Monday, 28 March 2011

CQ WPX 2011

Well, another great contest is over!  This past weekend saw a fantastic weekend for catching DX on the bands.  The SFI was up at 115 with the A index at 2 and the K index at 0......a good recipe for good DX.

I used the Kenwood 570D into my 80-40-20m fan-dipole for the contest, giving the FT-857D a rest.   Amongst the 400+ contacts I made using the VE3FCT callsign, there where a few new ones put in the log, V3M in Belize, 3V1A in Tunisia, TG9NX in Guatemala, and VP2EH in Anguilla. 

15m seemed to be the place to be as it was extremely active both days from almost dawn to late evening. There were some good 10m openings as well. I managed to have QSO's with Argentina, Brazil, Cape Verde, Germany, and Belize all on 10m late Sunday afternoon.

But what was even more enjoyable this weekend was the good behaviour on the bands.  I didn't hear anyone tuning up on top of another station, pile-ups seemed to be pretty orderly, and everyone seemed to be in a great mood. 

Hopefully the SFI will continue to rise so we can have a very successful "QRP to the Field" weekend on the 30th April - 1st May weekend.  That weekend is also the "International SOTA Weekend". 

This coming weekend (April 2nd) I'm going to the Iroquois Hamfest for the first time as there are a few things I need to pick up.  If you're going I hope to see you there!

Monday, 7 March 2011

ARRL International DX SSB Contest

What a weekend!  This was my best DX weekend for many years.  Saturday morning the  SFI was 127, A Index=11 and K Index=1, and the bands just rocked!  Twelve hours later at 2130L the SFI was 135, A Index=5 and K Index=1 and it was wall-to-wall DX on all bands. 

On both Saturday and Sunday around 1600L the bands swung from North-South propagation to North-South.  I worked most of Europe and South America on 15m over the weekend, and a few more on 20m and 40m.  15m was just incredible, I haven't heard it that busy for a long time.  I went up and down the band and never stopped working stations.

80m was filled with the usual nets and "hillbilly roundtables" all weekend, but I did manage to catch both Poland and the UK on the band.

It was also amazing how many countries I worked on 10m. I can't even remember the last time I worked anyone on 10, but it was working well for most of the weekend.

The three big catches for me this past weekend was PZ5P in Surinam and HL3K in South Korea, both on 20m, and ST2AR in Khartoum, Sudan on 10m.

The downside of the weekend?  Well, that would have to be the many LIDS who just have to tune up right on top of the station calling CQ.  Why do these idiots do this?  Can't they understand that if you move off frequency 10Kc either side that it won't affect your tuning? 

I'm not the "perfect" operator, but I do understand the rules that make operating a great experience for all. So thanks to those few idiots who ruined our QSO's, I hope you all had a good time, and next time, please...try and use some common sense on the bands!

As I write this Monday evening I notice that the SFI has risen to 153, A Index=9 and K Index=2.  Hopefully the minimum is now behind us and it will continue to rise for the CQ WW WPX Contest on the 26th and 27th of March.