ARRL-DX-CW 2015

arrl-dx-cw-2012It does not feel that long ago since I wrote about 2014’s ARRL-DX-CW contest in this blog. Another year is gone … wow, time’s really flying by! So I practised my poor CW again last weekend. ;)

Had a good night’s sleep Friday to Saturday. With lots of heavy QRL during the whole week I was not in the mood to start the contest right away at 0z. But I set the alarm clock to 4z to at least take advantage of the greyline propagation on the low bands. And boy, condx were really great! Made some 60 QSOs into North America in just one hour on 80 m! This is what I usually work during a whole contest on that band – if I’m lucky! 40 m was great, too, propagation even reached to the West Coast and a few AZ & CA guys were really loud. Went back to bed at 8z.

At the station again at 10:30z to work the high bands. Did about 98% only S&P or rather C&P (click & pounce) ;) on Saturday and concentrated on collecting all the juicy mults, i.e. US states and Canadian provinces. Condx on the upper bands were not really good, only made some 130 QSOs on 10 m on Saturday. The band opened just very selectively. Back to bed at 20:30z with 675 QSOs on the first day.

Got up at 0:30z Sunday morning for another low band session. Condx not as good as the day before anymore but still quite nice and lots of folks to work, good activity! Would not have thought it would ever be possible to work over 500 low band QSOs into North America in one single contest! Might be low figures for others but big score for me … just using low dipoles overhere (80 m dipole Inv-V at 16 m height, 40 m Inv-V @ 14 m) that have a high elevation angle and are rather suited for NVIS than for DX. ;) Back to bed at 7:30z.

Into the game again for the “final spurt” at 11:15z. High band condx much better now! Had some great fun running on 10 m Sunday afternoon. Even worked a few West Coast guys although I cannot compete with the guys in Southern and Western Germany on that matter. Yes, location matters! ;) Went down to 15 m after 10 m had dried out at 18z and had lots of fun there, too. Fantastic signals from the West Coast, maybe I should have changed bands an hour earlier already. Whole Sunday about 85% run operation. Down to 20 m after 15 m had died (20z) and could still run there until 22:30z. Would not have expected that. Another short C&P session through the bandmap before QSYing down to 40 m for the last 2 hours with an occasional QSO on 80 m in-between. Rate dropped a lot so was short of quitting. But kept my butt in the chair until the end using small motivation techniques, i.e. setting reachable goals like working a full 300 Q’s on 40 m (was at 290 then with rate near zero), then 310 afterwards … or 1.650 Q’s in total, then 1.666 Q’s for a nice number, a.s.o. ;)

All in all lots of fun and an enjoyable time. Sure with a little less sleep and also some running on Saturday 2.000 QSOs would have been in reach. Also some optimization potential concerning breaks. After all it does not matter as much on CW as on SSB if you’re eating pizza while operating radio, does it? :) And sometime we *really* have to install some DX-optimized low band antennas …

                    ARRL DX Contest, CW

Call: DH8BQA

Class: SO Unlimited HP
QTH: JO73ce
Operating Time (hrs): 34

Summary:
 Band  QSOs  Mults
-------------------
  160:   15     9
   80:  182    41
   40:  311    48
   20:  378    57
   15:  342    55
   10:  440    52
-------------------
Total: 1668   262  Total Score = 1,311,048

Comments:
Elecraft K3, KPA500 & low dipoles (80/40) plus beams (20/15/10).

SH5 analysis available here.
Posted in Antennas, Contesting, DX | Comments Off

TI9 – Cocos Island #302

Just saw that working TI9/3Z9DX was another ATNO so up to 302 now. Seems a great start into the new DX year with 4 new ones within 6 weeks but I suppose it will not continue at that speed being over 300 now. ;)

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Weak and short Aurora opening this evening

Had a very small and weak Aurora opening on 2 m this evening. Did not last longer than 20 minutes. The SK4MPI Aurora warning beacon was barely audible via Aurora which is quite unusual even in weak openings. Elsewise only heard & worked 2 stations, both big guys who are normally much much stronger …

