This weekend I reached the "5 band DXCC" level. Quite a remarkable milestone considering the journey...
Where it started
When I came back to ham radio in 2010 I was eager to work as many DXCC as I could. I started with a shortened dipole in the attic - very far from ideal - but each and every country was a new one. Even with limited radio time my progress was smooth and I was happy for a while.
I upgraded my license in 2011 adding a load of new bands and with that the challenge increased: I would have to collect at least 100 DXCC on each (why?... I don't know, that is how addiction works).
My antenna changed into a wire behind the house running from 8m high to 2m high in a corner of the garden. An upgrade from my in-house dipole and an opportunity to add a few more DXCC.
In the mean time I had developed a new addiction: activating WWFF nature reserves. Going /P inspired me to develop better antennas. Portable operations have their limitations (especially if you look at it from your multi tower station) but in my case I saw opportunities I did and do not have at my QTH.
From a mobile whip I quickly moved to vertical end fed antennas that already were more effective than the wire behind my house. And as time went by, adding more DXCC meant going out /P.
I took the opportunity of big contests - with lots of DXCC's active at the same time - to make my /P DX hunting as effective as possible. All the while trying to improve my /P station.
Beaming with delight
In 2012 I had one of my most pleasant chases when I went out with a 4 element beam for 10m (a band still open at the time) during CQ WW SSB . I added 24 atno's and 14 new bands, working a few hours on Saturday evening and a few hours the following morning. I don't think I have ever worked so many new ones in just two time slots.
Although the 10m beam was instrumental in the fun that time, it was also the first time I used the folding hexbeam that I just finished building in the week before the contest. This became and still is my favourite /P antenna. It has helped me work DX even now, at the bottom of the solar cycle.
With the hexbeam and a small mobile amplifier I added to my /P setup, I went DX fishing during a few other contests the next year. I scored 10 atno's and 22 new band dxcc during WPX in 2013 with the hexbeam, 4 atno's and 27 new band dxcc during EU HF contest in 2013 and 6 atno's and 24 new band dxcc during CQWW SSB 2013.
3 band DXCC
By August 2013 I had logged more than 100 DXCC on three bands: 10, 15 and 20m. 17m was the candidate for the next 100 and I think I reached that somewhere in 2016 (time to play radio had been rather limited in the interim and I had not been out to actively chase DX /P).
By 2016 12m was no longer a feasible candidate to reach 100 DXCC as the sun spots had disappeared and I had failed to give that band enough attention in the preceding years. So my focus shifted to the lower bands. In 2016 I went out again during a CQWW SSB. This time focusing on 40m and 80m. I was only able to add 4 new DXCC to 40m, while adding 12 new ones to 80m and 28 new ones to 160m.
This left a challenge with still quite a few to go on 40m. The most feasible new ones required different operating hours than I could use from home (with the whole family asleep). So it looked like I needed another contest and /P operation. However I did not find the time.
The final push
Then came last weekend with yet another CQ WW contest. I had not planned to be particularly active. There was no time to go /P but I did have some free slots to switch on the radio at home. Somehow I had brought my total to 96 DXCC worked on 40m in the meantime. With no expectations at all I started chasing some new ones I could hear. With the simple setup at home I could not reach all of them but with some persistence I was at 99 DXCC on Saturday evening. Of course this was not going to be the end result of the weekend. I continued my chase on Sunday in between other obligations and by the end of the day I was at 102 DXCC with an amazing JT and KL7 in the catch (thanks to their antennas).
Next up: 80m.. only 50 DXCC to go.
Hallo Lars, gefeliciteerd. Dat is een mooie prestatie! Ik heb me eigenlijk nooit afgevraagd op hoeveel banden ik 100 DXCC heb. Zal eens kijken, misschien ook wel 5B DXCC? Op het moment ben ik niet zo heel fanatiek. VK9, VP6 en YJ0 heb ik niet kunnen waarnemen thuis door tijdgebrek. Heb YJ0 wel op 40m gewerkt vanaf de contestlocatie maar vergeten het met mijn eigen call ook ff te doen (stom!). Ben het meest aktief op 60m FT8. Daar kun je nog redelijk rustig DXen. 73, BasReplyDelete
Hallo Bas, hrdlogbook houdt dit allemaal automatisch bij. Anders zou ik t ook niet zo volgen denk ik.Delete
Ja... serieus contesten en unieke dingen werken. Lastig dingetje. Ik moet zeggen dat ik teveel in de wedstrijd zit met PACC om ook aan mijn eigen collectie te denken. Ik heb wel het nodige gewerkt op de lage banden wat ik nog niet heb op mijn persoonlijke call.
We doen wel eens een korte chase voor de wedstrijd als we alles nog moeten testen. Zo heb ik A'dam Island bijv. ingekopt.
Digimode raakt me niet voldoende merk ik om er echt wat mee te gaan doen. Het wordt dus klassiek phone of wellicht cw als ik dat ooit onder de knie krijg.