CQ WWDX SSB 2018

Another WWDX-SSB is in the books. I decided to do SOSB15(A) as condx before the contest were surprisingly good and hoped it would stay like this during the weekend. I was indeed very astonished when working a bunch of JAs on Saturday morning! 😎 I had expected to work some US East Cost during the afternoon but the path to Japan is quite a bit more northerly so this was rather unexpected and a very positive experience. 🙂 Not so positive was that the North America opening Saturday afternoon only lasted for about an hour before the band closed into that direction. It was open a little longer to South America but you soon run out of station to work into that direction. Last QSO was at 17:11z, only very weak SA stations audible afterwards until the band closed completely.

Imagine how surprised I was when seeing cluster spots of FY5KE making it into Europe on 10 m. Curious as I am 😉 I switched to 28 Mhz (as 21 MHz was already closed) and lo and behold there he really was! Not stronger than a 4/1 report but with his good ears it did not take much effort to work him. 😎 Immediately afterwards I went back to 15 m and checked the band again but it was still as before, no useful signals on the band anymore. Sometimes propagation is really strange … 😀 Went to bed with 400 QSOs in the log. Not too bad as my goal was something between 400 and 500 taking results from previous sunspot minima into account …

Sunday morning brought an even earlier opening to Japan with even stronger signals than Saturday! I was really amazed and happy about it. Working 74 x JA is definitely much more than expected this low in the sunspot cycle! Actually I did not expect to work any JA at all! So this gave hope for a better opening to NA in the afternoon, too. Unfortunately it did not materialize as wished for, the opening was almost non-existent, only two dozen stations worked, all very weak with heavy QSB and the band closing around 15z again, not a single NA station audible anymore. To my big surprise it opened once more half an hour later now with splendid signals and a good run thanks to two cluster spots. This second opening lasted for about 1,5 hours even extending deep into WØ land … that was fun, indeed! 😎 Nevertheless 214 x USA speaks a language about condx to the West (the JA to USA ratio is usually 1:5 or even more in good years, not just 1:3 as now). After the band had closed I saw DL5RBW from Bavaria being spotted on the West Coast. Oh boy, I did not even hear a zone 3 station … this is the propagation difference within Germany, he’s located about 500 km south of our QTH. But we don’t want to complain too much, it was still lots of fun and muuuch better than expected … if I did not mention it before. 😀

An unpleasant surprise was some new intereference noise beaming 300° (which is exactly USA) that popped up for about an hour Sunday afternoon/evening and then for a few shorter periods of time later again. There’s just one house into that direction about 100 m away. Suppose it might be a new heating control system (judging from the times and duration) or something like this. Interestingly it’s only a problem on 15 m (noise up to s6 then), there were no signs of it on the other bands when I checked. Definitely something to keep an eye on …

So here is my summary report. After quite some time I also updated my SH5 version and put the SH5 analysis of this contest online here.

                    CQ Worldwide DX Contest, SSB

Call: DH8BQA

Class: SO(A)SB15 HP
QTH: JO73ce
Operating Time (hrs): 23

Summary:
 Band  QSOs  Zones  Countries
------------------------------
  160:                    
   80:                    
   40:                    
   20:                    
   15:  861    32      126
   10:  (1)               
------------------------------
Total:  853    32      126  Total Score = 312,524

Club: Bavarian Contest Club

Comments:
Elecraft K3, PA + 6 ele OWA Yagi @40ft.
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