Following hot on the heels of working Cameroon for the first time ever last weekend, I am able to report putting another two brand new African countries into my log. Of course by new I mean I haven't worked them before. They're not newly formed countries or anything - they've been there for a while! :D
On Friday evening down in the shack of Thos EI2JD in Clogherhead I had the advantage of a 3-element SteppIR and 400 watts of juice. Oddly enough even at 5.30pm the 20 metre band was dead, even to the States. There was nothing to be heard anywhere - except for this one, solitary signal, on the CW portion of the band.
There, I could hear 5T0JL, coming up to a 579 and even a 599 at times. Jean, originally from France, is the ONLY licenced amateur in Mauritania, a country that I hardly even knew existed. After just a few attempts, I made it through the EU pile who were calling him, doubtless looking for that rare DXCC just like I was. I had a short QSO with Jean - we exchanged operator names and I told him I was located "nr Dublin". It was great to get him, a brand new country for me, and a rare one at that. So I came home from Clogherhead with a smile on my face.
But the story doesn't end there, because on Saturday I noticed a couple of African stations spotted on 30 metres CW. One was ST2AR in Sudan, who I have already worked on 12m CW, 15m RTTY, 17m CW and 15m CW and confirmed on the first three of those four slots. I nabbed him after a few calls, a new country on 30 metres. Soon after that I was listening in on J28AA, in Djibouti, on the same band. Within a short time I was hearing EI2CC (he had my call slightly wrong initially) coming back at me. I gave him EI2KC a few times and before you know it I had another brand new DXCC in my log and of course a new one on 30m.
So Cameroon, Mauritania and Djibouti all landed into the EI2KC log within a week. Nice.
Other highlights of the weekend include getting another new country on 12m during a CQ which surprisingly drew a lot of traffic. The band seemed to be open on Saturday morning. The new one was ER3DX - Moldova, bringing my 12m total DXCC count worked to 69.
Not all new DXCCs worked were in Africa either. I nabbed SV2ASP/A, Monk Apollo on Mount Athos, surprisingly easily on 17m SSB. He was working a 20kc split - calling on 18.115 and listening on 18.135. I nabbed him after just two calls and put another brand new DXCC into my log. I've never worked SV-A before so that was another great thrill.
On Sunday morning I put HV0A (Vatican City) into the log on 20m SSB. Even more astonishing was the fact that I got him on first call with my 100 watts and Butternut, beating a hefty European pile. Great stuff. I love when it happens like that!!
Interestingly I heard VK9XN on 30m CW but didn't have the time to sit trying to bust the intense pile-up calling him 1 kc up. But it was nice to even hear Christmas Island at all to be honest!
A couple of special event calls made it into the log too - PR150PLM in Brazil on 30m CW and DQ1175E on the same band and mode.
In the meantime, I have worked 5N50K in Nigeria quite a lot during 2010 - now he has lost the zero and is just 5N5K. I've just put him in the log on 30m CW (Sunday night) having worked him on Friday from Thos's station on 20m CW. A great op and always hears my call even when it's weak. I've recently sent Nikola a card so I look forward to receiving his card back for numerous band slots.