Interesting Weekend, Radio and otherwise

Some weekends are boring or should I say, laid back, while others have lots of interesting turns and twists. This past weekend was one of the latter. The only thing on the calendar was a gig on Saturday night that my band,,  had in San Antonio, so not much else was contemplated. There was also an IOTA island coming up that I needed, OC-175, DU9/JA1PBV, however space weather didn't look that great and the time on the air for DU9 station wasn't known, so I didn't get my hopes too high.

On Friday afternoon after I got home from work there were some intrepid SOTA activators on and I picked up a few chaser points working those guys. I did some experimentation with telescoping pole anchored EFHW dipole antennas in preparation for my trip next week to NM and CO. I also went through a few guitar drills just to keep the old fingers limber. A relatively quiet evening.

Saturday dawned hot. The temperature would eventually reach 108 degrees, a good day to remain indoors and that is what I did. I was able to work several SOTA summits, but generally took it easy. I had to be at the venue for the show by 5:00 to set up and sound check. Of course everything was late which is typical in a business that is normally, hurry up and wait. The show went extremely well, good crowd and sold a few CD's. Driving home after the show, it was still 94 degrees at 11:30 pm.. The down side of the show was that the IOTA I needed came up around 2300z and was worked by a couple of my buddies.  I received an email from Buzz, N5UR, notifying me of what I had missed. Oh well that's how it goes.

Sunday dawned cool and rainy. I made a cup of coffee and sat on the back porch enjoying the change in the weather. It rained for a couple of hours which in Texas, in July, is a nice rain. However, that is when the rain became the enemy. DU9/JA1PBV was spotted on 20m. Great, I come in from the porch and head to the shack, only find that the rain noise was S7. The DU9 had a nice signal, but too much static to hear consistently enough to work, plus he had  big EU pile-up as well. So sit and wait, everyone once in a while the rain would diminish, his signal was easily readible, so call a few times, the rain picks back up and the static covers him up again. The cycle repeated itself several times. Frustration. However, patience is often rewarded, while waiting  a spot for PJ5/K3RTM on 6m came across the cluster from a ham not too far from me. Wait a minute I need that one, so a I swing the antenna around and there he is, solid signal through the static, a couple of calls and a new one on 6m. Cool. During the DU9 chase, I would periodically see a spot for a SOTA summit and I worked them throughout the pursuit. Back go the DU9. Finally around 1600 the rain relented, however his signal had dropped considerably although still copiable, he was now working EU exclusively, up 2 to 3. My hope was fading. To add to the problem, I couldn't hear who he was working so I was hoping he would find me. Finally, I swung the beam to EU just to hear where the largest concentration of stations were calling and set my 2nd VFO there. I was throwing the heavy artillery at him, 1,200 watts. Sometimes 5 watts is just not enough.  Finally at 1653z I broke through the wall and got a QSO, hallelujah!!!.

So all is well that ends well. A rare IOTA in the log, a new 6m band country and a 136 SOTA chaser points for the weekend. A 108 degree day followed by an 85 degree day. A successful gig, I got a haircut, changed the oil in the Jeep and washed it after the rain stopped. A very interesting weekend.

Oh, the DU9 showed up again on 17m CW later Sunday afternoon, working up 1. I got him on the first call. Go figure.
Mike Crownover, AD5A, is a regular contributor to and writes from Texas, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

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