I just emptied the mailbox and found a QSL from K1QS. Walt called me in the CQ WW SSB last week and I took the time to tell him he was my very first American QSO when I got on HF late 2000. My call back then was ON4CLN. He asked me if I received a QSL, but unfortunately I have been staring at the ‘cfm=N’ field in DX4WIN for all those years.
Walt told me he’d send a QSL card and I anticipated on receiving it via the buro the coming months. But there you go: a QSL direct from K1QS, my first W station ever logged almost 7 years ago. He was my 5th overall QSO on HF. As a matter of fact it was my first excursion on the HF bands.
A lot has happened since but some QSOs you never forget. This is one of those. I needed to QRT to go to work that morning but I believe he called me for a quick one. I was glad to make the QSO – now I’m glad to mark it as confirmed. TNX OM!

The sunrise operating on 40/80m yesterday turned out to be a non-event. I got in the shack at 06.30z which is my sunrise to find 40m and 80m full of USA stations working ARRL Sweepstakes CW. They were quite loud so that’s a good thing on my 80m vertical. I took it down and didn’t find anything wrong. My plan is to look it over next weekend but the WX forecast predicts strong winds and rain. WW CW approaching and WX declining fast – sounds like a repeat of 2006. Oh my!

Anyway with the lower bands showing no activity for the Ukrainian DX contest I went to 20m and had some rate. Then off to 15m where I didn’t manage to get rate but got called by YC1KAF, HS0AC and 9M6XRO. I even managed to call ZM2B and log him without repeats. Great! Then it was time to do an urgent repair in the house and quit the contest with just over 500 CW QSOs. Funny: a not too serious period in a small contest using CW gives me relatively more rate and contacts than SSB in the biggest of ‘m all (CQ WW SSB).

Interesting and enjoyable reading I found through 3830: the 8P5A story in CQ WW SSB 2007.

Don’t expect any updates soon. My holiday is over and I’m back to work so the level of radio activity will be quite low the coming days (weeks?). Who’s reading al this anyway???

I’ve been playing on 17m lately and I must say the band seems to improve. Solar numbers don’t tell yet it feels better. I worked LU / W / HS on 17m one day at about the same time and the next day got into W6 with at least a dozen true W6 (QTH = CA). All this with 600W or less and my rotary dipole at about 9m high around 1600utc. 17m is a great band – I like 30m a lot too. And I’ll start loving 12m when SFI allows.

This morning I fixed my 80m vertical and made the vertical part 2m longer. While my hands were dirty I did some jobs in the house too. Then off to the shack. First impression: there is something wrong on 80m. SWR almost flat over 200kHz. Before I had a nice dip covering about 100kHz with 2:1 SWR bandwith. It feels something isn’t right. I played a bit in Ukranian DX: on 20m, 40m and stayed up long enough to type this ànd get on 80m.

Normally I don’t have to repeat but this time even EU stations ask for a repeat. So there is something wrong on 80m! Yet I get called by US stations as far as Texas (on their grey line). And I got called on 80m by a 8P and a VP9 – so maybe it isn’t all that bad? Still I need to check that 80m antenna before CQ WW CW in 3 weeks.

Jerk of the weekend: SN5G. Around 23.50utc I am called by a K2. He wasn’t very strong but I could copy him easily because there was no QRM. No QRM, until SN5G fires away without checking. Away goes the DX. I still managed to work the K2 and engaged in a frequency fight but I let him have the frequency – "be the better man" and let him be the moron. Wonder if he got called by 8P and VP9   ;o)

Almost 2AM local here so I’m off – CU at my sunrise – that is in less than 6 hours   :o)

Yesterday I processed a batch of buro QSL for OQ5M. It has come to the point
that I find this a complete waste of time and money – both invaluable resources for expanding my station and make contacts. Now there is still a
pile of incoming cards left for OO5ZO and ON5ZO. Those will be paper cards
until the stock runs out and then I’ll switch to the GlobalQSL service. The
price per 1000 cards is about the same as having QSL cards printed but I
don’t need to buy/print/stick labels and sort/send the cards. Clearly a
winning service for people like me. Don’t get me wrong, I like QSL cards but
the volume has become too big.

Today Jeff KE9V blogs about Morse Myths. That’s a topic
of interest to me, being a CW fanatic. I guess the most silly myth must be
that CW on the amateur bands is dying. Sure, commercial morse has been
abandoned in favour of more ‘modern’ ways like satellite phone etc but on
the ham bands it is alive and kicking, rest assured. The strange things is
that it is mostly hams that don’t know or use CW are the believers. Anyone
who tunes in the CW subbands knows better. Most and best DX always pops up
in CW, it is THE mode for small stations with a limited setup (PSK? yuk!)
and to me it is a vital part of the hobby.
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I’ve been reading 3830 closely over the last day and three things really strike me.

  1. There are a lot of guys basicaly telling the same thing as I did: too wide signals on the air, and IDing with ‘QRZ’ is annoying.
  2. There are some claimed scores reported by easy mults that I completely missed (A45WD, FM1HN, WP2MDG, KL7RA and probably more). Some of these were actually M/x so I wonder if they did some S&P and if so if they care to work non-mult 3-pointers as well? I can’t imagine they would not have heard me. I’ll give KL7RA the benefit of the doubt on that one, of course!
  3. For my own league: how do you pull THIS off? Yet I didn’t work him. Strange…