Saturday, February 28, 2009

Back to DX

It’s been a few weeks since my last update, and in the interim, I’ve moved my radio focus back from earning the Triple Play Award to working DX. As most DXers know by now, a Dxpedition to the very rare Desecheo Island was on the air for around two weeks as K5D, and I was fortunate enough to make quite a number of contacts.  The contacts (all showing up in their online QSL log) were:

 

160

80

40

30

20

17

15

Phone

X

X

X

X

X

CW

X

X

X

X

X

RTTY

X

X

 

My first contact with them was on 40m phone barely 12 hours after the operation started. While I’d expected to make a few contacts at some point towards the end of the operation, I hadn’t expected to make contact so soon. But, as a number of my friends told me, even with the huge global pileups Desecheo, which is just a few miles from Puerto Rico, is a “chip shot” from my home. That did turn out to be the case. My goal was to make at least one contact on each of the three modes, and to work them on at least once on each band where I could hear them.

I tried to be a good “ham radio citizen”, so while I did work pretty hard to get each of the modes, and to make a single contact on each band, I did hold off a bit on the bands where I’d already made a contact (to work them on a new mode) until later during the dxpedition when the pileups had died down considerably. I hope that by doing this I allowed others to make perhaps the only contact they had. That being said, when the station isn’t busy, I’ll certainly try to work them. I did wind up with one duplicate contact (75m phone) since when trying to make my contact a couple of guys decided to have a rag-chew essentially right on top of the K5D station and I wasn’t sure that K5D had correctly logged my call. I tried again a few minutes later and that contact was definitely OK, and it turned out that both contacts showed up in the K5D online log.

I am very pleased to have made a 160m (or “Top Band”) contact with them. I don’t have a real antenna for 160m, and although my G5RV does load with the tuner, it neither transmits nor receives very well. However, my persistence paid off, and after five or six nights, trying for an hour or so each night (perhaps even longer than that), just a day or so before they ceased operations, the 160m was very quiet and I did manage to make a contact with them.

On a final note, I did receive my Triple Play Award certificate this week:

TPA

2 comments:

  1. Congrats on the TPA. It might take me close to a year to get that but I think I have a shot now that I can do CW with the aid of a computer.

    In the beginning there was a lot of activity and the rare states seemed to be available so I hope over the course of the year those rarer states show up in various contests. Like last night was the NA QSO Party RTTY contest and I saw WY but not calling CQ. I still need those confirmed for the TPA in RTTY.

    When there's a local (NA) CW contest I think I'l be able to really pump up my states for that mode. Almost all of my CW has been DX.

    But congrats as it is one heck of an accomplishment to get and in such a short time.

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  2. I'm still CW-assisted. I send essentially 100% via the computer, though in a pinch I can send, badly, by hand. For things like simple DX or contest contacts, I'm fine by ear, but anything more complicated I will use CWGET as an aid. I will say that I do think my CW skills improved as a results of working on the award.

    You're right that there isn't as much activity now as there was earlier this year, but I would suggest hanging out in the LoTW sked room at http://www.obriensweb.com/sked/. I try to spend a little time in there when I can, and I'm still surprised at the number of folks who actually need NJ on some band or mode.

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