CQ WPX CW 2018

Planned: serious SB40 effort. Executed: not much…

First problem: a meeting got scheduled on Saturday morning. I had to attend that and I needed to be sharp. This meant I could not spend the night from Friday to Saturday in the shack. Exit SB40. The meeting lasted until after lunch and I didn’t feel like listening to weak signals on the higher bands Saturday during daylight. So I prepared and sorted out some stuff for next week’s field day. Yes FD: it’s that time of the year.

I accepted an offer to visit a friend in the evening. By the time we got home it was about midnight, it was still hot and I left my cables unplugged. Unplugged because we had a few thunderstorms the previous days. This also killed the OT70 fun during the week. It helps that I made 5000 QSO in 20 days with the OT70-calls. The thirst for CW contacts was quenched. So I didn’t feel bad about not being part of the contest.

Sunday morning 4 AM local time. I wake up but sleep was victorious over contest. 6 AM: contesting wins. I get up, go to the garage to attach coaxes and control cables and I start running. The rate was good on 40. Even with the tower only up to 15m and the little 500 W amp. Even without a spot on the DX cluster! I’m high up in the band and the rate is +100. After a spot the rate jumps up but above 7060 is too high in the band for people who start tuning the band hopping spots from 7000 upwards.

Later on I find a clear spot around 7010 and being low in the band helps. Rate goes up again and the DX finds me. Stuff like HR, P4, VP5 and z3 Americans… After 0600z (8 AM local) the QRN builds and I check the lightning maps. Sure enough a few strikes about 30 km S-W of me. I decided to bring the QSO count up to 300 and call it a day. I closed down and went outside to unplug cables and wires again. I really hate that. Not so much the unplugging but the constant threat of thunderstorms. This time it was a brief shower with some roaring in the background. But the spirit got broken and I didn’t return to the shack. Apart from a short but intense shower around lunchtime, it remained calm and dry.

In the afternoon we went to attend an event in the kids’ school. I’d have dodged that for a serious contest effort but given the situation I just went along. It was boiling hot! The refreshment booth was selling like… Actually no one was in the mood for hot cakes. Around 6 PM local time we got home and had dinner on the terrace. Dark eerie clouds were roaring and we finished just in time for the rain and the mandatory lightning.

My plan was to do a few more casual hours for fun but I’m surrounded by thunderstorms so even without an actual threat here, the QRN will be strong… Around 01900z the immediate threat around my QTH seemed gone so I figured: why not? But the lightning map showed thunderstorms in a 50 km range and all over Europe. I just didn’t bother anymore. I made a little more than 300 contacts in just under three hours.

Today, Monday early morning I had an hour to spare. It was the same time I has working DX one day earlier. Only this time my CQ remained unanswered apart from some EU and a lonely but loud HK7, a weak VK and a ZL2 giving S5 on the meter. With propagation numbers (SFI and K) slightly better than the day before, the band was just empty on this weekday. Even on phone. Contesting indeed brings out the mass activity…

Next up: Fielday IARU Region 1. Lots of stuff to be done…

One reply on “CQ WPX CW 2018”

Hear you during the fieldday.
I am operator of ON6CK/P from 21.00 till 01.00 local time , same category as you.


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