Tony EI4DIB was up again today to help me with my latest antenna installation. This time it's a HF vertical covering six bands from 80 down to 10 metres. We had quite a lot of work to do in the cold, but we got there eventually. Here is a photo of the Butternut on right.
I got into California on 20 metres just before the band closed this afternoon. It was my first west coast contact on HF. NN6R Wayne in San Diego gave me 44 which wasnt bad considering he was only 55 working from a 4 element monobeam. Then I worked VO1DGP Dean in Newfoundland and got 55 from him too. Not bad for a new, erm, I mean, second hand (and quite old!) vertical. I had worked Dean before about a month back and hear him regularly calling in on 20m in the afternoons. I was delighted to get VA2PW Pierre in Canada because I had tried him on previous evenings without success but he heard me this time. He was 59 and gave me 59 also. Happy New Year Pierre!
I worked W1AW, the ARRL headquarters, on 14.252.4 USB. We exchanged 59 reports.
The highlight of the evening was a new country - Iceland. He was working a huge pile-up. In fact, Jon remarked at least twice that, "It's like I'm in North Korea or something". Those of you who are not familiar with Ham Radio might not know that there are so few radio operators in North Korea, and they are heard so rarely, that North Korea is the single most wanted country on ham radio. At times the pile-up for Reykjavik was so huge that nothing could be heard. I managed to squeeze in during a wee gap and he called in Echo India 8 so at least I know I'm getting out on 80m at last. It took a few attempts to get the callsign over to him because people kept calling in over me. But he got it after two or three attempts and we exchanged 59 reports. I gave the customary "good luck with the pile-up" after wishing him a Happy New Year.
Interestingly, there was a late opening to the States on 20 metres. I worked K3LP (David in Maryland) for the second time in 24 hours at 20:50 and we exchanged 59s. There was some other stateside activity on 14.158 USB but they were in QSO so I left them alone.
If all that wasn't exciting enough, I then worked the US on 80 metres, just to absolutely prove the Butternut is getting out well. I worked W0EK - Bob in Minnesota - thanks to OE7USB who was asking if anyone in Europe wanted to work him. Bob was 59 and he gave me 57. Great stuff.
UPDATE: Tuesday, December 29th: I heard Taiwan on 20 metres this morning before going to work. BX2AAL was weak with QSB but because the vertical is so much quieter than the wire antenna, I could hear him a good bit of the time. Lots of Europeans were calling him. I tried a couple of times but had to give up to go to work.