QSO365 #3 is complete – Ten QSOs per day in 2021

I’ll kick off with the statistics for the whole of 2021 and then go into the details.

QSOs made: 8,265
Unique QSOs made: 5,776
Average QSOs per day: 22.6
Days missed: 0 <- This is the most important statistic, it means that QSO365 #3 was a success.

DXCC entities worked: 168
New DXCC entities worked: 1
Total DXCC worked and confirmed: 282

I wanted a bit more of a challenge in 2021 so because it was the tenth anniversary of my original QSO365, I decided that my goal would be to make ten QSOs per day, not just one. Not an average of ten/day, an actual ten contacts per day. Tenth anniversary, ten QSOs. It made sense to me at the time.

I very quickly settled into a routine which served me well throughout the year. I’d get up, go through my morning ablutions and then sit in the shack for half an hour or so and play FT8 before starting work. Some days I’d switch the wireless on at lunchtime for a while but the majority of my weekday QSOs were in the morning. This worked well for me and I made some very nice contacts during grey line propagation.

With Solar cycle 25 picking up, conditions in 2021 have been getting better with the last couple of months showing some real improvements. It’s been a long time since the SSN and SFI have both been over 100 and it’s been good to see them both well into three figures recently. I’m hopeful that cycle 25 is going to be a good one.

A noticeable highlight of the year was at the end of September when I worked around 25 VK/ZL stations one after another on 20m long path.

My aerials have remained constant throughout 2021, I still have my Hexbeam for 40m through 6m and a dipole for 30. The Hexbeam developed a slight fault which meant it wasn’t working properly for CQ WW SSB so I couldn’t make a decent entry on my favourite band (15m). However, I had it fixed for CQ WW CW and enjoyed working 15m that weekend.

The rest of my station has undergone significant changes during the year, replacing my TS-590SG with a TS-890S, upgrading to an Acom 1500 amplifier, adding an LP-700 station monitor and picking up an Icom IC-9700 for VHF/UHF/23cms.

Around 80% of my contacts in 2021 were made using digital modes. About 70% of the total were FT8/FT4, 10% were a mixture of RTTY and PSK with the remaining 20% split between SSB and CW. I operated in sixteen contests during the year and you can see more details about those in my Contest results page.

While I’m on the subject of different modes, it’s disappointing to see the amount of bot stations running FT8. These are fully automated stations with no operator needed. They have some very obvious traits which are easy to spot and I see them almost every day. FT8 is a mode which splits opinions down the middle, some people enjoy operating it and other people don’t. As someone who has always enjoyed working data modes, I like it but I don’t like the idea of switching a station on in the morning and leaving it all day to see what it works. To me, that just isn’t in the spirit of amateur radio and should be discouraged.

In 2021 I operated with three callsigns. I used my normal call, my special short contest callsign and I ran a special event station in April for a week which accounted for around 700 contacts.

Here’s a graph showing the top ten countries worked in 2021. Note that JA is right up there at #8 with 319 QSOs. Almost half of these were made on 17m where Japan was the country I worked the most. That’s quite a surprise but not perhaps as much of a surprise when I see that JA is the third most country I worked on 30m with 117 Qs.

Top ten countries worked during QSO365 #3

Here’s a breakdown of the number of QSOs worked by band. I’m really pleased with this as it’s a good mix and unlike previous years, it shows I didn’t concentrate on just one or two bands.

Number of QSOs made per band during QSO365 #3

When it comes to continents worked throughout the year, it’s no surprise to see that Europe is still the highest by a long way and it’s disappointing that North America is down from my previous QSO365. If I’d been able to make a proper entry into CQ WW SSB, I think that figure would have been a lot higher because although propagation was good, I was unable to make a decent entry due to problems with the Hexbeam.

Continents worked by percentage during QSO365 #3

During the year I updated my DXCC totals, had three new certificates, for 40m, 30m and 12m and additional endorsements issued for multiple other bands and modes. All time new ones are rare to come by these days with 5W1SA (Samoa) being the only new one in 2021. I did manage to add quite a lot of new band/mode slots though.

G6NHU DXCC total

I worked 943 grid squares and all 40 CQ zones in 2021. I also made a few skeds in the last couple of months of the year and completed Worked All States (WAS) on 17m and 20m. It’s not an award I’m particularly bothered about applying for but it’s nice to know I’ve completed it. I already have full WAS and it’s interesting to see that I worked 49 out of the 50 states in 2021, just missing out on Mississippi.

The last time I did these statistics after QSO365 #2 in 2018, I noted that I made ten QSOs with VK. That increased to 50 in 2021 and I worked ZL 14 times.

Whilst I understand that these overall figures and statistics may not be considered much by some people, I’m very happy with what I’ve done in 2021 from my relatively modest urban station. As much as I enjoy playing radio, the important thing is to have a good balance of things in my life and after all, radio is a hobby.

To wrap up, here’s a map showing the majority of QSOs made during 2021 (it’s not totally complete, not all stations share their locations) generated by the log analyser, SH5.

Map of stations worked during QSO365 #3

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