Lightning storms with thunder that shook the house kept me off the air for much of late Friday & early Saturday. QRN lasted for too long after the storms passed, affecting 40/80 more than the higher bands and took a bit of the wind out of my sails as far as enthusiasm and dedication to the contest was concerned.
I operated single op, all bands, QRO with K3/AL80BQ and dipole.
A few observations:
- Worked two New Ones overall, one of which was 4U1ITU…not sure what the other one was yet. 9K2/SP4R was a new band-country.
- QSOs with fellow blogger ON5ZO/OQ5M on 15 and 40 meters. I recorded Franki here on 40m after realizing who he was with the second contest callsign Belgian amateurs have. Note the deep QSB.
- I am not AE5TU! For some reason, a number of ops in each contest want to break up my “X” suffix into a “TU”. I’ve experimented with keyer weighting but it makes no difference – some insist on the latter callsign. It only happens during contests – perhaps these ops aren’t listening carefully enough in their rush to move on to the next QSO. Maybe I should move to Belgium and claim both…
- I’ve implemented a new operating technique put forth by QST DX editor Bernie W3UR. That is to not send my part of the exchange until the other op has copied my callsign correctly. Previously, I would go ahead and send the exchange along with a repeat of my callsign. This usually resulted in the DX confirming that he has me correctly ID’ed – but not always. Now there is no exchange unless my callsign is first copied correctly. Excellent procedure Bernie – hopefully it will be implemented across the board. As it was, I think I p!55ed off some ops by refusing to send the exchange until they sent my callsign correctly.
- QRN on 80m Saturday morning was terrible but I tweaked and fiddled with the K3 and made a new-to-me 3-part discovery: stations became much more readable when I enabled APF, opened selectivity to 500-800 Hz and backed off the RF gain. I know old timers are fans of reducing the RF gain on low bands, claiming that it improves dynamic range. I’ve tried and never really noticed any improved ability to receive the intended station but under the conditions mentioned, the use of all three of these effects greatly improved copiability. JA’s and UA0′s are in the log on 80m when they wouldn’t have been otherwise under those band conditions.
- Sunday morning, I had a bit of a scare. I woke up at 4:30 AM due to the house being very cold. I got up to check the thermostat and see if a window had been left open. Stepping into the hallway, I immediately noticed that the front door to the house was wide open. It was still completely dark ouside of course. My heart skipped a beat when I realized there might be an intruder in the house. I grabbed my metal-polymer security blanket and made sure there were no uninvited souls about. A subsequent inspection of the door showed that the latch spring didn’t extend and that the door wasn’t latched into the strike plate. The wind from the previous night’s storm had simply blown the door open Whew! And no, I don’t dress in camo, stockpile food, cash and ammo, nor do I fantasize about Sarah Palin (but Michele Bachmann – hey, I’m only human).
Total QSOs – 405
Mult – 213
Score – 258,795
Thanks for the contacts, all – see you in May for WPX.