Sunday, May 02, 2010

Sometimes three strikes is a good thing

For those of you outside the US who might not be familiar with baseball, there's a common saying that says "three strikes and you're out". This refers to the fact that you are allowed to "miss" a pitch three times before you are no longer allowed to bat. (For you purists, given that this isn't a baseball blog, I'm going to ignore foul balls, etc.) Taken figuratively, the expression is often used to mean that you only get so many tries at something before you have to stop. In my case, I had the opposite happen over the last week.

About a week ago I wrote about how I'd contacted my first new DXCC entity of 2010, BX5AA in Taiwan. Strike one. Earlier this week, I wrote about my second new DXCC this year, VR2XMT. Strike two. Now I'm very happy to be able to write about strike three.

On Friday morning, I was again working from home, this time because I had some reports to complete that had to be done by the end of the day. It's often easier to do these kinds of things from home since I get disturbed less often. (And yes, I actually got everything done.) P29TL, Tom had been spotted quite a bit recently on 20m, and while I'd heard him a bit earlier in the morning, he wasn't really coming in strong enough to work. On top of that, given the location (Papua, New Guinea) the folks on the west coast had a much better path to him and were apparently working him easily. As with my contact with VR2XMT a few days earlier, I turned down the volume on the radio while I worked on my reports, until I realized that I could hear Tom more clearly and there were fewer folks calling him. In fact, the folks that were working him seemed to be mostly on the east coast, meaning that the band conditions had changed. Sure enough, I called him a few time (he was using upper sideband on 20m), and after a while he replied to my call and gave me a 5x5 signal report (I gave him 5x7). Strike three!

Fortunately, in the DXing game, I'm not limited to just three strikes, so I'm looking forward to working some more "new ones" this year. It just goes to show that even though over the last couple of weeks the conditions have taken a dip, it's still possible to make some really good contacts. (For reference, PNG is around 9,000 miles from my location.)