Friday, May 10, 2013

Sometimes the clock is against you in ham radio

There are times when the clock is against you in ham radio. Imagine the following scenario. There is a dxpedition on a Pacific Island that you need as a new DXCC. They are there for just over a week in total. Propagation is poor and they might be using small antennas and low power. Despite seeing other Europeans spotting them on the cluster, you are unable to hear them on any band or mode. You are fast approaching the weekend, when they will be winding the station down, and all of Europe will be on, calling them, and you won't be in the shack. And, with just minutes to go before you leave the shack to go to work on Friday morning, you finally hear them for the first time . . .

That, my dear friends, is the scenario that faced me this morning. I could finally hear VK9NT on Norfolk Island, on 12 metres CW  - the first time I had heard a decent signal from them all week. Many mornings they were either QRX or unhearable. Conditions were not great all week.

Norfolk Island, from which I could finally hear VK9NT this morning.
I saw them spotted on several slots, including 20m CW, 17m SSB and 12m CW. As it happened, I could only hear them on 12m CW. They were too weak on 20m CW to make out. It was 9.05am. I would have to leave the shack for work at 9.15am. I had TEN MINUTES in which to try to work them!!

The op was relatively slow, and was working a mixture of JA stations and EU. I knew I had a challenge on my hands! I had the beam pointing the right direction, the linear was on, and the split was set at up 2. However, on listening to the op's pattern, it became clear that he or she was moving up about 500 hz at a time and then, upon getting to about 4kc up, coming back down again. I heard "5NN TU" on the split, and moved down about 500 hz. I also slowed my keying speed to match the DX speed. Within a minute or so I could hear "2KC ?" I gave the call twice. Again I could hear "2KC?" - obviously I was being QRMed. Another couple of calls with "EI2KC" and I could heard "EI2KC 5NN" and I gave something like "QSL EI2KC 5NN 5NN TU" and I was in the log . . .

I didn't have time to celebrate. I had to switch off all the equipment, get my coat, and run to the car. It was 9.15am and I needed to be at the desk in Dublin at 10am!! However, I felt I could relax a bit. DXCC #290 was in the log, and I had all but despaired of working them. VK9NT on Norfolk Island - thank you. I am off to another island tomorrow, Inis Mór (EU-006) with the EJ7NET dxpedition. I hope conditions are good for that . . . both weather conditions, and band conditions!


  1. Well done Anthony, I was sure you got VK9N before thought I read about it here, anyway good job allways nice to get one just when you think tou won't,

    I got them on 20 for #300 this morning and then got FO/A for 301 on 17 nice susprise after being on 299 for months,

    First day that I turned rig on in months,

    Best of luck on the expedition hope the WX is calm and the DX is loud,


    1. Trevor,

      Very well done on #300 and #301 - all in one day!! Must be the luck the new arrival brought you HI HI!! Great going. Glad to hear you are still getting an occasion to turn on the rig. I am chasing HC8 and also FO-A as possible new ones. But off to the island tomorrow, so that probably won't happen. Maybe we'll get a QSO with me on the mic/key as EJ7NET?

  2. Hi Anthony I got HC8 this morning on 17 he was begging for Q's was a new band for me,

    Safe journey I'll have a listen for you during the week,


  3. Congrats Anthony!
    The same situation I had when PT0S was on the air. My QSO was among that 5 last QSOs that they did.
    73! de US3QQ


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