After going through a bit of a summertime lull, my interest in ham radio seemed to hit a severe downer when my Acom 1000 linear amplifier stopped working. However, instead of giving up on HF and DXing, I was instead suddenly spurred into interest by a wonderful and comprehensive awards programme in the form of the Miguel de Cervantes AN400 awards. The AN400 stations were active across all the bands, using lots of modes - SSB, CW, RTTY, PSK63, PSK125 and even some PSK31!
|My Miguel de Cervantes (AN400) platinum certificate.|
For a couple of weeks I was working AN400 stations one after the other, on various bands and modes, using a maximum of 100 watts due to the inoperable Acom. While some of these QSOs required a fair bit of time and effort because getting through pile-ups with 100w is not as easy as with 400w, some of them were nice and handy. I made several contacts with the Spanish stations on 10m and 12m during fleeting openings. I even managed a few QSOs on top band (160m), which is a hell of a challenge from this QTH using my paltry antenna system.
I soon qualified for the silver and gold awards, but kept going until I had also received the platinum award (pictured). But, seeing how Declan EI6FR was top of the EI table for the number of QSOs, I set my sights on coming in second place, and as the days went by I managed to get further up the table until I was in second place. Then I was overtaken by Seamus EI3KE, but this put the fight on me so I gave it as much time and effort as possible and when the programme ended last Sunday, I had finished in second place (with 256 QSOs) behind my good radio friend and one of my mentors, Declan EI6FR. Hard luck but also well done to Seamus EI3KE on finishing third. There were over 300 EI stations in the AN400 log.
I'm delighted to say that I now have the Acom 1000 back in the shack, fully working, after a quick and expert repair by Oleg EI7KD. Oleg builds linear amplifiers and is a real genius when it comes to diagnosing and repairing such things. As it happens, the GU74b tube had gone. Oleg quickly sourced a (new) replacement and had it working again in a jiffy. I am greatly indebted to him for this repair.
|The Acom 1000 linear amplifier back in the shack after repair by EI7KD.|
The Acom has helped me work the S9YY Sao Tome dxpedition on a few bands, most significantly 40m (CW), on which I had never worked S9 before. I also put the AT2SL IOTA dxpedition (AS-176) in my log on both 17m RTTY and 20m CW. So thanks again Oleg. I first met Oleg through Thos EI2JD when we did some contesting together with the EI0W contest team in Clogherhead. Oleg is a CW wizard - able to run 40wpm runs in contests, all using the key and not with the aid of the computer. I am in awe of his abilities.
Anyway, I was hoping to track down the T31T Central Kiribati dxpedition as an all-time new one, but so far have been unable to hear them. Fingers crossed......