My agenda did not leave any time for PACC. There were plans to activate PI4ANH (the local club station) but in the end I could not join this nice initiative.
However my appointment on Saturday ended sooner than I expected, which left some time in the late evening (22h CET) to go out and try my 80m inverted V, joining the busy band.
I hoped to work some new DXCCs. I had never really focused on this band as I did not have an effective antenna. Up till the beginning of this year I had 21 DXCCs worked. I added three to this list last week with my new Ventenna dipole. I bought an extension and coil to use this dipole on 80m. Just last week the parts came in and I tried them at night (pushing my antenna out of my attic window).
I did not know PACC was this popular. There was no quiet place on the whole contest segment of the 80m band. Signals from 9+ to 9++ everywhere. Having a reasonable antenna (as I already suspected the inverted V to be) combined with a mobile radio that does not seem to have very narrow filters, has its downsides.
After a while I found a spot with QRM at only an S9 level. I did have to move a couple of times to get away from incredible splatter. I got so many replies when I started calling that I stayed put (slowly getting snowed in) for 2,5 hours - 1,5 hours more than I planned. In total I handed out points to 173 OMs. As I had not really planned to stay long or log more than a handful of calls I did not bring my laptop. At this moment I wish I had...
|PH0NO contest station in the snow with 80m inverted V (supported by fibreglass pole)|
The bonus came at the end of the activity when I was ready to pack my stuff. On the cluster I saw a lot of spots for NP4A. He seemed to be very strong in EU (a glance at his towers gives you an idea why). In my modest station he put in a 9+10dB. To my complete amazement he picked me up after calling once. So, the end of the day (actually the early morning of the next day) brought a new record distance on 80m: 7300km.
All in all great fun. I had some time for short QSOs with the guys at my club station. They had started in the afternoon and were at 300 contacts. We agreed to find a way to participate again next year and with a slightly better set up than the club station can provide (long wire on the roof line). I also had a nice chat with Bas PE4BAS that I so far had only met through email and JT65. He was seriously contesting the whole weekend, as you can read on his blog.