VP8 isn’t especially rare in amateur radio terms, it’s currently number 206 in the ClubLog list of most wanted DXCC entities but although I’ve worked it on SSB and various data modes, I’d not managed a CW QSO until recently.
I made a post on the Chiltern DX Club reflector which mentioned it, and shortly after, received an email from Mike, VP8NO asking if I’d like to arrange a sked using CW and I was very happy to do so. We both looked at the propagation predictions and decided to start at 19:00z on 10m and then try 17m and 20m as additional slots. My Hexbeam isn’t working especially well at the moment so I deliberately picked the three bands it’s working best on.
I shouldn’t have been concerned. I put the radio on about twenty minutes early, warmed up the amplifier and tuned to the frequency we’d agreed on. I heard a tone which was clearly someone tuning up so sent my callsign in Morse. I had an instant reply from Mike who was a genuine 599 signal.
From 10m we moved to 17m where he was also a solid 599 signal and then onto 20m where his signal was just as good. These were all very quick QSOs, literally just an exchange of callsign and signal report.
We were also in contact via email and we both emailed each other at the same time to suggest we try both 12m and 15m as well. We chose frequencies then first went to 12m and then 15m and completed the contacts on both bands with good strong signals on them both.
In a ten minute period, I’d gone from never having worked the Falkland Islands using CW to having made the contact on five bands. I was buzzing!
The cream on the strawberries was when they were all confirmed on Logbook of The World (LoTW) very shortly afterwards.
If this post gives you a feeling of déjà vu, please see here.