Last night was pretty active on the bands. The lower bands were pretty noisy, but conditions were good on the higher frequencies. I could hear a lot on six meters, but my vertical just won’t load properly there. I’m going to at least put up a dipole for six this week.
As you can see, there were contacts to be had for the picking. I definitely stayed busy. I was sort of keeping an eye (ear?) out for the Baker Island DXPedition, since they were working FT8. I did see stateside stations calling them in Fox/Hound mode, but never saw any of the DXPedition’s transmissions on my screen.
Everyone laments that “the bands are dead … Woe is me!”, but as you can see, they’re there. As an example, twelve meters … there was not a single signal in the FT8 portion of the band when I checked. So, I said “What the heck … let’s try a CQ and see what happens.” It took several CQs, in fact, but eventually I had a mini-pileup going … two or three stations coming back to me on top of each other. Dick’s sage advice #1 — “If you’re gonna’ catch fish, you gotta’ put a line in the water.” Everybody listening = no QSOs!
So, the moral of the story is … put a signal on the air! Fling yourself out there! “CQ, CQ, CQ … This is <you fill in the blank>”. Be BRAVE! Any mode … Any band. JUST DO IT!!!!
Sixty meters is an odd band. Last night, I worked a station in Paducah, KY, and a station in Poland. I was being heard in both North America and Europe. Sixty is still an underutilized band, but I’m finding more and more users.
Forty last night was hot! Solid wall to wall FT-8 and CW signals … strong, too! I upgraded Windows 10 with the big Spring 2018 update with only one minor problem … when I opened WSJT-X it would key the transmitter, but there was no output power. I suspected an audio problem, and I was right. For some reason, the audio source changed from USB Audio Codec to Speaker in the WSJT-X Audio setup screen. Two mouse clicks pretty much solved that. No more problems noted and all works OK now.
I read an interesting article last night (don’t remember where, though … somewhere on the internet). Seems the scientist was saying that the new sunspot cycle has just begun. Something to do with the change in polarity of a new sunspot. If this is true, it would make the last cycle one of the shortest. We can only hope …
Spring has sprung, it seems. We’re finally having days in the 70s and 80s. Nights are still pretty cool … in the 40s and 50s. As far as I’m concerned, it’s about time!
I worked an odd callsign last night … 9A18WARD. The 9A1 part tells me it’s Croatia, but you have to admit, it’s a weird call. I can’t find any info on QRZ or searching on Google, other than lots of people have worked that station.
Oh, well … work ’em first and worry about them later. Have a great weekend!
Forty meters was the workhorse this evening. I worked a bunch of digital contacts on forty, as well as a few on twenty and thirty. Then I went down to the CW portion and had a short (599 … TU) contact with both Montenegro and Kuwait. I tried for quite a while to break the pileup that Z66D (Kosovo) had going but unfortunately, no luck tonight! Ah well, there’s always tomorrow!
Weather’s been a bit wonky here as well. Eighty-some yesterday and mid-forties today. Please, Lord … SPRING!!!
The bands have been sort of lackluster the past few evenings, with not much activity noted from my humble shack, One bright exception was a short, contest-style contact with PJ4/M0SDV, Jamie, last night on 40M CW. He’s vacationing and DXPeditioning in Bonaire, and must be having a great time! He’s a first-class operator and was doing a great job of managing the pileup.
Brings back memories of my DX days in the Indian Ocean. Every time I got on the air, I created pileups. remember, this was back in the days of very active sunspot cycles. I remember huge pileups to the USA and Europe when I was running 5 Watts SSB or CW, using a TenTec Argonaut. Ahhhh … the good old days!!