Monday, 16 December 2013

ARRL 10m Contest.....Day Two

Here in Kingston we woke up Sunday morning to a pretty intense snow storm that left us about 10" of snow on the ground.  So, foolishly, I jumped into my truck and drove downtown to have breakfast at 7:00 am with the other Frontenac Radio Group members at the Star Diner

The roads were disgusting and I don't think the City of Kingston plowed at all overnight.   I really should have just turned around and went home.  Most Sunday's we get 11 or 12 out, this Sunday we had three :-) 

Safely back home by 9:00 I had a quick look at the antennas to make sure all was well with them...and it was.  So off to the shack it was to check the SFI on and the numbers were not too bad considering the minor geomagnetic storm we had going on.  SFI was at 164; SN was 163;  'A' Index was 16 and the 'K' Index sitting at 1.

First contact of the day was with TM1A in Provins, France, and for the next 2.5 hours it was a feast of non-stop European stations.  Most of these signals arrived here at about a true S5 or S7, and during that time I never heard a single US or Canadian station.  One would have thought it was a European 10m Contest :-)

At 1130 I went and made a cup of tea, and when I arrived back in the shack 5 minutes later, the Europeans had all disappeared and the band was now full of US and a few Canadian stations.  It was amazing just how fast the band shift happened, but it was that way all day, shifting East-West and then North-South and back again in a matter of a very short time.  As an example, within a 7 minute period I worked OG2A in Finland, KH6LC in Hawaii, and then PY5DC in Brazil. 

We had lots of good openings into the West Coast and I racked up dozens of contacts into California, Oregon, Washington, and BC.  I even worked three Alaskan stations - one after the other!  Best catch of the day for Sunday was either V55V in Namibia or VY1EI in Whitehorse, I can't decide which.

Most of the strong signals on the band, especially those coming in S9+, all seemed to  have great trouble hearing the stations calling them back.  Perhaps this is a result of too much power being used, and transmitting far beyond what they could actually hear?  It sure sounded that way, and many of the local Kingston hams all thought the same thing.  Most of these powerful stations called all day to little effect.

The radio used this weekend was the FT-950 with the Heil Pro-6 headset.  The main antenna in use was the 80m OCF Dipole.  100w into a piece of wire and 12 hours of glorious fun.  Ya just can't beat it!

I'm now getting ready for the RAC winter contest on the 27th and I'm hoping that the lone ham in Nunavut is not on vacation in Florida like he was the last few years :-)  I'm also looking forward to trying to make that ever elusive contact on 40m with Bob VA3QV.  We will see if we can do it this year!

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