So i got all excited this afternoon and fired up the big black box to see whats going on on 15m. Conditions are not all that fantastic, but there is a fair bit to hear on 15m. After fixing all the sound card issues to get HRD working that is LOL.
Sometime ago I had decided that I should put in the effort and have a red hot go at one of the major contests. The last one I entered and actually tried in was John Moyle Field Day back in 2015. Since then lots of thing have conspired against me, not at least band conditions. No propagation is a real downer when it comes to contests.
Also, I have not had a go at any of the CW contests, being a fan boy of CW, being an F-Call and having a gimped antenna situation and high local noise, CW has become my go to mode for working DX. Narrow filters cuts back the noise, 5 or 10w is not a liability, and weak signals are workable on the high bands, specifically for me, 15m.
The one disappointment for me, is that it was also VKFF Mass Activation weekend, and I did have to choose to seriously focus on the CW contest. Sadly there are not many VK WWFF chasers with enough limited CW to make that side work my while, and its hard to contest CW when calling cq on SSB. But i did go out to one park on the Saturday and activate it for VKFF and during the lulls in activity, I did work some of the other VKFF activators.
So after getting to my park and setting up i tuned up the 40m dipole on 15m, yes I was using a 40m dipole on 15m multi lobes and all, had a quick scan of the band, signals galore, I was happy, my contesting was going to be worth the effort and I was going to work some DX. It was a long day, with plenty of naps, but in the end I had worked about 55 stations. My batteries were just about flat and I was drained.
Day 2 started early and I knew early on that 15 was looking like it might do some good things. USA was coming in at 7am on 15m so it was promising. USA is not a favored direction for my home antenna, so it was slow going, but i managed a few US stations. During the day i floated around 15 and 10m, seeing what i could find and work, sometimes stopping and calling myself when I could not find anyone new to work. Managing a few here and there to keep my count ticking over. Being 5w QRP and using wire antenna there were never going to be a run on, but hey we do what we can do.
Afternoon came and 15m went bonkers, Europe was coming in strong and there were stations from 21.000 to 21.080, they were staked on top of each other, in places 100hz apart. It was here my contest changed and i got a run of countries worked going like I have not have happen before, this turned what would have been an ordinary score into something respectable.
I even managed to work a new DXCC entity in Kaliningrad. Oh and I also bagged Moldova on 15m SSB too, so new new ones in one weekend I was pumped. So in the end I ended up making 115 contacts in 34 countries and 15 zones, plus band multipliers. 50% of the contacts were on 15m, 32 countries and all zones were on 15m which still remains my go to band for working dx and having fun.
I operated on 40, 15 and 10 meters, using 5w and a single wire antenna a 40 meter dipole. My log has been submitted and all told at a rough count, I score about 13900 points. I will not be winning any prizes, but for me, its not about winning, it is about giving it a go and having fun. And after 20 hours of CW, i can sure do with not hearing any for a while, and yes, I had fun.
We all like a bit of statistics in amateur radio. QSO’s, stations worked, countries worked, regions, zones, continents, prefixes, you name it, someone is keeping a list for it. For me, the CQ DX Marathon kind of covers the major things i want to know about myself and my station and what its achieved in the calender year.
Thankfully my logbook keeps track of all manner of information for me, I know i have worked 77 DXCC entities this year, yes, 77, the log has an error in it and i need to fix a VK0 into a VK1 and 25 zones. I have a fairly even split between Phone and CW and most of my contacts come from the 15m band, with a bit of 40m and 10m thrown in for good measure.
In all, this is not a bad result, I have 1 antenna, a 40m coil loaded shortened dipole that is 6m off the ground. Hardly a DX machine antenna, its actually pretty gimped, and I also run low power, 10w as per my licence restrictions. When you take those factors into account, and living in VK, this is a very good result indeed.
As for grand totals, my logs says I have worked a total of 96 DXCC, this should be 98, there are 2 log entries missing from there, but i cannot work out which ones. Of these I have 58 confirmed on Log Book of the World, a few others on eQSL and one or 2 more on ClubLog. Good enough for WIA F-Call of the year, perhaps. But i do not do this for the recognition, i do it to have some data to compare against. Last year in the CQ DX Marathon i worked 57 countries and 22 zones, in 4 months, Sept-Dec. So i have improved on that score, but used the whole 12 months. All in all, stats can be fun, can be interesting, and putting in a log for CQ DQ Marathon is a good way of keeping track of how you do. If only more people would send in their logs.