Sunday, December 16, 2012

New DXCCs on 40m

Ending up in the OK RTTY contest by chance

On the lookout for PAFF
Yesterday I saw a message by Hans PA3FYG that he would go out in the afternoon activating a nature park not too far (50-60km) from where I live. As I had visitors I did not have the time to set up my sloping wire running into the garden. In stead I quickly set up my shortened dipole by Ventenna in the attic. I chose for a 40m configuration as that would be a band I at least had a chance of being copied by Hans. Keeping an eye on the cluster I did not see any activity by Hans. Later I learned Hans had only been active on 20m that afternoon.

Ventenna dipole set up in the attic

As my antenna was still set up I decided to do some WSPR later in the evening using my FT-817. I copied stations from Ukraine and the UK (peculiar as both are more or less off the ends of the dipole..) and was only copied by stations in the UK. Nothing really to keep me busy until I looked at the cluster.

Unreachable DX on 40m
Checking the cluster I saw a lot of interesting DX spots posted by EU stations on 40m, including VO1, ZD7, VK7 and D4. Not something I see everyday and something worth to dive into. With a dipole in the attic there was no chance I would hear them, let alone work them. Therefore I set up a push up mast through my attic window and pushed the dipole up about 4m above the roof.
Listening around I did copy Peter ZD7FT but only just above the QRM (S4-5), not enough for a contact. VO1 was (just a bit) stronger but there was no way I could get through the pile up. There was no VK7 as far as I could hear and D4 was also under QRM level if he was still there. Bummer..

At last some success
It seemed that pushing up the antenna had been a waste of time until I noticed a lot of spots about RTTY contacts and remembered there was a OK RTTY contest this weekend. Amongst the spots were EU stations spotting east coast NA. I had never worked NA on 40m, so I quickly turned to RTTY and indeed copied a few NA stations. Strongest of all was K1SFA from Massachusetts and she became my first US station on 40m. After Khrystyne I logged three more US stations (NY, NJ). Looking around I found and logged two more DXCCs I never worked before on 40m: VA2 and 5C. 

So, in the end I was very pleased with the results in the hour I spent on the air.

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