Thursday, August 5, 2010

An interesting week on the DX front

It's been an interesting few days on the DX front. Just when the bands seem dead and propagation seems awful, up pops some decent DX. For instance, take Sunday night as an example. Having not been greatly active on HF for a number of weeks (although making a couple of QSOs a day just to keep my hand in it!) I decided to put out a "CQ DX" on 40 metres CW on Sunday night. Within a short time I had the United States and Canada coming back to my call. -.-. --.- -.. -..- -.-. --.- -.. -..- -.. . . .. ..--- -.- -.-.

About 20 minutes into my session, I heard "dit dit dit dah, dah dit dah". That's VK to all you non-CWers out there! Now most hams and SWLs will know VK is the prefix for Australia. I assumed that what I was hearing was a suffix, so I gave "dit dit dit dah, dah dit dah, dit dit dah dah dit dit" which translates as "VK?" - in other words, the station containing VK give your call.

He came back with "VK6BN". I couldn't believe it - my first Australia on 40 metres! The operator's name was Alan and we exchanged reports and names before giving the 73. (That's Alan in the photo). I was delighted. Especially because I am working just 100 watts into a 55-metre random longwire (arranged in a W-shaped configuration because of my short garden). So it just goes to show what's possible on a limited setup.

On Monday I could see from DX Scape that 10 metres was open to South America, something that hadn't happened for a while. There was a station from Chile on SSB - CE2WZ, David in La Serena. I could hear him although he was very QSB. As I very often do in these situations, especially when he is working a bit of a pile-up and the European zoo is shouting, I sat with the headphones on and listened for a while as I did other things on my computer. After about ten minutes I noticed he suddenly became louder and, sure enough, he was coming up and down from about 4 and 1 to about 5 and 7 with heavy QSB. So I gave him a holler. After being beaten to it by four or five European stations David eventually heard me. He gave me a report of 5 and 1 which was respectable given my 100 watts and a multi-band vertical.

Yesterday I received an AG eQSL from David confirming the contact so I was delighted with that. Thanks again David and best DX.

Last night (Wednesday) things were quiet on 80m, 40m, 30m and 20m. I had to content myself with some European contacts. I could hear Argentina and Paraguay on 20m SSB and 40m SSB respectively but they could not hear me. Ah well, you can't win them all!!

73 for now and enjoy the DX!

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