaches in my life. I REALLY need to find the source of the QRM and deal with it. I can detect it on 15 deep down but it doesn’t limit copying weak stations. But it is a pain on 20m especially on phone. That’s where I first discovered it, in CQ WW SSB 2014. It is very strong and annoying on 80, where I can only copy the S9 signals and it is killing 160 too. I seem to remember it kills 30m too but I’m shocked to see my last QSO there dates from November 8th 2014. Wow, I really need to prioritize and get back to the shack more often!
The QRM is not a problem on 40 so I tried to get some rate there. But it was not a big hit, just a moderate success. Since things slowed down and fatigue too over, I just went to bed. And overslept for sunrise. I tried 80 again just after sunrise. With the streetlights out, the QRM is gone. That’s a link I found earlier. But there was not much DX on 80 so back to 40 for some more six pointers. From then on I took longer breaks. Breakfast and lunch with the family. A nap. Etc.
In the end I reached 1900 QSO and decided to quit. I briefly said: “2000 is within reach” but that is a target and targets bring along stress and stress is no fun so I flipped the switch and called it a day. I had a few +100 hours and one clock hour of +140. Good enough. Everything from tower to shack works and I still copy callsigns and serials up to 45WPM or so. I like the WPX format a lot. Every QSO is probably a multiplier. And I did more S&P than ever before. Always nice to find an unspotted sweet DX station. I said it before and I’ll say it again: it’s the best hobby in the world. I hope to have more free time again soon to enjoy it to the max.