Friday, August 23, 2013

Day 7 Wednesday August 21 – The marathon is almost over. I’m losing my voice, I’m cold and tired, there are headaches, backaches and tendonitis in my arm from using the PTT switch so much but I’m looking forward to some more pile ups

On the last full down of operation I noticed it was low tide down at the HF9V crime scene and so I salvaged the antenna and put it in a body bag and threw away the coaxial cable and radials. I jumped on 15m in the morning to try and get some JA’s in the log and at 0130 UTC after a few CQ calls I worked K0ZRK who said he’d spot me on the DX cluster. This resulted in a nice little 2 hour slow rate run on 15m but I still struggled to work JA’ and in this little cameo period I ended up having more contacts into USA than JA.

Even after 7 days of being at the same place at the same time on 20m the long path European QSO’s continued to role in with lots of QRP, mobile and Scandinavians making their way into the log today and by now I didn’t have worry about getting Europe to stand by for North America. The west coast guys were getting through on their own and a handful of Brazilian, Namibian and South African QSO’s today was a good indication that everyone who could be heard was getting a new IOTA. I decided to leave 20m even earlier than the previous day and venture to 15m at 0650 UTC to give me a solid hour and a half of daylight before sunset to work JA. I was delighted to hear from Shu JN6RZM and I was bracing myself finally for a JA run at the end of the DXpedition. But no it didn’t happen. Instead there was a pile up of 15m Europeans who were working me via the long-path. You know things are weird when I’m trying to pick out JA call signs over Europeans and then a long path Mexican XE1AJ is S9+ and breaks the pile up. You also know the 15m band is weird when another V51 station breaks a JA pile up on 15m.  Eventually some JA’s did get in the log until 0900 UTC when 15m closed.

I was hoping I could finish the DXpedition with a final run into North America on 20m. For the third night in a row at 1030 UTC there wasn’t a single station audible on 20m and if this had happened at home I’d simply switch off the radio and watch TV. So again with blind faith I started calling CQ and again the stations from the east coast of Canada and USA started coming in. The amazing thing is that unlike the first evening, for nights 2 to 7 there were no Asian or European signals present. The pile ups into North America were generally small and I was starting to think that my signal wasn’t very good and that only big guns could work me and that’s why there were small pile ups. But that theory went out the window as this evening and last night there were lots of generals with 100 watts, a number of stations very excited about working their first ever VK, lots of people driving on the way to work mobile and guys who I’d worked in previous nights calling me as QRP this time. Despite a little disappointment with the small pile ups into North America I was delighted to work 1000 stations and have 21% of the total log to this part of the world. For example on Bremer Island last year out of 5149 QSO’s there were 371 QSO’s (7% of the total) for North America compared to 3020 QSO’s (62% of the total) for Europe. But with this trip there is 4893 QSO’s with 1008 QSO’s (21% of the total) for North America compared to 3082 QSO’s (60% of the total) – so that’s a much better share.

Here’s the final statistics:

4893    Total QSO’s

3020 - 62% - Europe                          
1008 - 21% - North America  
  484 - 10% - Asia
  312 -   6% - Oceania
    52 -   1% - Africa
    16 - <1% - South America 
      1 - <1% - Antarctica 

4295 - 88% - 20M                              
  530 - 11% - 15M
    40 - <1% - 40M                              
    28 - <1% - 30M                              

4828 - 99% - SSB
    65 -    1% - PSK31

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