With Christmas approaching I had a bit of time available and I had already arranged a special call for the holiday season. Looking at the slowly awakening sun I was motivated to go out portable again on Dec 24. Normally I would go out somewhere in the afternoon and into the evening to get both some DX on the higher bands and lively conditions on the lower bands but Christmas Eve meant I had to be back home at 16h local time.
|Setting up in the mud||Hexbeam looking towards OC|
The weather forecast showed overcast but dry conditions. This turned out to be a but too optimistic. It was raining when I arrived at the nature reserve. The area I had selected to set up my station had turned into a big muddy pool. Still I managed to set up the hexbeam without getting everything covered in mud.
It was around 10.30 UTC so contacting the far east and perhaps even OC was theoretically still possible. So I started out on 20m with the hex pointing northeast. Skip within EU was a bit unstable but strong most of the time. After about 20 QSOs ZL3LF came through the pileup with a signal peaking at S8. A very nice surprise indeed. I called for more DX but got no reply however 6 minutes later VK2ON made it through the EU chasers with an S9. It shows that the band was wide open in that direction. I called OC a couple of times but it seemed everyone else was enjoying Christmas Eve away from the radio.
|222 QSOs spanning the globe|
I tried the higher bands but 10 and 12 were dead and even 15m did not result in more than a handful of QSOs. It would probably have served me better later in the afternoon. However the skip in EU was quite wide running all the way from 150km (still within PA) up till the edges of EU. So there was no real need to go down to 40m - which would have required changing antennas.
|Nice wide skip in EU on 20m (orange = 20m, turquoise = 15m)|
All in all again a pleasant activity and worth the 4h travel and setup time. HNY to all!