Great success in the 80 Meter Fox hunt tonight, due to the great ears of Dave N1IX and Tom KV2X. The fact that Dave lives in New Hampshire and Tom in New York was to my benefit as these are pretty easy hops for me on 80 Meters.
I went to the ARRL's Web page today and downloaded the Diamond DXCC (DDXCC) Scorecard, which is an Excel file that you can use to keep track of the entities that you have worked towards the award. So far in January, I worked 15 entities that count. So I am 15% of the way there. Not a terrible start and we have the major DX contests still to come - the ARRL DX Contest coming up in February as a matter of fact. I don't know if I will be able to achieve the certificate; but it is a worthwhile and fun goal for the year.
15 Meters did not seem as active this morning as yesterday morning. I did manage to get Cuba in the log, working CO6WD before heading off to work. Down the band, there was a huge pileup, spanning many kHz; but for the life of me, I don't know who everyone was trying to work. I couldn't hear the quarry (and I didn't have the DX Cluster up on screen); but I would assume it was most likely either HK0NA, TN2T or perhaps VP6T. These seem to be the three "biggies" right now.
The more that I am on the air this year, the more I am coming to realize that "Happiness is listening to a good fist". I hope that I fall into that category; but I can sure tell you that there are a lot of folks out there who don't seem to. And that's a shame.
The problem seems to be spacing and "hurrying up". And I think I make that mistake myself from time to time, especially if I'm a bit tired and not paying attention to what I am doing. A long time ago, my Mom gave me a little angel that hung from the rear view mirror in my car that said, "Never drive faster than your Guardian Angel can fly". I think we Morse Code enthusiasts should have something along the same lines. "Never send faster than your fist can send" (or something like that!). If you get sloppy, or take for granted what you are doing and don't pay attention to the task at hand, you're going to sound pretty awful. And that's not fun for anybody.
Sending good Morse is an art. It is a deliberate act that takes concentration and diligence and practice. Spacing is just as important if not more important than anything else. It's a good thing to remind ourselves, from time to time.
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!