------------------------------------------------------------------
 TIME  CALLSIGN        LOCATOR TX      RX      BAND  MODE      QRB
------------------------------------------------------------------
18:55  SM4IVE          JO79SD  57A      55A    2 m.  CW        667
18:59  SM4GGC          JO69RK  52A      55A    2 m.  CW        696
------------------------------------------------------------------

Lars, SM4IVE, CQing on CW via Aurora:

Posted in Audio recordings, DX, Propagation, VHF | Comments Off

CQ-WPX-RTTY 2015

Another RTTY contest is history. After I was rather disappointed after last year’s CQ-WWDX-RTTY this one was real fun! Uwe, DL3BQA, was going to use our station as the 1st OP again and had the choice of band. He decided to go single band for several reasons and chose 15 m. I had not planned to do a serious effort, just handing out a few points remotely every now and then besides other weekend activity plans. To maximize points for our BCC club entry it should be an SO4B (Single Operator 4 Bands ;)) entry then.

Condx were really good! Who would have expected that 10 m would still be this good and even open to the US West Coast? Japan was easy going Saturday morning already, that was a first indication of how good propagation would be going to be. Neither sunspot numbers nor the solar flux were extraordinarily high but a calm sun, low A- & K-index and no Aurora helped to provide good propagation. Sorrily I could only spent 2 hours Saturday morning so missed most of the fun dir East. Was back when the band opened into the U.S. and had lots of fun running on 10 m. No, I won’t repeat now for the umpteenth time that I’m a 10 m addict, you certainly know that by now. ;) Rates were good enough to keep me awake. :) I have been told by seasoned RTTY operators that participating from DL everything > 50 QSOs/hour is really good and > 60 fantastic and seldomly seen. Well, my best hour was 68/h, best 30 min 80/h (details are here). If I did the math right I had an > 4 hour average of 62/h while running one frequency from 13:07z to 17:22z doing 262 QSOs in that time frame. ;) Clearly speaks for great condx and people enjoying 10 m as long as it lasts!

Although there were fewer JA contacts on Sunday compared to Saturday I felt Sunday had even better propagation. The band was open almost an hour longer and had more and stronger West Coast signals. In total 40 “zone 3″ stations were worked, wow! Really didn’t expect that. I could even decode KH7XX a few times on short path (albeit skewed path, best at 330° instead of the direct 352°) Sunday evening! U.S. runs were “not as good” as on Saturday but hey, who am I to complain about a 50/h average over 4 1/2 hours on RTTY? ;)

After I returned to the station Sunday evening and Uwe had already left (he had completed his max allowed op time of 30 hours) 15 m still showed activity so I could even do a few QSOs there making it effectively an SO4,5B entry. ;) The band was still nicely open after 21z but did not produce any runs so I soon QSYed down. 20 & 40 m were not much better. Both bands full of stations but I couldn’t get a run going. Using 500 W into a 4 ele Yagi simply does not cut it on 20 m during contests. The combination works quite nicely when chasing DXpeditions, though! So I QSY’ed to 80 m for the last 1 1/2 hours of the contest and could maintain an average of 61/h. Maybe I should have gone there earlier already …

All in all a total of 1.283 QSOs were made “casually” ;) in less than the allowed op time. Sorrily there were a number of dupes who called Saturday and Sunday and both times confirmed they had my call correct! Wonder why … would understand that in CW or SSB and people possibly paper-logging but in RTTY when you are running the computer anyway I would expect people to use a computer log, too?! Weird …

                    CQ WW RTTY WPX Contest

Call: DH8BQA

Class: SOAB HP
QTH: JO73ce
Operating Time (hrs): 28:30

Summary:
 Band  QSOs
------------
   80:  191
   40:  114
   20:  138
   15:   12
   10:  800
------------
Total: 1255  Prefixes = 638  Total Score = 2,325,510

Club: Bavarian Contest Club

Comments:
Elecraft K3, KPA500, beams & dipoles

Now keeping fingers crossed condx will hold until next weekend. Should be fun in the ARRLDX-CW then. ;)

