Well, I got Rwanda (9X0Y) in the log on FT8, using the DXPedition mode on WSJT-X. The first thing I had to do was try and remember how to set up and operate in the DXPedition mode, but once I was set up and called Silvano, it didn’t take more than a minute or two to have his contact in the log. I actually never did actually see his signal on the waterfall … but I did copy him. The DX is there!
Propagation this evening was nothing spectacular, but there were FT8 contacts to be made. DX worked included Portugal, Germany, Czech Republic, Italy, Cuba, Netherlands, Canada, and England. Many more were seen … W. Sahara, Ireland, N. Ireland, Wales, Europeans of all flavors … but not worked. Forty, thirty, and eighty meters were crowded … twenty and sixty not so much, but I did make contacts on all of those bands. Looks like the digital modes and lower bands are where it’s at. And remember, I’m using about forty watts and a wire … no big guns here!
I got an early session on the radio as the sun was rising this morning. The solar conditions were shown as “Poor” and “Unsettled”, but there was some good stuff out there. New Caledonia, Australia, and Japan were all seen on FT8 and were making contacts with US stations. The Mayotte DXPedition (TO6OK) was really strong here on the East Coast on FT8, but there were lots of callers worldwide, and I didn’t luck out, though I really tried. I did work a new one (Belize) on forty meters, so my morning efforts were a success as far as I was concerned.
I’m not lacking stations to work, and my best success seems to be on the lower bands (80, 60, 40, 30). I’m not running anything special here … 30 to 40 watts on digital modes through a LDG tuner to a 31-ft vertical wire, through a 100-ft RG-8X feedline, with a 4-to-1 unun at the base of the antenna, and one 31-ft counterpoise laid on the ground. I get acceptable SWR on all the HF bands except 160. The fiberglass antenna support is fastened to a clothesline support with several pieces of stiff twisted wire. Can’t get much more kludgy than that!
The bands suck … right? If you look at the solar conditions, they’re no good, right? Can’t hear anybody, right? Behold …
Those flags represent the stations I heard on FT8, 80 through 17 meters, this evening. Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, loads of Europeans, Australia, Oman … what more do you want? Could I work them all? Unfortunately, no. But I worked a bunch … twenty-one of them. With a better antenna … you never know. But they’re THERE … and they’re WORKABLE … by SOMEONE! Might be you! The right time and the right place!
Turn the radio on … don’t sit and complain. They’re there! They’re waiting!