My 10,000 Hour RadioSport Challenge | 9,398 – 20 = 9,378 To Go

2012 ARRL 10 Meter Mixed Mode Results

Good morning from the #hamr shackadelic zone where I’m listening to Hans Zimmer score from The Dark Knight film. If any one composer can establish a mood for writing then Zimmer’s passionate heroic tracks gets my, “Roger, that.”

RadioSport Pain
Sometimes, RadioSport is a game of pain, when hours seem to punish my lower back, muscles stiffen, and my brain rings from automated CQs generated by N1MM Contest Logger. Meanwhile sunny skies beckoned and I wondered if the challenge is worth my time? This weekend was remarkable because I experienced propagation vagaries especially skewed path toward South America, radio black outs, and long path out of no where.

Friday Night
Friday night was a radio frequency adventure because Australia and New Zealand started populating my log as SL’s five element beam pointed 75 degrees toward the East coast of the United States. Likewise, Japan and China are in sun light however not a signal heard inside the cans. This was the start of strange propagation where I did not beam energy in otherwise normal directions.

Am I logging Victor Kilowatts and Zulu Limas via long path? Where is Japan and China? I have not heard a single Yankee Bravo either? Fascinating.

I paid attention to the position of the sun in the southern hemisphere. It was like a gargantuan magnetic pulling electromagnetic waves over the equator. The rush of energy probably surprised many Papa Yankees, Lima Uniforms, Charlie Whiskeys, Hotel Kilowatts, and Charlie X-rays. My situation was a midwest-to-easterly radio blackout throughout Saturday with zero signals radiating out of the Caribbean basin and vapor out of Europe.

I’m thinking this is remarkable because my normal strategy does not apply.

South American stations carried my log all day Saturday after a brief opening to the East coast shortly before West coast noon. In contrast, perhaps, an E cloud of significant size focused my signal toward the south eastern section of the United States specifically Georgia and Florida. I realized six straight Georgian stations and seven Floridian stations in the log within an hour after sunrise.

The record for consecutive state Qs goes to Florida. Amazing! In contrast, I logged only one 0-land station from Colorado during my 20 hours of operation. It was complete radio silence from the heartland including Texas.

South America Roars
Perhaps mid-western latitude and longitude significantly impacted by the lack of ionospheric ionization created a skip zone between both coasts? Wireless skip did not approach a latitude of 60 degrees or greater throughout Saturday at least from the central coast of California. Additionally, I pointed SL’s 5 elements at 310 degrees in the afternoon instead of 110 degrees or greater and South America roared inside my cans. Skew path is fascinating.

I was grateful that so many in South America kept the game in the game for North America especially for this operator on the central coast of California!

It is evident that the go-to mode this weekend was definitely Morse code. I could not establish any ionospheric traction using single side band and calling human generated CQs was punishing enough. Instead, with less ionospheric absorption soaking up energy, I focused on the code. My hours matched the rush of shooting Class V white water with peaks at 4 Qs per minute or 1 Q every 15 seconds.

In Sum
Yes, as painful as a RadioSport weekend can be this was one, however; let’s not overlook the lemonade from lemons. It was strange propagation that made 20 hours in the pilot’s seat a learning experience. The reward was knowledge gained from practice, practice, practice.

Contest on!       

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