Posted in Contesting, Propagation | Comments Off

Tropo – the final

tropo-12z-12.02Taking the F5LEN tropo forecast into account I anticipated the tropo would move further east this morning and then start to vanish. Today is Fat Thursday in the Cologne carnival which means we only have to work half-day. What a nice coincidence! ;) As I’m not much into all the carnival stuff I used the chance to be back home early and switch on the remote station again. Early enough to still be able to do a few more tropo QSOs. ;) As forecasted the tropo moved further East again but it also started to vanish already. There was much QSB this time, especially in all the QSOs into Lithuania. OH2 and ES seemed more stable but these guys soon started to disappear, too. Didn’t expect to work Jussi, OH5LK, at that time anymore, as the OH2VHF beacon had vanished about an hour earlier. Interestingly it returned about 20 minutes after the QSO with Jussi for a few minutes being very strong (see audio recording below) before going down into the noise again. All tropo was gone by 14z overhere so I was very astonished to find YL2GD CQing in the evening. Did a quick QSO and he was gone about 5 minutes later again and since then the band stayed “dead”. So some nice tropo finally ended with 70 QSOs in the log. I really enjoyed it! All QSOs were done with about 650-700 W into a 9 ele LFA Yagi. This afternoon I switched down to shortwave once after I saw K1N beeing spotted on RTTY. Heard and saw the mess and immediately switched back to 2 m. VHF, Yours is My Heart Alone. ;)

------------------------------------------------------------------
 TIME  CALLSIGN        LOCATOR TX      RX      BAND  MODE      QRB
------------------------------------------------------------------
11:32  ES1CW           KO29HK  529     599     2 m.  CW        944
11:33  ES3RF           KO29IF  559     569     2 m.  CW        932
11:38  YL2FZ           KO37QI  549     579     2 m.  CW        952
11:46  YL3IQ           KO17OD  539     599     2 m.  CW        720
11:49  R2FAD           KOØ4FW  549     579     2 m.  CW        452
11:51  LY2LE           KO24OQ  559     579     2 m.  CW        738
11:58  LY1CO           KO15XG  539     539     2 m.  CW        674
12:01  LY1CR           KO15CL  569     579     2 m.  CW        577
12:03  OK1FFW          JN69JK  539     559     2 m.  CW        428
12:07  OH2AUK          KO19TX  579     599     2 m.  CW        948
12:19  YL2AJ           KO16OX  579     559     2 m.  CW        710
12:23  OH2AXH          KP2ØOK  52      52      2 m.  SSB      1045
13:00  LY2CH           KO15OV  559     579     2 m.  CW        653
13:02  YL2QW           KO17OD  529     559     2 m.  CW        720
13:04  LY2HM           KO15CX  519     559     2 m.  CW        601
13:07  SKØEN           JO99JX  57      59      2 m.  SSB       805
13:10  SMØFZH          JO99HI  57      59      2 m.  SSB       737
13:14  SP1JQJ          JO73GJ  59      59      2 m.  SSB        32
13:27  OH5LK           KP3ØON  55      55      2 m.  SSB      1134
18:15  YL2GD           KO37ML  529     559     2 m.  CW        939
------------------------------------------------------------------

Jussi, OH5LK, CQing on CW:

OH2VHF/B, very strong for a few minutes:

Posted in Audio recordings, DX, Propagation, VHF | Comments Off

More tropo and square #507 on 2 m

tropo-18z     tropo-00z

Seems I was correct with my yesterday’s assumption concerning tropo moving. ;) Sorrily I was rather under the duct tonight thus the really big distance contacts where done i.e. from LAØBY down into 9A & S5 over 1.600 km, and between G/PA and OH, even on 70 cm! EI3KD reported hearing the SK1UHF 70 cm beacon on Gotland, that’s a whopping 1.800 km! A pity nobody of the SM1 guys was on to provide him with a QSO. These are the moments where I wish to be QRV on 70 cm again but taking it seriously, is it worth it for that one big tropo once every 10 years? ;) Also read that EI3KD finally worked SP4MPB on 2 m, that’s almost 2.000 km on tropo! Amazing …

Only did a few QSOs myself as I had some other things to do besides radio. But signals were great most of the time! Did a few more audio recordings, see below. Nice to catch SM4DXO in JP71! It’s been a very long time since I worked a new square on tropo. ;-)

Also remembered reading about a new tropo forecasting website in the past. A quick Google search revealed F5LEN’s refractive index forecast for Europe. It seems to be much more accurate than Hepburn’s tropo index. The two pictures above show the forecasts for 18z and midnight and are sorta identical to my experience on the band.

