I wasn't expecting much, now that we're on the downward slope of the sunspot cycle. This really got reinforced for me on Friday. I had taken the day off from work, to use up some leftover vacation days from last year, and to make the long President's Day weekend even longer. So Friday afternoon, I got on the radio, expecting to hear all kinds of stations warming up for the Big Event.
Nothing - the bands were dead! I had mentioned this on Twitter and K2MTS came back to me that there were some tough solar conditions that were occurring. Of course, on my day off, O'l Sol would choose to throw a hissy fit.
Come Saturday afternoon, I got back on again, not quite knowing what to expect. This time, the Sun and the ionosphere had decided to make nice. Conditions seemed to be remarkably better. I stuck to mainly 20 and 15 Meters and was able to work anyone that I chose to (I was searching and pouncing). The Caribbean nations and Europe were within easy reach. I was even able to work Japan on 20 Meters and a couple of Hawaiian stations on 15 Meters. In all, operating VERY casually, if memory serves me correctly, I made close to 75 contacts and probably worked 30 to 40 different DXCC entities.
I have Log4OM set up to notify me whenever a station from Poland is spotted. I guess it's a heritage thing; and I pay close attention to working Polish stations whenever I can. I worked and handful of them as well.
So it turned out to be a delightful weekend of twiddling the knob and getting back into the swing of being able to bust small pileups, even with only 5 Watts. Even though I know that it's true, it's nice to have that confidence in the back of my mind that QRP works, even when band conditions are less than optimal.
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!