I was up early this morning. Well, early for a Sunday! At 9am I switched on the radio and could hear that both 15 metres and 12 metres were open. Nice. It was bright and sunny too, which is a big deal in this part of the world. Yes indeed folks, sometimes it feels as though there's a semi-permanent layer of clouds covering Ireland.
I took a brave decision pretty soon after I switched on the radio. I was going to CQ. Big deal you say? Well, CQing in CW is a big deal for me, having only acquired a morse paddle a couple of weeks ago. I am fortunate to have a loan of a Kent paddle from Pat EI2HX and it's a beautifully crafted piece of kit. So I sat on 24.897.5 and called CQ CQ CQ de EI8GHB and pretty soon there was fast action.
Now if you've been following this blog (and I completely understand if you haven't because, let's face it, watching paint dry is more interesting) you'll know that I recently discovered just how fantastic a band 12 metres can be. Two weekends ago I worked VU2PAI in India on 12 metres and when I gave him 59 I meant it. He was like a local 2 metre station. Fantastic. But that was SSB, and he was the one calling CQ. This time, things were different.
I might have been disappointed at the fact that I didn't get any great DX if it wasn't for the fact that I enjoyed the hour I spent on 12m. It was a great experience. OK, I was making mistakes and having to send the old question mark on more than a few occasions, but the guys who came back to me were all patient and understanding with me. For the whole hour I worked 28 stations, ALL of which were either in Ukraine or Russia. Not a single other entity was heard during the hour!!
It built into a pile-up at times, so I had to work most of them quickly, just repeating their callsign and giving a report and then turning it back to them for my report, and then giving 73 GL TU. (In layman's terms bye bye, good luck, thank you!)
Now I am aware that many Russians and Ukrainians learned CW in school so they're at a distinct advantage, but nonetheless as I said, they were acutely patient with me. I think they were glad of the action on 12m too. For me it was a delight to hear such activity so early in the day. Anyway, to all the stations I worked, sorry if I sounded a bit like an amateur, but maybe that's because I am!!! (Literally!!)
But the fun didn't stop there. I later turned to 15 metres where I worked more Ukraine and Russia but also a healthy dose of Stateside. It was on that band that I worked my first FM station - Martinique. He was FM5AN and was in the French contest. We exchanged 59 reports. I also worked VU2PAI (yes, the same gentleman mentioned above) on 17 metres. He was working a split on SSB and got me after about five or six calls. Another great contact and a sign of good conditions on that band. Later I worked into Africa on 15m CW, getting into Senegal and Morocco. The latter, 5E50SA, I have now worked on SIX bands in CW. So thanks guys for the special event station.
20 metres was lively this evening, but seemed to die off a bit prematurely compared with recent nights. My last contact there on CW was K1VT at 21:03 UT. Thanks Jack, and thanks for the speedy AG eQSL. Much appreciated.
I look forward to more action on 15m and 12m, and of course 10m when it opens. I am now set up on 6m and over the weekend I took time to CQ on 50.150 USB and 50.005 CW just in case there was any kind of a lift, but nothing came back. I hope to grab some European action on that band very soon.
Anyhow, that's all for now. Thanks for looking in. And just a quick mention to Derek from Drogheda who is studying hard for the exam for his licence. Derek, you seem to be well on top of things. Keep studying hard and you'll get there. I know what it's like to be on the "other side" so to speak. Best of luck.
73 de EI8GHB
CW: 71 countries worked
Phone: 84 countries worked
US States worked: 43 out of 50
AG eQSL: 42 countries confirmed
Total QSOs logged: 1,367