------------------------------------------------------------------
TIME   CALLSIGN        LOCATOR TX      RX      BAND  MODE      QRB
------------------------------------------------------------------
17:17  OZ5AGJ          JO47IA  59      59      2 m.  SSB       551
19:40  SM4GGC          JO69RK  59      59      2 m.  SSB       696
19:46  SM4BDQ          JP8ØFG  59      59      2 m.  SSB       799
20:20  SM4DXO          JP71SB  57      59      2 m.  SSB       879
20:44  LAØBY           JO59IX  59      59      2 m.  SSB       785
21:14  LA6LCA          JO59FE  59      59      2 m.  SSB       706
21:53  OH1UM           KPØ1UL  59      59      2 m.  SSB      1024
21:56  OH1ND           KPØØXL  59      59      2 m.  SSB       936
22:04  OH1XT           KPØ1UK  559     599     2 m.  CW       1020
22:11  SM7WW           JO65OR  59      59      2 m.  SSB       290
22:15  OH1OP           KP1ØGL  52      59      2 m.  SSB       954
------------------------------------------------------------------

SM4BDQ:

OH1XT:

OH1ND:

SK1VHF/B, the Gotland beacon:

SK4MPI/B, the Aurora warning beacon, this time on tropo for a change: ;)

Posted in Audio recordings, DX, Propagation, VHF | Comments Off

Nice 2 m tropo opening tonight

Coming home after work today I saw a few spots on the cluster that looked like a bit of tropo enhancement between the UK and Western Europe. So I switched on the radio to check condx and boy, was lucky I did so! ;) Had a nice tropo opening and made some 40 QSOs, the “better ones” are listed below. Nice to experience a small “mini pileup” from western France with great distances! Interestingly the closer UK stations, i.e. G4SWX from JO02, came in best from 240°, i.e. beaming central France. It seems there was a very strong tropo scatter point down there or maybe the entry into the duct. John reported the same, he had to beam more southerly to get me strongest. There’s still something magic to VHF … I like it! :)

------------------------------------------------------------------
TIME   CALLSIGN        LOCATOR TX      RX      BAND  MODE      QRB
------------------------------------------------------------------
16:37  G8GXP           IO93FQ  57      59      2 m.  SSB      1042
16:43  GØODR           JOØ2OP  51      53      2 m.  SSB       872
16:45  G4RRA           IO8ØBS  54      55      2 m.  SSB      1263
16:47  G3SMT           IO82KV  59      59      2 m.  SSB      1156
16:48  FØGWK           IN88CM  57      55      2 m.  SSB      1361
16:53  F6KHM           IN78RJ  549     55      2 m.  SSB/CW   1416
16:53  F1AKK           IN78RJ  549     55      2 m.  SSB/CW   1416
16:54  F6FGQ           IN78QJ  52      52      2 m.  SSB      1421
16:56  F8BRK           IN99VF  56      55      2 m.  SSB      1094
16:56  F8FKJ           IN78RJ  51      51      2 m.  SSB      1416
16:57  G4SWX           JOØ2RF  59      59      2 m.  SSB       864
16:59  FØGWK           IN88CM  55      57      2 m.  SSB      1361
17:11  PA4VHF          JO32JE  599     599     2 m.  CW        512
17:13  F5DQK           JN18GR  529     519     2 m.  CW        954
17:17  G4DHF           IO92UU  559     559     2 m.  CW        969
17:34  G4DCV           IO91OF  559     559     2 m.  CW       1043
17:39  G7RAU           IO9ØIR  579     579     2 m.  CW       1094
17:48  G4MKF           IO91HJ  549     559     2 m.  CW       1076
17:56  DK9TF           JO31NF  599     559     2 m.  CW        529
17:58  F4JVG           JN16NL  41      52      2 m.  SSB      1088
18:00  DL4EBV          JO31HK  55      56      2 m.  SSB       551
18:02  FØFIG           JO1ØJE  51      51      2 m.  SSB       853
18:07  F5XU            JN15MT  52      52      2 m.  SSB      1147
18:12  DFØFHK          JO3ØLW  559     539     2 m.  CW        555
18:15  PD1AHM          JO21WF  57      55      2 m.  SSB       608
18:39  G4EAT           JOØ1HR  57      57      2 m.  SSB       933
18:41  GØGXT           IO82RF  52      55      2 m.  SSB      1130
19:20  PAØDDB          JO32KE  55      55      2 m.  SSB       506
20:36  G4EHD           IO93BS  55      58      2 m.  SSB      1064
20:58  GM8FFX          IO87WB  55      56      2 m.  SSB      1120
21:07  F6DCD           JN38RQ  55      57      2 m.  SSB       688
22:13  G4WJS           IO91NP  52      55      2 m.  SSB      1035
22:25  F4EHG           JN18EQ  53      55      2 m.  SSB       966
22:35  ON5AEN          JO1ØVW  56      56      2 m.  SSB       754
22:43  GM4AFF          IO86TS  539     519     2 m.  CW       1127
22:46  GM4AFF          IO86TS  56      57      2 m.  SSB      1127
------------------------------------------------------------------

