There's a fairly popular DXPedition on right now. The whole world is listening, up and down the bands, for the sound of ZL8X, in either voice, or CW, or even digital. Yes, Kermadec Island is on the air.
As of this moment in time, there are just nine Echo India calls in his log. Three of them - EI7BA, EI9O and EI8H - have worked ZL8X three times already! All the others, including EI9FBB, holder of EI's first and only ten band DXCC, have them once.
And poor me? Not at all. Not only have I not worked them, I'll be honest in saying that I haven't been able to hear them most of the time. There were fleeting moments on Sunday when I heard ZL8X on CW on 40m and 30m, but they were extremely weak in QSB and the pile-ups above them - as much as 10kc up, were massive.
The challenge for me right now, considering I have no ZL whatsoever in my log, is to get them, even if only just once!! And what arrived via the bureau in recent days, in amongst 122 cards from various nations? Only a card from 3W6C, Con Co Island DXpedition in Vietnam, which I worked - just the once! - back in April. It was a timely reminder that just one contact can make the difference between working that new DXCC or not.
So I will take that as my inspiration as I try to get ZL8X into my log at least once before they wind up there in early December. By the way, the best grey-line time for working them on Sunday was 4.30pm Irish time. Sunset here, sunrise there. Because I work during the day, that's a grey-line opening I'm going to miss most days. Plus there's CQWW CW this weekend which will probably obliterate the bands. So it's going to be a challenge, no doubt.
If I find myself coming up to December 5th and with no ZL8 in the log, I will have to resort to other tactics, which may include visiting a couple of local "big-gun" shacks and getting them portable!! I'll let you know how I get on.
Other interesting DX on right now includes D44AC - Cape Verde - who I worked on 40m and 20m CW last night, giving me a new entity on both bands. Also there's C50C in the Gambia who's been working big pile-ups on 40 SSB over the past couple of nights.