High Band DX!

With the conclusion of the ARRL DX Contest (SSB) it seems the “itch” for radio is back. In fact it never really left, but with the home remodel that took some 10 months, amateur radio took a backseat. Just felt too guilty trying to commit to a contest on my days off from work, knowing there was work I could be doing.

Today has been a very good day on the high bands, 10M and 12M from CM98da. For the most part I have been tuning around and working spots. I did have a first today on 10M as I made 5 PSK31 contacts, the first being PJ7/W8EB down in St. Maarten! The other PSK contacts were all domestic including Bryan, Ac4BB who I have written about before.

Other DX today included 4A4A working 10M SSB and 12M RTTY. I also worked ZL1BYZ on 10M (again, got him in the ARRL DX), KH2L on 10M as well. Thanks Ed! And finally J68PJ (I hope) on 12 CW from St. Lucia.

In a quick update, I am but 2 confirmations away from my initial DXCC (97 confirmed)! With any luck some of the 8 new entities I worked over the weekend will LoTW and I will be submitting paperwork for my award. This has been great, hopefully we continue to see a steady increase in the propagation, as well as activity on the high bands.

Personal Satisfaction: AC4BB

While contesting is a great aspect of amateur radio (for me at least) what makes the hobby more satisfying are those individuals who set out to to achieve personal goals. I know I speak on this topic every time a contest rolls around. I don’t have the biggest antennas or the loudest station during any contest, so there is a very good chance I won’t even compete to be top in any category. I don’t have a problem with that. As long as I achieve the personal goals I set I see my seat time as being successful and hopefully along the way I have learned something new.

Reading the Forums at QRZ this morning, Bryan, AC4BB is trying to achieve something never accomplished by another ham. He is attempting to work all US counties (USA-CA) using PSK31. Unfortunately, as Bryan says, “The County Hunters have all but refused to acknowledge what I’m doing because I’m using neither SSB nor CW to accomplish my goal.” Sad, but when Bryan achieves this distinction and all 3077 are confirmed I don’t believe any organization to deny him this achievement. That would not be “promoting the hobby” in my opinion.

Thankfully I have a close tie to PSK31 since it was the first mode I used to exchange my first QSO. I have even confirmed Bryan twice using PSK31 in 2008 and 2009. I wish him all the best and hope he keeps the amateur community updated on his progress.

The recent NCCC meeting got me fired up for ARRL Sweepstakes and CQP. In fact I was looking at setting a goal of operating from all 58 California counties, but as I continue drawing my route I find I am not even half way up the state before we are some 21 hours into the contest. Looking at it realistically starting in Northern California and driving south would give you a better chance of working in more counties than starting in San Diego and driving north.

While I don’t think this CQP attempt will come to fruition, it is something interesting to consider, after all this is CQP. Mobiles and county expeditions are part of the enjoyment during this contest. Add to that the “XYL Factor” that comes into play being gone for nearly a day and a half.

Setting goals is a great way to get added enjoyment out of amateur radio. There are some big contests coming up, BARTG RTTY this weekend and the CQWW WPX SSB next weekend. I might be able to put in a few hours this weekend for the BARTG, I am possibly going to work as part of N6RO in the team effort for WPX. Set your goals and let the chase begin.