Didn’t think of switching on the MP3 recorder until late in the evening so just a few audio recordings this time …

GB3ANG/B, beacon 1.158 km away:

GM4AFF, Stewart, 1.127 km away, working Sandro, DD3SP:

GM8FFX, 1.120 km, struggling to work SQ1FYB QRP station:

Taking the weather reports into account the tropo will certainly shift eastwards tomorrow. So it might be possible to work into Scandinavia then. Keeping fingers crossed and looking already forward to returning from QRL tomorrow evening. ;)

Posted in Audio recordings, DX, Propagation, VHF | Comments Off

ZL7 – Chatham Islands #301

Worked another ATNO today! :) ZL7/F8FUA is currently on holiday there and took a K3 and a Buddipole with him. Already heard him yesterday on 20 m SSB but lots of QRM and weak signals. He was still weak today, i.e. 41 on average and peaking 52 a few times, and had a big pileup. Couldn’t get through so left for the kitchen to prepare lunch. When getting back I was astonished not hearing anything anymore when he suddenly starting CQing again without any pileup! Took my chance to put him in the log then although I had to repeat my call 2 times until he got it okay (500 W + 4 ele Yagi here, 100 W and the shortened dipole overthere). He was spotted about 30 seconds later on the cluster and hell broke loose again. Lucky me! ;)

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KP1 – Navassa Island #300

k1nlogoNow that the Navassa expedition has been on for a few days I found a little time to chase them. Pileups are immense and it took a while to put them in the log for an ATNO. But what really bothers me is the bad pileup discipline. Even if the guys are calling particular stations everybody is still calling and calling and calling making it worse for everybody as it really slows things down! Equally bad are all the “cops” on the expedition frequency. They make much more QRM than the poor guy that forgot to switch on split or forgot to switch VFOs again. And not to forget the intentional QRMers! :( And then we got all the cluster spots! The packet cluster used to be an aid to find rare DX and unusual stations in the past. Nowadays most spots are of the “Hey, see I’m a hero, I just worked them!” fashion and only attract more lids! More than once I wished the cluster system would simply be switched off. It’s a shame what can be heard in the pileups nowadays. This weekend is especially bad. I took some time to just monitor the spectacle and finally switched the radio off as I was really ashamed and disappointed. :(

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Nice trans-polar 10 m opening this morning

Had a great trans-polar 10 m opening this morning. Worked KL7XU who was peaking 59 and said he was waiting for that opening for 12 years. ;) WL7E had a nice signal on CW, too, but was only working (or not) FOC members in the closed FOC contest. Both had nice auroral flutter on their signals! Made a few audio recordings so you can listen for yourself. A pity not more guys were on …

