I saw this post on the CW e-mail reflector today, which made me feel much better about things:
Anyone else experiencing the overall lousy 40m conditions the past few days (weeks)?
There are very few signals moving the s-meter over S9 during the day and afternoons. A few weeks aqo 40m was filled with S9 and plus signals at my QTH, not just from QRO monster stations.
I know I need to place my order for a couple of new Super Berthas and get at least a 3x 40m Yagi stack on each, but I never struggled with conditions like this in the past couple of weeks....
And here I thought I was the only one! I guess I'm just paranoid. I always start to think that it's either MY rig or MY antenna at fault!
This evening, after making sure my kids had dinner, I sneaked down to the shack for a few minutes to see what I could hear on 20 Meters. I heard Emile, FG5HM from down on Guadeloupe calling CQ. I threw my call out and sure enough, he answered me! I've worked Emile once before about 5 years ago; but it wasn't QRP. Of course, this time it was, so I can officially put DXCC Entity #86 in the books.
Later, I found 40 Meters to be wall-to-wall static crashes. But conditions were pretty good, otherwise. Down at the very low portion, I heard PZ5RA calling CQ from down in Suriname. Another country that I can use for QRP DXCC. The op was working split, moving a little bit farther up each QSO until he would go as far as about 3 KHz up - then go back to only 1 KHz up and start moving up again until 3 KHz up and back down again and so on and so on. It took me a bit to figure out the pattern. Anyway, I was throwing out my call when I heard him come back "W2L?". I threw out my call again and just as he was sending that last letter (which I hope was a "J") there was a huge static crash! I sent out my exchange; and as soon as I ended, he started sending the standard "TU 73 QRZ?", in perfect flow. So I am 99 and 44/100% sure that I had a successful QSO. I guess I'll send out a QSL card and wait until I either get one back; or get mine back with a "Not in Log" stamp on it!
Lastly, it looks like no QRP To The Field for W2LJ tomorrow. First, it's supposed to rain all day; and I'm not about to get my K1 all soggy. Second, I have to go into work tomorrow! A co-worker in a another branch office has a pressing project to complete; and my boss asked me to travel up to Jersey City tomorrow morning to lend a hand for a couple of hours. I can't tell you just how much I am looking forward to going in tomorrow morning! ;)
As if the weekends weren't short enough!
73 de Larry W2LJ