VP8 isn’t particularly rare in amateur radio terms, currently appearing at number 194 in the ClubLog list of most wanted DXCC entities but it was a country that I’d not worked up until a few days ago.
I contacted Mike, VP8NO who is a fellow member of the Chiltern DX Club by email to see if it was possible to arrange a sked and he was very happy to do so. We agreed to start on 15m at 18:00z and see how we went from there. I was keen to try and work him on 10m, 15m and 20m but feared that it might be difficult due to the problems with the melted trap in my Cushcraft MA-5B.
My worries were unfounded. I tuned to the frequency we’d agreed on a few minutes ahead of time and fired up the amplifier. I heard someone sending TEST in CW so identified myself and there was Mike replying, a good solid 5-7 signal and he gave me a 5-9 in return. His signal strengthened while we were talking to being above 5-9.
From 15m we moved up to 10m where the signal was a lot weaker but strong enough to exchange callsigns and signal reports so we shifted back to 15m where Yan, M0YNK joined us in order to get VP8 in his log as well. After that we moved down to 20m where we worked easily but the signal was weaker than I’d expect. I put this purely down to the fact that my aerial isn’t working properly at the moment.
We moved back to 15m and Mike suggested we try the WARC bands so it was up to 12m first where we worked easily with good signal reports each way. My aerial is just a rotary dipole on 12m and 17m so I’d expect the signal to be a bit weaker but it was remarkably good. We dropped back to 15m and I picked a random frequency on 17m but when we got there, it was full of stations calling some exotic DX so we reverted back to 15m where I found somewhere a bit quieter on 17m. Mike was strongest on 17m than he’d been on any band we’d worked so we spoke for a couple of minutes and then called it a day.
In the space of around fifteen minutes, I’d gone from not having worked the Falkland Islands to having worked them on five bands, I was buzzing!
The icing on the cake was when they were all confirmed on Logbook of The World (LoTW) within a few minutes.