KL7XU, Frank, 10 m SSB, suffering from bad pileup discipline, then getting upset:

WL7E, 10 m CW, FOC members only:

Posted in Audio recordings, DX, Propagation | Comments Off

RUSDX 2014 contest certificate

rusdx-2014-dh8bqaWell, it’s been a busy time receiving awards recently. ;) After it took well over 2 years to receive my RUSDX 2012 certificates the guys from Russia where much faster this time! RUSDX 2014 sure was fun but I did not expect to receive a contest certificate as I just placed 2nd in Germany. Maybe the “certificate of merit” when doing more than a certain number of QSOs as written in the rules looks exactly like the 1st place certificates. ;)

Posted in Awards, Contesting | Comments Off

Triple Play WAS received

triple-play-was-dh8bqaAnother award received a few days ago was my Triple Play WAS (Worked All States) Award requiring LotW (Logbook of the World) confirmations of all 50 USA states in CW, phone & digital modes. Having just recently started using RTTY more intensively it was quite a challenge to first work all 50 states on digital modes and then also be lucky to have worked guys who confirm thru LotW. What made it a lot easier were the W1AW portable activities that provided about 80% of all needed QSOs & confirmations. Now waiting for ARRL to open the application process for the W1AW portable WAS award, too …

Posted in Awards, DX | Comments Off

EURD-TROPHY

100_1196It’s a been a few weeks already since I received my EURD trophy but no time for a photo yet. ;) It’s the highest class of the EURD – the “Europa-RTTY-Diplom” issued by DARC requiring confirmations of RTTY QSOs with 250 different prefixes from 50 WAEs. Applied for it through DCL again using just electronic confirmations imported from LotW. Really easy going and although it sounds difficult to achieve in fact it was quite easy doing a few RTTY contests last year. Big advantage is that most RTTY operators are “naturally” using electronic QSL means, too. The trophy is made of 10 mm thick plexiglass but looks like massive glass. It’s only “drawback” is as it is transparent you need some “contrast” in the background to get it’s full beauty. ;)

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CQ-WW-160-CW & BARTG-Sprint contests

Managed to squeeze in a few Top Band QSOs every now and then besides other obligations. Could only do S&P using the TRX internal memories (called up by CAT commands from N1MMLogger+) on 160 m as I was producing RFI into the remote, i.e. could not get remotely generated CW over the line. A known problem overhere and tried to cure it already but no joy. A problem with the router but only that model available/supported by the provider. No biggie for the few QSOs I might do on 160 remotely anyway. ;)

                   CQ 160-Meter Contest, CW

Call: DH8BQA

Class: Single Op Assisted HP
QTH: JO73ce
Operating Time (hrs): 5:30

Summary:
Total:  QSOs = 333   State/Prov = 0  Countries = 48

Total Score = 73,872

Club: Bavarian Contest Club

Comments:
Just a bit of S&P'ing ... Elecraft K3, KPA500 + 160m lazy loop.

Besides this also did a few QSOs in the BARTG sprint contest. Would have expected more activity so was a bit disappointed. Had a good time Saturday evening on 80 m with good rates and then again on 20 m during the last hour. Besides this it was rather boring …

                    BARTG RTTY Sprint

Call: DH8BQA
Class: Single Op HP
QTH: JO73ce
Operating Time (hrs): 6:30

Summary:
 Band  QSOs
------------
   80:   88
   40:    5
   20:  117
   15:   84
   10:   25
------------
Total:  319  Mults = 61  Continents = 6  Total Score = 116,754

Comments:
Elecraft K3, KPA500, beams & dipoles
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EP – Iran #299

Just saw that working EP3HF after the 10 m contest on 15 m SSB yesterday provided another new DXCC for me … #299 in the log. :) I’m certainly not going to send $10 + 1 IRC to get a card from him but will wait for the upcoming EP6T expedition instead and try to work them for a safe LoTW confirmation as well as using the great MØURX OQRS service for a paper card then. ;)

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First contest of the year: DARC-10M

Many thanks to Heiko, DG1BHA, for leaving this “contest slot” to me. Normally he’s using our station for this one as it does not make much sense to drive 2 x 700 km for a 2 hour contest. Sure, I’m crazy for contesting but certainly not *that* crazy. ;-) This weekend was different as I was overhere (JO73) anyway as I’m going to visit my grandma at the Baltic Sea who turns 88 tomorrow. Due to some other circumstances, too, I thus had the chance to do the contest.

