Saturday, April 20, 2013

Busy 3 band activity at PAFF-053

Activated Loenermark WWFF PAFF-053 on three bands for four hours

Although conditions were far from brilliant the activity was a success with a lot of familiar and also a lot (approx 50%) of new callsigns in the log.

Last fall I activated this nature park for the first time, so I knew where to set up my station. Although in between the trees, there was enough room to extend my vertical pole to 12m without getting stuck. I even managed to set up my full size inverted V for 40m.

Vertical end fed in between the trees
I started out on 20m, where conditions seemed okay, although there was only limited DX activity visible on the cluster. I stayed on this band for an hour and logged 83 contacts with most of the familiar calls at least an s-point down from their usual strength.
DX came in from VE, UA9 and 4X.

As HRD Logbook (for which I have a nifty widget on my phone) showed activity on 15m I went up there to find that propagation was open to the USA and Japan. In 40 minutes I logged only 20 calls but half of them DX from JA, W0/2 and 4X.

Then I went down to 40m where I quickly found a free frequency (not always so simple). Conditions were great for the shorter distance between roughly 200-700km. A high number of DL and G operators ended up in the log. 
I received a lot of +10/+20 reports and handed out a lot as well. I was cheating a bit though with my already proven inverted V (full size for 40m, apex at 11m) in combination with a small amp that pushes out somewhere between 200-300w PEP.
In total I logged 169 contacts in under 2 hours on this band.

Discounting time for changing the antennas I was active for just under 3.5 hours, logging 272 calls from 40 different DXCCs. 

In between some showers there was plenty of sunshine allowing me to open my sun roof and pretend summer has arrived.
Amongst the many OMs I spoke and I have got familiar with after meeting them at several activities were 10 fellow WWFF country representatives. A busy lot.
...and I met an OM I so far only knew through Twitter. A new experience altogether.

Thanks all for stopping by.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Short /P activity with a lot of far east contacts

Unexpected DX visits

Wednesday morning is my morning off with the kids at school and usually no pressing work issues (if I plan well). This week Wednesday I did not plan to go out as it was supposed to be windy and as I already had a fair share of DX last weekend.

When I came home from doing the groceries however I saw interesting spots including E5 and FO5 on 20m. So I decided to pack all my stuff and see if I could catch one of those. Of course because of the lousy planning I forgot one item - a support pole that keeps the mast in place. Using some ropes I was able to steady the mast holding my hexbeam just enough (although it rocked heavily).

About an hour after deciding to go out I was listening to the FO5 station. The frequency turned out to be a complete zoo. I tried a few times to get through but it was just to frustrating with people not listening - even calling over the DX station...
So I gave up on this DXCC for today.

Then I tried to find the E5 station. I found it quite strong on 15m just finishing a QSO with a G* station only using 40 watts. So that meant I had a very reasonable chance to work the DX.
Unfortunately the DX station informed all listening that this was his last QSO and he was going QRT. A couple of stations kept on calling but to no avail...

Well. Not a very good outcome for all the hassle.

To cheer myself up I called a VK2 and had a short QSO with him. Then I started calling CQ on 20m with the antenna pointing to VK/ZL long path. Maurizio IZ0ARL came by while he was activating a WWFF location. Very kind of him to give me a call (usual procedure would be the other way around). I did not get any other replies so I went up to 15m and pointed the antenna towards JA - as I saw a couple of spots indicating the band was open to JA.

I stayed on my frequency for 45 minutes greeting 14 OMs from JA and 3 from UA9. To my surprise I was also visited by DS (new band) and.. FK8.
When I heard the FK8 call I knew it was a new DXCC and an island somewhere, but had no clue where. Even when the OM told me he was in New Caledonia I had only a vague notion of where he was. Google Maps helped to increase my topographical knowledge.

Quite cool. There are only a handful of Pacific Islands I have reached so far (HK0, KH0, KH2, KH6, ZL and now FK8).