Well that was fun!
The timing was perfect. I had erected my simple rotatable dipole for 10M the day before the contest. The CQ-WW-SSB contest provided me with plenty fun and proved to me that one can participate in the big international contests with a very mediocre (little pistol) station.
I put in a fair amount of time and worked mostly in search and pounce mode and I only worked on the 10M band. I only made 190 QSOs, but I worked 68 DXCC entities (countries), 26 CQ zones, 12 brand new (all band) DXCC entities and 23 new DXCC entities on 10M. My log has been uploaded to the contest robot and to the ARRL LoTW. It will be great to see how many new confirmations I will achieve as direct result of participating in the contest.
The conditions on 10M were very good indeed. The SFI was around 140. I had a fairly high noise floor of around S5 to contend with, until I found the offending device on Sunday afternoon. It was the power wall warts to the newly installed cordless phones. I was extremely pleased to see my noise floor drop to around S0 after unplugging them. You can’t work them if you can’t hear them.
It was quite something to hear the pileups generated by some of the rare stations. The ones that stood out were: KL7RA the Alaskan station and 3XY1D the station from Guinea. The pile ups were huge, reminded me of a feeding frenzy much like hungry piranhas, devouring a poor hapless victim.
I am a huge fan of technology and normally I agree with using it to its fullest in our hobby, but I wonder if we have not become too reliant to such things as the DX-cluster. I found and worked OJ0X Market Reef and it took me all of two calls. However, after he was spotted on the cluster he ended up with a huge pile up and I seriously doubt it, if I would have been able to get a QSO with him had it not been that I caught him before he was spotted on the DX cluster network.
I tried unsuccessfully for about 30 minutes to work KL7RA. He was S9+, but the “wall” calling him was just too big to overcome.
I am now looking forward to the CW leg of the CQ-WW contest. I sure hope the HF conditions will remain as good as they are or improve even further.
73, Pierre ZS6A