You need to work lots of German DOKs for mults thus have to rely on good backscatter. Best scatter points are between 80° and 120° this time of the day but we still have some noise into that direction that makes weak signal copy difficult. Besides this I used a frequency that was obviously used by somebody else, too, whom I could not hear (there were a number of callers out of sync, ooops). And then the radar set in, too. So I really had a bad start for the first 20 minutes wasting precious time until I finally got going higher in the band. Rate was okay then beaming 230° for the second best backscatter direction without additional noise (despite 2 short phases with static noise of S9 due to heavy rain which made copy difficult, too). Spent the last 15 minutes on CW (after the rate dropped significantly on SSB) and hoped for a nice pileup being fresh meat there but that didn’t happen either. At least a few new mults called in …

I had 2 goals: a.) Doing 200 QSOs and b.) reaching 20k points. I surpassed 20k points with a good margin but was short of QSOs compared to my goal. Well, reasons are above … isn’t it good to have some excuses? :)

Let’s see, if all goes well it should be good enough for a TOP10 spot …

                    DARC 10-Meter Contest

Call: DH8BQA

Class: SO Mixed HP
QTH: JO73ce
Operating Time (hrs): 2

Summary:
 Band  QSOs
------------
   CW:   13
  SSB:  166
------------
Total:  179  Mults = 137  Total Score = 24,523
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Aurora this afternoon

Certainly not too good for HF propagation and all the guys doing the ARRL RTTY Roundup this weekend but a nice start into the new year for the VHF fans. ;-)

QSO by DH8BQA on 2 m.
Type of propagation: AUR        Mode: All mode
From 04/01/2015 to 04/01/2015     Distance over: 0 Km.     Page: 1
------------------------------------------------------------------
 DATE       TIME   CALLSIGN      LOCATOR  TX  RX    MODE       QRB
------------------------------------------------------------------
04/01/2015  16:34  OH2KW         KP2ØIJ   55A 57A   CW        1023
04/01/2015  16:41  LA8AV         JO59CS   57A 59A   CW         772
04/01/2015  16:43  SM4IVE        JO79SD   57A 59A   CW         667
04/01/2015  16:47  LA3BO         JO59CD   57A 59A   CW         707
04/01/2015  16:52  SM4AIQ        JO79BH   59A 59A   CW         681
04/01/2015  16:53  SM4DYQ        JO79MM   59A 59A   CW         706
04/01/2015  16:55  SM5DXR        JO89FO   55A 59A   CW         726
04/01/2015  17:19  LAØBY         JO59FW   57A 55A   CW         784
04/01/2015  17:22  SMØNKZ        JO99IQ   59A 59A   CW         773
04/01/2015  17:33  SM7GVF        JO77GA   57A 56A   CW         427
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Number of QSO listed: 10
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A few 2014 statistics

Now that 2014 is history time has come to do some statistical work. ;) As already mentioned before this has been my most “radio active” year so far. I made almost 23.000 QSOs in total: 17.845 as DH8BQA, 2.816 as DM5ØPCK special event station op, 1.758 as NT3S from NJ, plus a bunch more operating DFØFA and DAØHQ during VHF contests where I didn’t keep track of how many QSOs exactly done by myself.

