Initially this was meant to be a rather quiet weekend. I wanted to escape all the QRL stress and also be on site again instead of only remote. My remote station works excellent but has the smaller power amp connected only and the distractions at home are always bigger than desired. And of course the motivational factor is probably different, too, when you drive an extra 400 km.
Anyway, the goal was to clear my mind again and play a little radio. I didn’t feel like doing the night shift and Uwe, DL3BQA, who actually wanted to do 80 m (we rebuilt the GP for the winter season), still had a cold to fight and asked to operate a day band, too. So there we were: two times a day band but 20 m basically excluded because even with our 4 ele Yagi and some power, in the north of DL (and probably in other parts as well, hi) no frequency can be hold. So there were only 15 and 10 m left. Our station actually works quite well on these two bands and we are relatively satisfied taking our northern location into account. Since the days before the weekend there were already quite good condx on 15 m and also on 10 m at least to South America, a few QSOs should be possible. From our experience during the last 20 years with the condx like these we had expected about +/- 500 QSOs on 15 m and maybe 200 on 10 m might be possible.
Saturday morning started as usual: In the first two hours with the band still closed two dozen QSOs were made via scatter (tropo and meteors) with the large stations in the south and southeast, then it was quiet. So I laid down again without really sleeping. When I heard Uwe suddenly working rows of Ukrainians on 15 m I went back to the 10 m radio and lo and behold, the band was open via Sporadic-E to the east. Half an hour later fitting ES clouds to the West developed and the “Worked All Britain Contest-in-a-Contest” began. 😀 Very good activity on the islands, lots of fun! Every now and then the ES also linked into other propagation path’ thus a number of South Americans could be worked, too, but even more exciting about two dozen W/VE made it into the log on Saturday! 😎 At the same time 6 m was open from NA to EU thus triple-hop ES can/must be assumed as the MUF for F2 propagation was not that high (in my opinion it just scratched 25 MHz). This theory is supported by the fact that there was no DX heading east, not even the first hop into the nearby UA9, etc. At the end of the day there were 450 QSOs in the log, half of them with the U.K. 😉
Sunday began similarly to Saturday: Started early but apart from the usual suspects via scatter I couldn’t hear anything else. Thus started calling CQ and hoping. 😉 And indeed I was able to open the band to the east again and a couple of UA3s got into the log. From 8z the “party” turned south with strong Sicilians first, then thanks to rather strong ES clouds with a high MUF (6 m was open again, too) I was able to work most parts of Europe via backscatter without having to turn the antenna. 😉 The ES cloud cluster was quite stable to the south and southwest of us (always very nice to follow on DXmaps). This enabled good rates this time in the “Work all Italy Sub-Contest” 😉 and thanks to the high MUF also a number of short distance QSOs around 5-600 km could be made (= “fresh food”) but unfortunately no DX. Guys in south and west DL had better luck and suitable entry points to North America again (and 6 m was again open via triple hop, quite rare at the end of October). During the last hour the band was open here at least some more South Americans and Caribbeans could be worked but all very selective and without large QSO numbers.
On Saturday evening I was still ahead a bit of the German competition (Ulli/DD2ML, Matthias/DL5L) in terms of total points (I had 100 QSOs more but already fewer mults, they were simply not audible up here). Then on Sunday with more 3 pointers to be worked from the South at least DL5L passed by.
CQ Worldwide DX Contest, SSB - 2020 Call: DH8BQA Class: SO(A)SB10 HP QTH: JO73ce Operating Time (hrs): 21 Summary: Band QSOs Zones Countries ------------------------------ 10: 1212 18 69 (incl. dupes) ------------------------------ Total: 1175 18 69 Total Score = 119,799 Club: Bavarian Contest Club Comments: FLEX-6600, PA + 6 ele G0KSC OWA Yagi @60ft
For those who hope for a repeat during WWDX-CW in 4 weeks: I wouldn’t bet on it, at least not for 10 m. 15 m will certainly be usable again if the sun behaves but the F2-relevant MUF isn’t high enough for 10 m yet. And without Sporadic-E it will be difficult except for a few QSOs on the southern path’. But let’s wait & see. 😉