Seventeen Prefixes

I didn’t make a single QSO on Saturday. We had to go to my principle’s wedding in Taizhong and when we came home the radio only made a lot of noise with very few signals around. The K-index was 4 if I remember correctly, so that explains it a bit. Instead I heated up the old Weller and I finished another part of my audio filter. A Saturday night well spent.

Sunday was a different story. I hadn’t planned on participating in the ARRL contest, but there were so many signals on 15 meters from the States that it was impossible not to log some new prefixes for the FISTS 25th Anniversary Prefixes award. I spent an hour in the morning and logged 13 stations.

There was no FEA net at 0800, so I logged E73W (new country for me) and then took down the Cobweb. It was making too much noise in the wind and I need to get the wire tension fixed anyway. I put up the 10 meter vertical again and what a difference that makes! The higher bands were suffering from local noise but 40 meters was brimming with stations and even with the attenuator switched on they were still booming in. Nothing like a good vertical for 40 meters. 80 meters and 160 meters only yielded Asian stations, so back to 40 and in the course of the evening I spent – altogether – an hour logging another 11 stations from North America. In the end I counted the following 16 new prefixes for my award:

K0, KV0 / N2 / K5 / AA6, K6, KA6, N6, W6 / K7, N7, NJ7, NK7, VE7, WA7 / N9. All of them from the Western part of NA.

Add to that the E73 prefix and I didn’t do so bad at all this weekend: my score went up almost 7%. More important: my CW skills improved again, especially the rapid taking of call signs. I know there are “apps” for practising Morse code, but the best practice is still on air. Only 152 prefixes to go.

Hans "Fong" van den Boogert, BX2ABT, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Taiwan. Contact him at [email protected].

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