BQA-2014My own activity in Germany resulted in 20.661 QSOs from our station in JO73ce, either locally (13.497 QSOs) or remotely (7.164 QSOs). 237 DXCCs were worked although I didn’t pay any special attention to work as many countries as possible. The band by band breakdown shows a clear preference for “ten”, mainly due to all the contest QSOs but also the “daily DX” was focused on 10 m. Evidence for my addiction to the band as mentioned on this blog before. If it wasn’t 10 m then focus was on 15 m, especially during contests. You simply have to use the good condx in sunspot maximum (although a rather low max this time). The low bands will get some more focus in 2-3 years again. ;) There’s some more potential for the WARC bands, too …

It was a bad year for 6 m. My totals on six are usually a bit higher but it was the worst Sporadic E season I remember. 2 m was a bit down from my yearly average as well. Reason is we activated DAØHQ in July contest which I usually do single op so missed those QSOs last year. On the other hand I was quite active on Meteor Scatter during the Perseids meteor shower at least …

Let’s see what 2015 brings along. Good luck & good DX everybody!

PS: If you wonder why the graph is missing a QSO (you did count them together, didn’t you? :)): I also made my first 9 cm = 3,4 GHz QSO last year (Heiko built up a new microwave station we had to test drive) that’s not in the picture above. ;)

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W1AW portable worked in all states and overseas territories

I’m glad to report I have now worked all W1AW portable states with IA (Iowa) being the last one this week. So my qualification for the “Worked all States with W1AW” award, all the territorial stickers and the plaque is finally finished. :)

HPM-W1AW-logoTo celebrate it’s Centennial ARRL’s (American Radio Relay League) headquarter & Hiram Percy Maxim (ARRL founder, pictured left) Memorial station W1AW was active twice from every of the 50 US states as well as the District of Columbia and most of the US overseas territories like KH0, KH2, KH8, etc. during 2014.

I had missed quite a number of those activations at the beginning of this year so had to hurry to catch the missing states during the second round. The most difficult one has been HI (Hawaii) with W1AW/KH6 last week. Condx were very bad and the path goes directly over the North Pole. With Aurora condx almost every day and running relatively low power (a small KPA500 with 600 watts … compare that to all those Italian amps ;)) it was a real challenge with generally very weak signals and all of Europe calling (and really bad pileup discipline :-(). Furthermore openings were short: 20 m was open between here and Hawaii for just 50 minutes daily and only 20 mins with reasonable signals, i.e. more than s1 or s2. I heard them one day with up to 57 on 20 m SSB for about 10 minutes but no chance at all. But I was lucky enough to catch them on 40 m CW as well as 20 m CW & RTTY. That RTTY QSO also provided my last missing state for the “Triple Play WAS“. :) Calling 1 kHz above the pileup was key on RTTY (they simply could not decode anything with all of Europe calling at once) while on CW I was fortunate to recognize they moved their TX frequency during transmit up 1 kHz to get away from the simplex pileup and start all over with split. Luckily nobody else recognized it that moment so with 2 or 3 callsign repeats (Did I mention weak condx already?) I made it into their log. :)

All in all it was great fun chasing the W1AW portable stations throughout the year. I worked them on over 500 band/mode slots (might provide some more detailed statistics later on). To be honest this activity was the reason to switch the radio on so regularly on my side. Without it I’m sure I would not have been as active as was the case this year. So thanks ARRL and thanks all you great W1AW portable hosts and operators!

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Merry Christmas everybody!

Wishing all of my blog readers a very Merry Christmas and already now a happy New Year! May all your wishes come true and for all of us let’s keep fingers crossed for some more good condx and lots of DX and contest QSOs. ;)

Merry-Xmas

News overhere is I basically finished moving house living in the new location now since one week. Still have to unpack a few moving boxes but that is all less important stuff, i.e. old paperwork, all the hobby electronics like soldering station, project PCBs, PIC programmer, a.s.o., that can certainly wait until January. ;) Drove up to JO73 yesterday evening and was astonished streets were almost empty. Usually 23rd December is one of the worst days on the German highways but it seems I was very lucky this time, not a single traffic jam at all. ;) Looking forward to spend some time with the family as well as friends and maybe having a bit time to do a few more contacts on the radio, too. Also looking forward to our local contest group’s end of year party that traditionally takes place on 27th December and attracts quite a number of our local amateurs. Will certainly have some interesting talks again …

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