It’s been a nice weekend on the radio with well over a page full of QSOs in the logbook. This is partly due to a big HF contest over the weekend and partly down to the fact that conditions have been good on VHF with a tropo opening to Europe.
I knew there was a contest on HF this weekend due to a couple of stations I worked towards the end of last week mentioning that they were setting up for it and that they hoped to work me at the weekend. I looked into it and it was the UBA DX contest, organised by the Belgian Amateur Radio Society. Looking at the calendar, it appeared to be the first big contest of the year so I was expecting there to be plenty of stations around.
On day #29 I had two quick contest QSOs and then a nice long chat with Wolf, DL8VX near Hamburg on 40m right in the middle of the hubbub of the contest stations. We were chatting for a while about radio teletype and old teleprinter systems. RTTY was the first data mode I ever operated and I used a very old Creed 444 teleprinter so it was nice to be able to just reminisce about old times while there was a contest raging around us! That was the only non contest QSO I had on day #29, the other stations I worked during the contest were as follows:
40m: IK3UNA, DG0CC, SO8N, EC2DX, YO3CZW, UT2IY, RN3F
80m: DF2SD, OT2A, OE8Q, DL2ARD, R3GZ, SI9AM, IW2HAJ, OT3T
Day #30 dawned with some signals appearing on 144MHz and with the Hepburns indicating there could be some good conditions to the east, I pointed the beam that way and called CQ. The first person I worked was Bob, G8HGN in Billericay, just 60km away! Bob is a good friend so we chatted for a while and then I called CQ again. This time I worked DK3EE, Tom in Germany and PA2JWN, Hans in Holland. The band didn’t seem to be opening as much as expected so there was a null before I was called by Nigel, M0NWW who is 6km away from me in Harwich. We spoke for a few minutes before I switched back to HF and worked a few more stations in the contest. Later in the evening, I tried 2m again and worked DL6YBF, Helmut in Germany. The contest stations I worked today were:
20m: HG4F, ES1LS, OM3RM
On day #31 I got home from work, switched the wireless on, tuned to 40m and heard R7AY calling CQ with what sounded like quite a pileup of stations calling him. I gave two shouts before he came back to me so it was good to work Serge that quickly. I went for my tea and as I came back into the shack I saw I had an email advising me of a potential tropo opening on 144MHz so I quickly switched the radio over and found DL4NAC, Martin calling CQ, replied and worked him first time. That was the best of the evening at 756km. I found a frequency and called CQ myself, quickly working ON7ZO (John Peter), ON4ZN (Walter), DD0PX (Wolf), ON2VW (William) and ON3HLU (Hakim) one after the other. I finished the evening by finding DL8DAK, Helmut and working him as well.
Tomorrow is the February 144MHz UKAC contest so it would be good if these conditions were to remain until then as although European multipliers don’t count any more, the QSOs and the points from the distance are always worth having.