An ordinary amateur like me might be a bit daunted heading into a weekend like this, with a big DX contest on. The cluster takes on a new look (right) with many shorter contest station callsigns showing up, and you would be forgiven for thinking "maybe I'll give the radio a miss for today because the bands will be packed with contest action". Well such an attitude would have deprived a modest station like me of many good DX contacts, and some of them were actually in the contest. I grabbed a couple of new countries today, including Indonesia which I have strived after for an age.
I heard a comment on SSB in the afternoon from an American station who said that "this is the best time of year" for DX because night and day are of equal length, giving everyone an equal chance. I don't know how true that is but it was borne out by a great day of DXing on my two verticals and 100 watts. Of course, the fact that there were a lot of contest stations on for the Russian DX contest helped enormously.
I worked my first Indonesia today. But not alone did I grab one YB prefix, but I managed to nab two in a row! I worked YB1ALL on 15m CW just after 2pm. He was a contest station so I gave him number 001. Half an hour later I bagged YB1FWO on 15m USB, 59 each way. I was impressed by some of the signals coming from that part of the world. But mostly I was impressed by the fact that I worked them!
I worked VU2PAI in India again, this time on 17m CW where he was enjoying quite a pile-up, and working 1KC up, I got Guatemala in the log with TG9IRP on 15m SSB. There was action too on 12 metres where SV9CVY Mike was blasting in. I told him he owed me money for a new needle! He said "likewise", and gave me 35dB over 9. Thanks Mike. Nice.
I then worked 5N50K, Nikola in Nigeria, for the fourth time, but this time on a new band - 10 metres! Africa was again featured when I put 3V8SS from Tunisia into the log. He was 59 on 15m USB. I worked five Brazil stations in total, with very good conditions in the late afternoon/evening on 10 metres into South America. The five Brazil stations I logged were all contest stations. Thanks guys. I managed to work one Argentinian station also (my favourite DX country!) when I contacted LP3U, another contest station, on 10m CW, at 18:19 UT. As I said, great conditions. In there also on 20m SSB was the very powerful Georgian contest station 4L8A who was 20 over 9. Thanks again to all for a wonderful day of DX.
As I write this, at 20:28, the higher frequency bands seem to be all closed - 10m, 12m and 15m and I'm only hearing one or two weak stations on 17m. 20m is still hopping though, and hopefully will be active well into the night with contest stations.
By the way, as of this moment I have worked an equal number of countries on phone and CW - 95 each.
73 for now. Happy DXing . . .
UPDATE: Of course, just after I posted this I worked another good one, Whisky One Whisky, W1W, a special event station commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Mohawks Amateur Radio Club. Doug was the operator. I gave him 53 and got 57 back. Congratulations on the special event station and best DX. (The club's own callsign is N1WW - see their website at http://www.mohawk-arc.org/
21:24: Update 2. I'm hearing AB0RJ on 18.140.5 USB and he's 59. He's working a GI0 station (Northern Ireland). There's also a strong W/GI0MPC on 18.155.