The passed weekend TBers were busy contesting. CQ WW 160 can be called the top TB event of the year. This time conditions were very interesting and activity was admirably high. Looking at scores posted at 3830, one can estimate that over 105 DXCC countries were available for grabs and at least 2 000 hams were there to contact. Quite a crowd for a tiny stratch of the band! No wonder that the band was packed and QRL conflicts were constant not speaking of mutual QRMing, ugly pilups, clicks, and deaf CQ machines. I had intended to go High Power but couldn´t find a HV capacitor to fix my amplifier that died in October after making a few JA contacts. The plate choke got burnt. So, being low powered, my aim was to beat my own last year result, which was not high by any means - 180.960 points made of 236 qso´s, 45 states and provinces and 33 countries. (W7RH contacted me a week before the contest telling me that I had won South Hemisphere Plaque - a complete surprise, TU Bob!) I had a new antenna installed which is nothing but a 143' wire fed at lower end against 4 quarter wave radials and strung between the top of my 70' tower and a rock under the cliff, giving me 45 degrees inclination. First signals were heard as early 22 UTC. HK1R P40AA PJ2T ZF9CW - the usual Carribean crowd, still early though, giving that my sunset is at 00 UTC. At 22.40 I heard CN2AA CQing - that was a pleasant surprise. Around 23 Z the band was packed with marginal signals from NA and SA. I was searching for the strongest and made 15 qso's before venturing into a new day. After 0 Z, conditions seemed to get better, most of NA I called came back at once. I decided to get a QRG and run a run. And I was right. I got a decent run for several hours, ending the day one with 310 qso's.So, the first hours of the contest already seemed to be promissing. I logged 1st qso with P40AA at 23.29 UT, relatively late comparing to the previous years when I managed to work PJ2T or HK1NA around 22.30. VE3EJ was second in my log two minutes later (that was early for VE3). CN2AA signals were heard with amazing stability and around 00.20 they were at s 7 level. I didn´t hear all that many callers and gave it a try. After a few attempts CN2AA´s op got a partial on me HC2 and instantly reacted HC2AO HC2AO? I sent a lengthy R and we traded exchanges. It was great! North Africa that early in the game with low power! I scanned the band and heard a few other EUs but they appeared to be indifferent to my appeals. CS2C was not strong but there and I had to give it a try. An instant response. My mood rocketed. As I began a run, NA poured in. Not with a rate to envy, but steady and kept me away from boring into the empty CQing dulldrum. Whenever the flow of callers would cease, I would venture rolling across the band, picking up whoever was new. Around 04.30 UT UW2M called with about s6 level for the first East EU. Then nothing from EU at all for a while. Eventually I hit the gold mine of EU around 05.45 UTC but it was thin and depleted after some dozen qso's. Yet it was value adding since EU mults were new and Q's points were all tenners. (Logged LZ5R, 9A5Y, UA2FZ, DL7ON, S54O, EA2KR, OE2VEL, OL7M, S50K, OM7M, OL1R, DK6WL, OE2S, DJ9VA, IZ1LBG, DM7C, DJ5MN) Then I was kicked out from my run by some EU station and I had to go S & P. I came across CS2C who was not strong but there and I had to give it a try. An instant response. My mood rocketed. TM6M was next and again with one shot. It sounded that the op on the other end got excited with a mult sending me FB several times. I decided to try a run again. It was around 07.45. I got partial 3TBK, and figured it was G3TBK calling. He readily confirmed and I got G multiplier that was instantly re-assured by G5W. The EI0R called, another mult to the chest. F8DBF was the last EU that morning. Shortly after I closed down feeling tired and not having much action going.The second day was way way behind my expections. With 310 QSOs readily logged and the previous year result already outdone, I decided to go to 400 Q's mark and whateve points score it would be. I thought that I would accomplish that task in no time but the propagation deities decided otherwise. Scarce replies to my CQ's, trouble breaking through to "fresh" ones - all in all it was a struggle. Only abput 30 qso made between 00 and 05 UTC, mostly NAs with a few SAs. At 05.30 it felt like I hit EU market again: DJ4AX, OT6M, DJ6ZM, RU1A answered my CQs. But there was no continuation. I lasted till 11.04 making a net of 413 QSOs with 51 domestic mult and 36 DX. The final DX was KH6DX. Don called at 10.49 giving me Hawaii. In conclusion, I say that I enjoyed every bit of the contest despite all downs. Conditions were very interesting with many surprises. I clearly understand the urgent need in a sophisticated RX system at least to EU and JA (South Pacific dorection and Africa are somewhat troublesome due to the local topography). And yes, 80 watts can take you world wide.
The month of January was not bad at all. Trump got sworn in and low bands were great over the North Pole. Four stations were active from the Cook Islands making this entity as common as DL or PY: E51DWC and E51WWA from South Cook, E51AMF and E51WL (JT on 160) from North Cook. Although JT mode’s QSO value is still highly disputable among hard core CW and TB folks, we have to congratulate UR0MC with his 320 th country on 160, which Roman obtained by contacting E51WL. Eric, JW2US has been active from Bear Island, Svalbard on low bands. Being in the Aurora circle, this DXCC entity is a hard one to get for many outside EU and his activity is much welcome and appreciated. Antoine, 3D2AG seems to be taking low bands seriously. His admirable persistence has been paying off in ever-growing number of contacts made with other hams world-wide on 80 meters. He is expected on 160 soon. Jovica, JY9FC is back to Jordan and about to resume his 160 endeavors. A German crew is visiting Ivory Coast and being heard on the air as TU5MH. Although operators are performing great and their high speed CW skills are beyond any criticism, low band community would appreciate more emphasis on 80 and 160. CQ WW CW 160 took place on the last weekend of the month. Conditions were above average and scores from the top dogs are impressive. Perhaps, the guys-of-the-hour title deservedly goes to CN2AA team with their amazing performance and signals to envy.
