I’ve noticed over the last week or so that conditions on HF have been really poor, I’ve called CQ on both 40m and 80m in the evenings with no replies at all and so my last QSO on day #19 was on VHF. When I turned the wireless on in the evening of day #20 it was still tuned to 144.270 so I left it on the band, tuned to the calling frequency of 144.300 and called CQ there instead of switching to HF.
After my third call I heard two stations replying to me but they were too weak to get callsigns so I called again and this time picked up a PD2 prefix, Holland. I spun the beam to the east and called again and this time I heard a very strong signal from Ben, PD2BA. We QSYd away from .300 and had a nice chat for a few minutes. After I signed with Ben I was immediately called by PE1BIW, Martin in north west Holland, not far from Germany. I couldn’t talk for long to him as I needed to get myself ready to go out to the Colchester Radio Club but we exchanged details. Before I left home that evening I had a quick check of the two European beacons I regularly hear from here (PI7CIS and ON0VHF) and both were at their usual strength so there were no favourable conditions present. It was good to work into the Netherlands on VHF under flat conditions outside of a contest.
On day #21 I repeated the exercise, calling CQ on 144.300 but it took quite a few calls to get a reply and then unusually for 2m SSB it was a mobile station who answered. I spoke to Simon, M0ASJ/M who was just a few miles away in Danbury, Essex. He reminded me that we used to speak regularly on the GB3DA repeater when I used to be on the road every day and the penny dropped – This person who’d called himself Simon used to be G7WDI and was known colloquially as Woody. We only spoke for a few minutes but it was nice to hear him again after so many years. A bit later on I worked IZ1ZD, Krassy in Bulgaria on 80m.
Day #22 was nice and relaxed. Three QSOs with people in different countries. First was Mark, PD0ME in Holland on 40m followed an hour or so later by IZ7KNY, Nicola in Italy on 17m and then later on in the evening I worked Petar, 9A3AGS on the Island of Brac, Croatia on 40m. This last one was especially pleasing as he had a bit of a pileup going on and responded to my call first time.