Very surprised to see a manila envelope from the ARRL (American Radio Relay League) today in the mailbox. I figured it was my ARRL Triple Play Award I had finally achieved. When I opened it I was surprised to find I had taken first place in the 2011 ARRL International DX Phone Contest. That means I just might have to taken to March 3 off to participate in at least half the contest.
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.
Contest: ARRL DX
Date: March 6-7, 2010
Period: Starts 0000 UTC Saturday; ends 2359 UTC Sunday
80 / 7 / 6
40 / 1 / 1
20 / 53 / 40
15 / 10 / 7
TOTAL: 71 QSO / 54 DXC
SCORE: 11,502 (TIME ON: 3 H 21 Mn)
With the delivery guaranteed by Monday, February 22, things are looking up for the next RTTY contest on the schedule, the NCJ sponsored NAQP! Since there is no high power entry, I will be reconnecting the Alpha 76PA and retuning it for an upcoming contest. I might have to put some time into the 5-band hex as well. For whatever reason, the 20M wire is sagging again. I am not sure why this continues to occur. I am hoping the fiberglass spreaders are not collapsing again. I checked and re tightened them just a few months ago. My guess is during the off season (this summer) I will be going over the hex with a fine toothed comb again and make sure everything is in place correctly.
While I hesitate to toss any prediction out right now I did take a look at my score from last year (cannot remember if it was February or July) to start getting some idea of where I could possibly score in 10 hours of operating. Since this is a domestic contest, I should fair very well, especially on 20M. We will have to wait and see how the propagation is for 10M/15M. I also noticed I had some 40M contacts and a single 80M contact. Not sure when I would have switched to 40M, but have been close to the end of the contest.
I am still on a high after last weekend and my success in the WPX RTTY Contest. The past three days have been great on nearly every band as the solar flux remains high and the solar cycle continues it upward trend. Just yesterday I was able to work Tasmania (15M SSB), New Zealand (10M CW) and French Polynesia (20M CW) with only 100w! The 10M contact was great, as I believe it was my first DX (outside of Canada) contact 10M. As for Tasmania (VK7) it was a solid 57 report from John, who was just waking up, while TX4T was no waiting.
As awards go I am now up to 72 (mixed) for my DXCC award, I continue to see new DX roll in from the WPX where I worked 57 countries! 20M continues to dominate, where I have 63 confirmed. The ARRL Triple Play Awards continues to frustrate me, where I now have 135 confirmed via LOTW. As for missing states, Delaware confirmation via LOTW still eludes me. Although I have worked a SSB and RTTY contact last year, yet the op does not use LOTW. The other odd state is Nevada, I just recently confirmed a CW contact, but our next door neighbor state has been hard to come by.