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Merry Christmas Ho Ho Ho

The tower is down and family visits are scheduled so not much to do
around the shack. RF-wise that is because I just cleaned the desk,
vacuumed the floor and gathered a pile of odd QSL cards to process
(SWL, NIL, returned etc).

Maybe now is the time to look at some recently published contest results?

First up: Russian DX Contest. Very enjoyable contest especially from here with my setup. This link
shows that I’m #17 in the World CW HP class. Nothing to be proud of
really. I got bothered by nasty WX, I needed to take down the antennas
at about 0800 local on Sunday making me lose valuable operating time
and leaving me with a yagi only 9m above the ground. March is a very
unstable month when it comes to WX. I seem to remember only wind during
RDXC from 2002 up to 2007.

WX is the red thread though my contesting activites. I have a
telescopic tower that I can’t deploy when the wind blows too hard. That
tower also supports some low band antennas. Bad WX has bothered me from
CQ WW CW 2006 throughout CQ WW CW 2007. It wasted a 24h effort in both
the UBA contests. That turned out quite OK as I won both SSB and CW
parts in HP 12h category.  So in 2008 I can nail 2 extra plaques on the
wall.    Open mond

Then RDXC – see above. Later on I didn’t even bother to show up in WPX
CW 2007. May was a horrible month with heavy rainfall and continuing
strong winds. WX was very good for ARRL DX CW but I had work to do
around the house so I only put in about 10 hours in that one.

Only the summer contests were quite OK. That is: IARU and EUHFC (more
on that later). WAECW was a drag because I got a summer cold and
propagation was horrible (SFI = 67 and A = 27 or something like that).

Early August I had big fun in the EU HF Championship.
That’s a 12h contest working EU only. Again tailored to my setup and
location. I made +1200 QSO maintaining a +100 rate over the whole
contest. I ended #9 there, as this link to the results
points out. Number 9 is not a big deal but I’m in good company there
and what’s noticable: I’ve got the best UBN in the top 10. That means
something too.

Now for the "cliché of all clichés": off to put that turkey in the oven!

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Odds ‘n ends

I carefully reread the Daily DX pages about FJ/OH2AM regarding the "situation" yesterday. It turns out that OH2AM is a club callsign and that it is a 2 man operation indeed: OH2BH and OH0XX. I really can’t believe one of these two does not sign his call for over 20 minutes / 40 QSO. But it is what it is and that is what I witnessed yesterday. Case closed.

Or maybe not? I was firing away on 17m yesterday afternoon working USA at a very slow pace. Then along came a spot on the DX Cluster…


    K1ZZI        18072.8 OQ5M                                        1330 22-Dec-2007
    K2XX         18072.6 OQ5M                                        1501 22-Dec-2007
N5AU 18073.2 FJ/OH2AM CQ 1517 22-Dec-2007

    CT1ILT       18073.2 FJ/OH2AM    up2 nice..                      1520 22-Dec-2007

OQ5M QSY! I couldn’t copy them but was ‘kindly’ asked to QSY. I didn’t plan to do so but… I didn’t work much later on. On Friday I worked a couple of West Coast stations on 30m but yesterday NIL. Though KW7Y must have heard me as he put me on the cluster. We worked on Friday so he didn’t call me again. Lately 40m has been in very bad shape (more on that later). So I called it a day and went downstairs and worked on my LogStats project.

I added what I call the XYL feature. I now have an overview of how many days I was active in a year.

The number of days is based on the number of different dates in the log. So it marks a day as QRV no matter if you worked one DX in 5 minutes or spent the full 24h in the chair working a contest.This is what it looks like.

I need to check if the code computes these numbers well. 223 days in 2001 is a lot but not impossible. I was still living at my parents’ place, working in shifts provided a lot of free time and the rig was in my bedroom…

XYL-feature
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DXers Anonymous – make ‘m go to rehab

This morning I fired up the shack – I could use some heat against the freezing cold.  Open mond
I tuned to 40m and found a pile up with a huge split. The DX’s signal was S5-S7. It was not easy to find whom he was working because of the wide split and (can it be any different?) the out-of-turn-callers. I kept listening to the DX but he didn’t ID for a couple of minutes and a dozen of contacts. He remained anonymous for quite a while up to the point that it got annoying.
So I started timing to do something usefull while trying to work Anonymous. It was 07.09utc now and I had been trying and listening for some minutes already. He went on for 5 minutes and 9 contacts without IDing and QSO #10 since counting was yours truly. I gave him 5NN and wanted to ask his call but 5NN was enough for him and he immediately sent TU. So I kept listening and listening… and he went on and on remaining utterly anonymous. At 07.25 someone got curious too and sent ‘DX? DX?’ on Anonymous’ QRG. One of the Frequency Cops (see Chapter 12 of ON4WW Operating Practice reference) on duty sent ‘FJ/OH2AM‘ – so that’s who he is! Now why couldn’t he have sent that himself? Is that a new trend in DXing, working with ID-subcontractors? I kept counting and timing and after 20 minutes and 40 contacts and ZERO ID I quit and went for breakfast. Still he hadn’t sent his call only once! Now who had I just worked?
Of course I knew… eerrr: had a clue who he was from the start, because I was connected to the DX cluster. But obviously Mister Anonymous thinks that everyone is and that IDing is a thing from the 20th century.
The list of poor operating practices is long but this one sure is soooo annoying. I wonder who the operator was and why he didn’t send his call? On the other hand: if he maintains a rate of about 120/hr without giving his call for at least 20 minutes, then he just gave me a good idea to have some fun and make up my own pile up…

