A pleasing Tuesday afternoon on the bands.

The bands seem to be improving and it's a nice thing to see. Today I flipped the switch on in the early afternoon. I also loaded DX Heat a site that is my go-to as it lets me know what's going on in and around the bands. There were some nice dx spots on 15m and I thought I would spin the dial over to 15 meters in the CW section. The first station I tuned in was TZ4AM in Mali and Jeff was working split but with (that I could hear) not much of a pileup. I listened to his receive frequency (my calling frequency) to find out who he was working and how he was either moving up or down the frequency. I very soon got the hang of his operating and I called him and was in the log in no time. He gave me 569 and returned with 559 signal reports. 

A little further down on 15m I heard 7X3WPL in Algeria. I checked out the call on QRZ.COM and this is a very active club called Sahara DX radio club. I gave them a call and I think they were not working split (can't remember) but there was a bit more of a pile-up. I decided to come back in a little while and see if things had calmed down. I came back about 5 minutes later and the log jam had cleared. I worked 7X3WPL and we exchanged signal reports. 

I then came across another Algerian station 7X4AN he was calling CQ with no answers but he was just above the noise floor so I put the APF on (audio peak filter) and this helped out a great deal. I gave him a call and we did some repeats but contact was made and he was in the log. After my contact, he was spotted and the pileup began. It was good I got in when I did. 

I also had CN8KD in Morocco booming in on 15m he was operating simplex and had a huge pileup. I did give it a go here and there but the number of stations calling him made it a waste of time for me to sit there and try. I moved on but he had a great signal at my QTH. 

DX Heat was also showing 10m to be pretty active. Now up to this point, I have seen many spots for 10m and when I have always tuned there at my end it is just plain dead, no signals at all. This time there was a spot for 7Q6M in Malawi. To my surprise, he was there and with a signal of S7! He was operating split and I could hear some of the stations trying to contact him but not many. I did try a few times but no luck but just hearing some DX on 10m was a huge step! 

Well, that was my afternoon on the radio. I was using my Icom 7610 at 100 watts into a multi-band End-Fed antenna about 30 feet off the ground. All contacts were CW with filter settings at 250 and now and then using the APF. Having the 2 independent receivers in the 7610 is a great help. I have VFO A in my left ear and VFO B in my right. When operating split it's a great help to hear both sides.

Mike Weir, VE9KK, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New Brunswick, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

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