More DX during the solar minimum
Despite the poor propagation conditions occurring during the current solar minimum (which I, and practically every other ham has written about ad nauseam), I continue to make some good, and sometimes outstanding DX contacts. A couple of weeks ago, I had a CW contact with Richard, 9M2CNC in West Malaysia on 20m at around 8pm local time. While I’d worked West Malaysia before (in fact with Richard as well, then operating as 9M2/G4ZFE during an RTTY contest), that was the first CW contact that I had with that DXCC entity. I’m happy to say that the contact has been confirmed via Logbook of the World already.
Yesterday afternoon, I was working from home and took and saw a spot for Bill, E51NOU on 17m CW. The interesting thing was that it was the middle of the afternoon (not normally a good time for propagation to that part of the world), but I was easily able to make the contact.
Best of all, early this afternoon, I saw some spots for Wim, XU7TZG in Cambodia on 20m phone. The time was around 1PM local time, which means it was around midnight in Cambodia, late for this type of contact. I tuned to the frequency and was surprised to hear Wim working a (surprisingly small) pileup. I needed a contact with Cambodia as an “all-time new one” for DXCC purposes, so I figured that I might as well try to call him. Wim slowly worked the pile down (presumably getting the stronger stations out of the way), and after 30 minutes or so, I was very pleased him respond to my call, and the contact was completed.
All three of the contacts I’ve just discussed were made under fairly poor solar conditions. The solar conditions when I worked Wim in Cambodia were about as bad as you can get. The solar flux number was 69, which I believe is the minimum value possible (I’ll have to go read up and see why it doesn’t go to zero) and there were no sunspots at all. Both of those values indicate poor propagation. Fortunately, like the urban legend (check out that link, it’s a good explanation of that legend) that says that it’s aerodynamically impossible for bees to fly, radio waves don’t bother to listen to scientists nor do they study physics.
As I’ve said before: Stop complaining about how poor the conditions are. Turn on your radio. Listen around and if you don’t hear anything, call CQ. You might be surprised at the kind of wonderful contacts you can make.