Maybe more later this weekend. I need to get those Christmas cards to the post office today. 73 / QRU.

ADDED info 11.00utc:
I Googled FJ/OH2AM and found more info on the Daily DX website. Apparently the operators are OH2BH and OH0XX, and maybe others but these are the only 2 calls listed. It’s hard to believe that one of these two would wait over 20 minutes or 40 QSOs to send his call. They’ve got so much experience. It’s just not their style. Maybe some other op on the team? In fact it doesn’t matter who it was. Bottom line is: PSE give your call.

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Update

Not much to say really. I’ve got some work to do -most of it is done- and I’m recovering from a sudden but severe flu that hit me late on Sunday. Nasty feeling! Last weekend I played in the 9A CW Contest. I didn’t bother to put up the 80m and 160m antennas. It was too windy and too cold. I didn’t want to mess around in the blistering cold. I made about 560 QSO or so.

Half an hour before the contest started it seemed that 15m was opening up. I worked a dozen US stations there between 13.30 and 14.00 utc. Then at 14.00 when the contest started, either 15m closed in a split second or not many W’s were in the contest on 15m. So I only worked a few there and eventually ended up on 20m – again!

But it now seems the tide has turned because several sources state that Solar Cycle 24 has officially begun. It’ll probably still be a year or more from here before that’ll pay off on 15m and another 2 years before we may begin to blow the dust of those 10m antennas. But I’m glad that we can look forward to brighter days on HF. I came on the HF bands late 2000 right in the peak of cycle 23. With a simple wire antenna I could work USA day and night. Those days were over soon. 2006 was pretty lousy and 2007 was a complete disaster so I assume 2008 will be pretty lousy again and 2009… Oh well – you still work DX just not that much and openings don’t last long.

Speaking of DX: half an hour ago I was CQing on 20m. CW of course, you know I don’t do SSB outside contests. Then W8ERN called in. I worked Angelo as my QSO #93 late 2000 when I just started. Read the above paraghraph: you could still do that in 2000 with a wire. I was ON4CLN back then. Not really a CW / Contest call. And not that it mattered because I wasn’t intoxicated by the CW virus then.

There are some QSO’s you’ll never forget and I remember Angelo closing the 2000 QSO with "…this is Double You Eight Everything Running Normal in Brighton, Michigan". Very catchy and so it happens that I never forgot his name and QTH. It was a nice QSO this afternoon. Sometimes I really get bored with that 5NN stuff so I throw in my name and when I feel it’s an op who can copy more than his own call in CW I’d like to engage in a ragchew QSO. I’m not that good a ragchewer, but at 30WPM I can manage. And I like it. It turns out it’s mostly US ops who can do that. Could it be more of a language barrier than a CW barrier? So Angelo and I had a nice chitchat in CW and he told me some kind words about my signal. We always like to hear that don’t we?

All for now. The sun is going down here and maybe there are some nice goodies to be worked on 40m or 30m?

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FO/N6JA: TNX for the new one!

Yesterday I was calling CQ on 30m. I saw FO/N6JA spotted and I have never worked a FO. But I figured I wasn’t going to hear him and I didn’t feel like engaging into a DX pile up. So I called CQ…

I had a fairly good EU run which I interrupted from time to time to listen for DX. Then there he was: FO/N6JA. He was S2 and I asked his call again to make sure. Yep: FO/N6JA. All time all band new DXCC for me.

I worked a couple of ‘regular’ W2-W3 (early afternoon to late morning for them) and a 9M6. It was sort of grey line propagation with the sun rising over the US West Coast. I think a handfull of 6/W7 called in but I had troubles copying them. The signals were good (S5). It wasn’t QSB, nor QRN or QRM. It’s wasn’t polar flutter. It was an echo rendering the signals quite hard to copy. Simultaneous LP / SP propagation? I don’t know. The LID-factor rose: giving 559 yet asking for their call a couple of times. Is there a Q-code for this? If so, please let me know!

The LogStats project has reached phase 2:

         ON5ZO-dec07-band

                     ON5ZO-dec07-mode