This week is the week that I refer to as "Hell Week" at work. One week, every month, we do inventory at all of the 40+ remote locations that the company owns, nationwide. We also do disposals at the same time. I'm the one who coordinates and schedules the technicians doing the inventories. I also arrange for either the shipment or pickup of old outdated computer and networking equipment to go to a recycling facility. I also have to examine and sign off on each inventory, a time consuming process.
We accomplish this by breaking up the sites over three days - Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Needless to say, those days are hectic and lunch is eaten at the desk, in order to be available for telephone calls, from both technicians and trucking companies Today was the first day this week that I have been able to take a breath and the first day that I was able to make it out to the Jeep for some lunchtime QRP.
The bands seemed to be inactive - not dead, as I was hearing some signals - but not much activity. Then, on 17 Meters, at about 18.072 MHz, I heard a very loud JW/OX5M. I knew that OX is Greenland, and I was pretty sure the JW prefix was Svalbard. In any case, he was 599 at peaks with QSB taking him as low as 579 at times.
This was one of those times when I immediately got the gut feeling that "5 Watts will be enough." Since there wasn't all that much other activity (at least that I was hearing), I decided to stay with him until he was in the books.
It didn't take long. Mia was running the pileup (split, of course) with great skill, answering a call and then moving slightly up after each - eventually running the "racetrack pattern". I absolutely love when DX stations do this, as I feel it gives the QRPer a better than average shot of busting the pileup. In this case, it becomes a matter of figuring out the pattern, placing yourself on the right frequency and then carefully timing your call. As someone else said, "Wits ...... not Watts." Maybe that sounds a little too pretentious - how about "Technique ..... not Watts."? Or better yet, how about "Successfully getting in the way"?
I had Mia in the log within about 10 minutes worth of trying. Did I mention how he was managing the pileup with great skill? Not only that, but he was also giving out his callsign VERY frequently. How many times have you run across the pileup, only to have to wait agonizing minutes for the DX to give out their call - only to find out it's someone you have worked recently, or perhaps it's not anything you particularly want to chase at the moment?
I have no idea what Mia was using up there on Svalbard, but his signal was terrific and this image from Reverse Beacon Network bears that out.
Thanks, Mia, for your great ears, patience and skill. You made my work day all that much nicer!
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!