Now, for a limited time ....... considering how the sunspot cycle is dropping like a lead balloon through a pool of hot, melted butter.
But today was relatively decent. I set up the Buddistick on the Jeep during lunchtime, hoping to hear or work a few NPOTAs. No dice, nothing heard, even though DX Summit said they were there. I did hear a few chasers on both 40 and 20 Meters. Not hearing the activators, I decided not to be a QRM generator to those who stood a decent shot.
So I went on up to 17 Meters where I heard MJ0KUC , the DXpedition to Jersey Island by the Charente DX Group. Even though I have worked Jersey several times, I always try to honor the Jersey / New Jersey connection by making contact. The CW op behind the key was superb, handling the pileup deftly and expertly. He was loud to me - 589/599 depending on the QSB so I decided to give it a shot. I put out my call a few times and finally heard "W2LJ HI LARRY".
Talk about being surprised - no one else's name was being used! Coming back to my desk, while I still had a few minutes of lunchtime left, I decided to Google "MJ0KUC" and when the page came up, the surprise vanished. My expert CW op was none other than Bert F6HKA - it just had to be! We have QSOed before multiple times, so when we hear each other's call on the air, we both exactly know who is behind the key.
That was so very cool! Thanks, Bert, for the highlight of the day!
The other DX QSO of the day was with 9Y/K2HVN, Bill in Tobago. QSB was tougher on this one, but we got the exchange completed, and I'm in the log. From there, I spent another 20 minutes or so unsuccessfully trying to bust the 7Z1JA pileup for Saudi Arabia. Again, the station was decently loud to me, but no such luck. The Buddistick didn't have THAT much mojo in it today!
Truly, band conditions are becoming tougher and tougher. The ease with which I was able to work DX for the past few seasons is rapidly disappearing. But, it's encouraging to know that all things related to Amateur Radio propagation runs in cycles, so the day will come again (someday) when DX with 5 Watts will become easier.
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!