My Most Recent QSO's

Friday, May 3, 2013

100 Days of DX

I met my goal of working One Hundred Daily DX Stations last night.

LZ3ZX in Sofia Bulgaria

Since the beginning of this year, my decision to experiment with an "indoor random wire" antenna has been a good one for me. I'm at a disadvantage (in radio terms) living in a historic area, because I can't string out exterior "wires" of any kind; so I decided to use 50 feet of 14 gauge "speaker wire", around the perimeter of my "radio room". It's routed around wooden "curtain rods", across the hall and across the top of a closet door, and down an  upstairs "stair railing". It's in the shape of a somewhat awkward and large "question mark". This "random wire" antenna, which is fed into a small tuner, has allowed me to operate 30 and 17 meters with an almost "flat" standing wave ratio. My tuner meter shows around 3 watts output.

There's been several times, since the first of the year, when the bands have gone nearly "dead" and it's been a real challenge to make a daily DX contact; but I've been miraculously saved by relativity short contacts into the Caribbean and South America. I had feared the bands would continue to be "terrible" for the next several days and I would be limited to another short (under 2,000 miles) contact towards South America for my 100th daily DX contact. I was spared that disappointment when, almost magically, the 30 meter band improved from "poor" to "fair" last night.

Although Bulgaria is in my log book eight times now, I heard a very weak LZ3ZX sending CQ "out in the open and all by himself" and to my advantage, not spotted on a cluster. That created a tremendous opportunity for me.

I answered several times before he sent the familiar "question mark" back to me, and even after several more attempts on my part, he couldn't get my call sign correct and I didn't have his. I was in the middle of around the fourth attempt when a "four land" station mashed me down into the noise and I thought I would be lost forever. Paradoxically, when he moved upward a bit to work the "four" station, and completed the exchange, I was in a good position to try again. This time, I was finally successful and I had him in the log book!

I'll continue to try to work another DX station every day now, but  after meeting my immediate goal of working a DX station for one hundred days, I don't feel as tense about those "bad propagation" days. I'll focus on listening for, and working "new" DX stations.

I'm at 81 now.

I worked another station in Mexico this morning. (XE3ARV) The bands are "fair" now with the SFI at 159, the A index at 21 and steady, and the K index at 2 and falling. Sunspot numbers for today are 159.

 My total contacts since I started my log book are now 1,981 stations
Since the beginning of this year I've worked 282 stations.

My total DX contacts are now 488 stations.

I don't do many (almost zero) contests because I don't have extra filters in the rig. My QRP station is about as simple as it gets. I'm very happy with it, considering that almost all of my operations are carried out with "indoor antennas" and mostly 3 watts of power.


VE3WDM said...

Good afternoon John, It sure must have been a struggle as up this way the conditions were not good at all. Great work on the DX contact and you are keeping the dream alive and well.

James Benjamin said...

That's great work John. I do not take part in contests either but it's mostly because I am too slow for those speed demons. I am improving as I find myself getting better at picking out the call signs but I am not one to sit at the radio for hours to fill the LOG. I am, however, realizing that even though it is a contest, I am not really competing against anyone but myself. That removes that pressure to spend many hours at the radio instead of just one or two here or there. I think I may try a few this year as it may improve the chance of increasing my countries worked.

Cheers and good DX,
72 de Scott - ve3vvf

Jspiker said...

Hello Mike,

Yes, it was. I could have never worked him should he have been "spotted" on the DC Cluster. The filtering on my 703 is a "nail in the coffin" at times. I could definitely use a 300 hertz filter.

Thank you for the compliment about keeping the dream alive. I'll do my very best to continue onward.

Jspiker said...

Hello Scott,

There's a lot of "tricks" in chasing DX, and they mostly revolved around the "DX Clusters". I've found it's as important to recognize "your" call sign (when sent at high speed) as it is to recognize "others" call signs at high speeds.

There's a huge difference "seeing" a call sign on a cluster and hearing it being "repeated" over and over again too.

Once you're "sure" of the call sign and hear the basic 599 TU 73's's all over.

I'm NOT a high speed operator. Hihi

Jump into the hive sometime. You may surprise yourself.

Paul PC4T said...

Hi John, your records are great. Never change your antenna setup. It works great that way. Have a nice Sunday, 73 Paul

Jspiker said...

Hello Paul,

Thanks and yes, I've about ran out of indoor space with the random wire.