First full-time SOAB HP effort since 2015. Back then 10m and 15m were very much in play – ah, the good old days. This year, I knew it would predominately be a 20m and 40m event, and was certainly not disappointed. I’ll summarize the weekend using a classic Clint Eastwood movie title: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
80M and 160M
It was great to hear EU come back on the low bands. 160m and 80m were alive with signals from ES, OM, DL, SP, OK, G, OH, and I. Zone 33/35 were also very active and fairly easy to work. Special mention goes to OK7K, who was a beacon on 160m the entire contest.
The bad part is most couldn’t hear me. Worked OK7K and DR1A on 160m, but heard and didn’t work at least 6 other EU countries. Major bummer.
The ugly part is it was the same scenario on 80m. Heard and tried to work 12 EU stations, but none could hear me despite their signal a true S7 to S9. In hindsight, that was the most disappointing part of the contest. I felt like a SWL. Major bummer times two.
The above picture shows the nice EU opening on 80M Saturday night. I was unassisted, but N1MM+ has a cool feature if you enter the call sign in the entry window, and don’t log it, then spin the dial, the program captures the details so you can go back and work them later. Pretty neat.
What wasn’t so neat, is NONE of those stations could hear me. I never heard any stateside guys calling them either. Strange. Perhaps they were listening in some other direction? Maybe high noise levels were also a factor? Sometimes that’s just the way it goes.
Good signals from EU, JA and the rest of Asia all weekend. Caribbean and SA were loud. Nice JA runs both nights, with Saturday morning being the better of the two.
Unfortunately, no EU runs – bummer. Never heard a peep from northern EU, and very few below 7.100 worked split. Double and triple bummer.
40m was bursting at the seams. I’d classify this as ugly, but obvious. I mean really, where else is the entire world supposed to go when the high bands close early? Oh yeah, and if the U.S. wants to work the world, we all have to basically occupy a space between 7.128 and 7.200 on SSB. What could possibly go wrong?
10M, 15M and 20M
Felt like any activity on 10m and 15m was a bonus. 15m was surprisingly good compared to how dead it sounded leading up to the contest. Had some short JA runs, which was a plus. Zone 33/35 guys were very strong and D4C was a beacon all weekend on every band (except 10m, right?). 20m featured solid JA and EU runs both days, with Saturday being the better of the two.
Unfortunately, 10m never opened anywhere beyond my backyard. If it did open for 2 nanoseconds, I missed the window. No zone 14 or 15 on 15m, and even though I tried to frequently check, the 20m EU run during the window of opportunity was crazy and required my full attention, so maybe I missed it, but I don’t think so.
Predictably, 20m was a zoo. Ugly SSB splatter was a major issue and forced me to reacquaint myself with every possible filter variation my rig had to offer. Layers of stations on the same frequency or very close by only added to the chaos.
All-in-all, a fun contest with the added challenge of operating during a solar minimum. Thanks to all for the Qs, and everyone that travelled to exotic locations to make it that much more exciting for the rest of us.
73, Mitch, K7RL
Class: SOAB HP
Operating Time (hrs): 41
|Summary: Compare Scores|
Club: Western Washington DX Club