Days 328, 329 and 330 – Another new aerial

Day #328 was very nearly the end of QSO365!  It’s incredible to think that the project could fail this close to the end but it only takes some bad propagation and it could all be over.  I got home in the evening and the HF bands were dead.  Really dead.  I mean, you may think that the bands are often dead but this was just deader than dead.  I tried calling CQ on JT65 on all bands, 40m through 10m without a single report of my signals being heard on the reverse beacon network.   I tuned through all the bands and there were just some very weak signals but nothing workable.  In the end, in desperation I called CQ on 40m and to my surprise I was immediately answered by Peter, G0GYY.  Pete only lives a few miles away from me and we had a long natter for the best part of an hour.  A while later I had another call on 40m using JT65 and managed to work one more station – YQ0U.

I fared better on day #329 because the bands weren’t dead!  I first had a nice long chat with ZL2JBR, John on 20m.  It was good to have a conversation which lasted for more than just ‘five nine, next’ with a DX station.  In fact my daughter came into the room half way through the QSO and was amazed when she realised that he was so far away because the signal was so loud and clear.  She said afterwards “he sounded like a nice man”.  I didn’t work anyone else until very late in the evening when I had some JT65 QSOs on 40m with YT1DL, YQ0U, US4MFH, YV6GM and K4THE.

In the morning of day #330 I first spoke to 5Z4HW, Sigi in Kenya on 12m for a new DXCC followed by UT4UO on the same band.  I then worked R1941MB, a special event station commemorating the 70th anniversary of the 1941 Moscow Battle on 10m.  I also worked 9K2VO, Mohammed, RC2T, Mikhail and VR2XMT, Charlie with the last one being via the long path on the same band.

I then did some aerial work and replaced the OCFD I had up with a monoband dipole cut for 40m.  It took a few attempts to get the SWR dip within the band but once I’d trimmed the ends by well over a foot I was happy and it was all tied off.  I also reinstalled my ‘long’ wire and the SGC Smarttuner.  To test the aerial I worked a few stations on 40m SSB, these were GB2MKM, Alan, M6PCI, Paul, DL8GAR, Klaus and CR5WFF, Miguel.  In the evening I worked WB4FSD and CT1EKD on JT65 on 40m so the new aerial seems to working well.  Unfortunately the can’t be same for the long wire and the smarttuner as it seems the tuner isn’t working so I need to unscrew it from the wall and investigate.

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