If it were not for the fact one of our dogs (with the help of another) dug a hole under the backyard fence, I would have start the ARRL DX Contest off very well. After about 61 minutes of operating (all search & pounce) I had worked 51 contacts and 10 countries. By no means were these record breaking numbers, but it was a steady stream of QSOs that provided for an enjoyable time spinning the dial and working what I could hear.
I was not sure where I wanted to start the contest. My first thought was 20M, since that seems to be my best band in nearly every contest. As I started tuning around before the contest I went to 10M and looked west, but the spots I saw, I could not hear. So I moved to 15M, which seemed to be very good, the 30 or so minutes leading up to the start of the contest.
I decided to stay on 15M for the start, which was a good move. I decided to point the Hexx Beam at about 305 my first trip through 15M, this was to work KL7, KH6 and any JAs I could hear. The second time through, I decided to move the Hexx to about 120 to work Central American and South America and if I had luck the Caribbean. I also took advantage of the BigIR and would toggle to that antenna when I came across a JA or another station (9M6 and BA for example). This allowed for the best flexibility and use of my 2 antennas.
As I said, I did not intend on setting any records, so this pace was good and honestly, probably one of my most productive in S&P on SSB. I had hoped to put in 2 hours, the second hour being on 20M, but the runaway dog seemed to cut into my operating time. With any luck I will be able to pick up on 20M and maybe 10M tomorrow around 2230z when I get home from work. At any rate, I will blow right by my previous best, which is all I can ask for.
As for the dog, I drove around for about 60 minutes, the XYL was pissed and having a panic attack, but she luckily found him, not but a few houses away, along the fence line, probably looking for the hole he had dug.