Happy, hapy New Year to all of you!
It´s the right time to set your goals for the next 12 months. There are several once-in-a-great-while entities to appear on the air ahead as well as rare and semi-rare DX countires that may help you to improve your DXCC and Challenge standing. The Sun keeps surprising us with sporadic activity which is good for higher bands and not so desirable for lower ones. Yet, the overall picture seems to be great and through-Aurora or around Aurora oval paths are becoming more and more often events on 160 and 80 meters. Starting November, NA to EU path has occurred nearly daily with the exception of high geomagnetic disturbances nights. EU to Pacific and to NA has not been as productive as in prior months still good long-haul QSOs are made. Notably A31MM and V73NS have been worked and spotted with frequency, which gives hope to those, who need them on TB and 80. E51DWC is back to South Cook and with great signals again. Aravind, VU2ABS reports that he will made major efforts in exploring 160M by putting a Waller Flag on his space-restricted estate. Zone 22 is much needed by NA and SA on both 80 and 160, so let us wish him good luck in his endeavors. Another good news is an increasing activity from New Caledonia residents on 80 – FK8IK and FK8DD are now frequent guests on that band. Let´s hope their noise-raking enthusiasm will last long enough to quench FK thirst of many.
As for DXing from HC… Emmanuele IK2OHG signing HC2HGT will QRV until January 10th, offering completion to the resident evil operator HC2AO. The latter can be found daily on 80 and 160 starting 23.50 UTC, burning electricity and contributing to the global worming.
Once again, Happy New Year, folks!
Hello brethren et al. !
We have entered the year of 2017 with great NA to EU openings on 160 and 80 meters. Finally, after years of waiting those who live in or close to the Aurora oval managed to hear their counterparts on the other side of it. Get going, keep at it, guys!
Ken, K4ZW is in Laos, activating XW4ZW along with his buddy XW4XR focusing on low bands NA. To the day only one NA station has reported hearing them on 160 – Rich, K7ZV in Oregon with his state-of-art RX setup. Nevertheless, on 80 meters which is no less demanded, XW has been logged by some NA enthusiasts as far as the East Coast.
Milan, OK1DWC signing E51DWC is active from South Cook Islands now spending some time on 160.
Antoine, 3D2AG makes nearly daily appearance on 80 meters at his sunset – EU sunrise. Unfortunately conditions to The South Pacific have not been good from Europe, and only a handful of stations got him into their logs.
TG9/DJ2EH have been active on 80 and 160. Great signals yet very sporadic appearances with no announced schedule to follow, which is upsetting to many DXers in remote locations in Asia.
Peter, OX3XR shows up on 160 mostly around 1.835 Khz around 01 UTC working NA. He was as well signing OX90EDR.
Fresh LoTW uploads: 9M0Z, ZL9A
The year 2016 is about to become history. What will it be remembered for ham-wise? Each of us has his own trophy of the year to keep in the scroll of his memorable moments. We witnessed and some of us got lucky to log extremely rare North Korea activated by Dom, 3Z9DX, followed by his October activity from T31. K5P from Palmyra is another example of a rare once-in-a-great-while entity that was activated this year. That remote island of Pitcairn went on the air after some years of absence – first, an expedition ran by JF2MBF signing VP6J, and then 2 months stay of DL2AH as VP6AH.
160 meters enthusiasts had a great opportunity to increase their country-count significantly. Although the overall state of conditions on 160 were challenging and way beyond the expected, it’s joyful to notice that more and more expeditions dedicate time and other resources in order to make an appearance on the top band. Some are more productive than others, but the main point is to try and not limit a dx-pedition to higher bands. Ham community should encourage future DX-peditioners to do their home work and have a set of TX/RX for 160 as well as a dedicated operator.
Contest-wise the year of 2016 produced less records than a couple of previous years. Without 10 and 15 meters and very unfortunate major storms falling on the date of events, it was hard to beat the standing records. Nevertheless, activity in all major DX contest was tremendous with bands filled with signals from edge to edge and with plenty of DX participating.
We wish you all Happy New Year and hope to hear you on the air!
Alex, HC2AO Konstantin, RW3DD
Plaque "Fridtjof Nansen" dedicated to the 120-th Anniversary of the expedition on the ship "FRAM" led Fridtjof Nansen 1893 - 1896.
"Australia, Islands on Earth's edge" Plaque is issued for QSOs with 4 or more different IOTA groups, activated by Andy VK5MAV from 2009 till now.
|Zanzibar ia a pearl of Tanzania The plaque is issued for contacts with 5H1WW Russian pedition to Zanzibar Island on 3 any bands any mode during November 19 - 28, 2016.||"Incas Legacy Trophy"Work at least 10 amateur radio stations from WAZ zone 10 on 9 different amateur bands any mode, at least 1 QSO on each of 9 bands|
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