I worked a new DX entity this morning on 15 (CW) meters. ED (EI5DR) was my first contact into Ireland.
The "year end" totals for my station this year (just a few more days left in 2011) are much better this year than any other year. I'm sure most of it has been the result of better band propagation and the addition of a 10 meter end fed wire. I've also started hanging my 15 meter dipole inside the house. .
Thanks to some fantastic "ears" in Europe, I've worked 108 DX stations in 2011. My QSO totals (all years) are now 1231, and of those, 276 have been 2x QRP QSO's. Last year I worked a total of 297 stations and this year, I've worked 399 stations. I've actually worked 15 stations now at "1000 miles per watt". (the last contact was made at 5 watts and reduced to one watt)
I do VERY little contesting due to poor filtering on my rig.
I think, by far, the best contact this year was RD3A in Moscow Russia. I say this because, although I've worked many stations at the 5,000+ range on the upper bands, this station was a contact I made using my 40 meter Isotron antenna. I've actually had one ham accuse me of "fabricating" this contact. In my almost 20 year ham radio career, this is the first time I've ever had this happen.
The facts are the facts tho...the card is visible to anyone on the world wide web.
This bring me to an interesting point, of which is puzzling to me. Contesting has never been a "hi-point" for me, but I understand and accept those who live for this and nothing else. If "money was no object", I was born rich, and owned enough land to plant an antenna farm the size of a city block, I still wouldn't invest thousands and thousands of dollars into a hobby than demanded I sit in front of a computer and punched "buttons" all day long when the band was open. This just isn't my "cup of tea".
Four of my DX contacts this year were fellow QRP operators and I got more excitement out of working those than all the others combined. To me, there's still nothing (after almost 20 years) more exciting than working a "portable" station operating low power from a picnic table, an island, or a cabin in the woods.
Looking at the "other side of the coin" this is such a great hobby, there's more than enough fun for everyone. (regardless of the expense) Keeping it "simple" is still admirable to many.