Sunday, 8 March 2015

2015 ARRL International DC Contest - SSB

What a great weekend on the bands, over 600 contacts in the log and I'm ready for bed.   The main workhorse of the weekend was usual.  20m wasn't far behind, and I also managed a pile of contacts on 15m and 80m.

The opening propagation figures for 0000Z 7 March was: SFI=127. SN=31. A=13. K=3.  Not too bad, we've all worked with a lot worse than those numbers.

Best contact of the weekend was with Herik, FR5DX, on Reunion Island, AF-016 in the Indian Ocean.  100 watts both ways using dipoles.....who needs beams???  It was an interesting contest this year as a lot of the usual suspects didn't show up for it.  I heard no JL's and no middle east stations.  One station I have worked every contest I have ever worked, D4C in Cape Verde, was also conspicuous by his absence.

The usual idiots were out in force, those that whistling over QSO's, and tune up right over the on-going QSO.  I'm sure they would just love it if we did it to them!

My other pet peeve was also out in force this weekend, those operators that insist on giving their callsign at triple the speed of light.  You hear them all the time calling and calling and calling....and all the time getting no response while all around them people are working stations hand over fist!  They never get it.

The other telling item was the very large number of stations working a kilowatt.  My experience was that those running a Kilowatt had, for the most part, crap signals and they were transmitting far beyond what they could hear.  I think the power they run is to compensate for poor antenna systems they may have.  They fail to memorize the first rule of ham radio.......put your $$ into the antenna system, not the radio!!   The stations running 100w had cleaner signals and were easier to understand and work.

I had great success with my 15m vertical.  This antenna is a $20 hamstick attached to a painter pole, and it sits up at about 11'.  It also has two 11' 8" radials on it.  With this antenna, if I could hear them I could work them.  It went beyond my expectation, especially as it was only put up as a stop-gap approach over the winter.  It may stay up now!!

Overall it was a great weekend, really enjoyed myself, and we'll do it all over again on the last weekend of this month for the CQ WW WPX Contest SSB.

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