It’s been a long time since my last post here. It’s been a long time that I actually made a contact. ARRL DX is a fun contest and it’s always nice to work USA regardless the band and mode so I decided to play. Nothing serious, just for fun.

I was a bit disappointed by the poor conditions on 160. Caribbean stations were quite loud but of no use in this contest. Late December and early January were pretty good from here to the East Coast and even deeper into the country. But this time signals were weak. Also on 40. The big guns didn’t rock the S-meter as they normally do. I was quite pleased with how 80 played. Fifteen was not good but I thought it would have been worse so I was glad to work a few states beyond the 6000 km range there. There was nothing to be heard on ten meters. Down and out with 28 MHz I guess. That leaves twenty meters as the ‘money band’. But openings are not that strong anymore and the path between the West Coast and here is definitely shorter that a few years ago. C’est la vie.

I was glad to work John K3WWP again. I have been following his QRP adventures for a loooooong time. More than fifteen years, possible more. At first I heard someone calling but it was a weak signal. The K3 prefix, the QRP-feel of the signal and the persistence to keep calling lead me to believe it had to be K3WWP. Bingo. Sure enough John mentioned our contest contact.

I took a break on Sunday evening when twenty faded. My plan was to return for the last hour of the contest to run 40. But I fell asleep and didn’t bother to return to the shack. I ended up with just over 1200 contacts. I didn’t operate much because I wasn’t in a competitive mode. But it was fun when I was around.

Not much more to say. Just quoting myself from last year’s write-up:

It has now become clear that no spot means no rate. Period. People just hop from spot to spot. Many times I called CQ for a few minutes without answer. At last someone finally worked and spotted me, and then you work a few dozen stations in a few minutes until the effect wears out. Then it’s slow again until the next spot.

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