Posts Tagged ‘pileups’

The allure of DX

is a very good thing, but can be bad at times.  My buddy W3BBO describes it as an “obsession” or an “addiction”.  I’d have to agree with him there. Once you get your first taste and get hooked, there’s no turning back. Add QRP power to the mix and,  if you’re addicted to challenges – stick a fork in you, you’re done.

The bands were alive with signals again during lunchtime today.  But yet, I only worked two stations. My addiction got in the way. I worked Laci HA0NAR in Hungary, who I have worked many times before. I also worked LY10NATO, who asked me to spot him, as he was calling CQ without many takers.  Being in the car, away from the Internet, I didn’t have that luxury.

My downfall came when I heard TX6G on 12 Meters. He was LOUD. 599+ loud at times.  I immediately thought, “Wow! THAT loud, here’s my chance to work them QRP.”.  Not today, Grasshopper, not today.

Undoubtedly, if I wasn’t so hard headed, I could have worked at least three or four more stations in my limited time allotment.  However, my stubborn Polish side got the better of me, and I did a Don Quixote, and chased a windmill. 

The windmill won.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP – When you care to send the very least!

Two more pileups busted tonight.

Ten Meters was busy after I got home from work – plenty of signals.  I heard TX6G but they were kind of weak, so I decided to check 15 Meters.  They were louder there and their pileup wasn’t quite as busy as on 10 Meters.  So, I started sending my call, with no luck. After a bit, I noticed their signal was starting to fade. Not wanting to lose them, I decided to go QRO and bumped up the power to 75 Watts. Bingo on the first call at higher power – TX6G is in the log for a new DXCC Entity. The group is there until April 1st, which is a week from tomorrow – so I will try throughout the week to try and get them via QRP. That’s a tall order, but do-able if the pileups get smaller as the DXpedition draws to a close.

From there I went back to 10 Meters and listened more than anything.  I heard quite the few JAs and tried calling a few, but 5 Watts just wasn’t cutting it.  Then, I heard a fierce pileup for VP2V/SP6CIK.  I managed to bust that pileup with 5 Watts.

I was amazed at the ferocity of that pileup.  While the British Virgin Islands are an easy hop from the US, I guess they are a rarer entity from Europe and Asia.  I heard quite the few JAs being answered as well as a lot of European stations. Whoever was behind the key was handling the pileup methodically and precisely. Very good pileup management and very good pileup discipline.  I only heard a few “UP”s from the Pileup Police.  All in all, it was a well behaved group.

I didn’t go out to the car at lunchtime today, as winter has returned for a brief visit. It was 27F (-3C) and I just wasn’t in the mood to freeze.  Tomorrow we’re supposed to get anywhere from a dusting to 3 inches (7.5 cm) of snow.  BUT, by Friday and Saturday, it’s supposed to be back up near 60F (16C). That’s the only good thing about late March snows in New Jersey – they tend to disappear fast.

I guess the old Mark Twain quote about the weather in New England holds true for New Jersey, too. If you don’t like the weather in New Jersey, just wait a few hours. It will change – especially this time of year.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP – When you care to send the very least!

A personal challenge

I went out to the car during lunchtime today.  Temperatures here in New Jersey have cooled down. It was only in the upper 40s here (about 9C), so instead of standing outside and operating from the rear hatch of the Jeep, I sat inside to keep out of the breeze.  Activity on 10 Meters seems to have gotten sparse. I still hear signals, mind you, but they are not as loud and not as “wall to wall” as they were just a few weeks ago.  I don’t know if it’s that the band has changed a bit, or perhaps the novelty of 10 Meters coming back to life has worn off. In any event, I found myself on 17 Meters today, tuning around the band to hear what I could hear.

I worked EI13CLAN, whom I worked last month on 10 Meters.  He was very strong, a very legitimate 599.

The tuning around some more, I heard XF1P calling “CQ DX UP”.  OK …….. Mexico.  But the pileup was huge …… HUGE!  I wasn’t exactly sure why. Mexico is not exactly what you’d consider to be the rarest of rare DX.  I reasoned that with a pileup that big, something that I was unaware of must be “up”.  Additionally, I  took it as a personal challenge. Could a QRP station running 5 Watts to a Buddistick possibly bust that pileup?  XF1P was 599, but just barely. There was QSB to boot. I was reasonably sure that my signal would be audible on his end, but with that pileup, would I get lost in the sauce?

I sat there for about  20 minutes, listening and sending out my call. The KX3, with it’s Dual Watch feature, almost makes it unfair.  I was able to follow XF1P along the band as he would move slightly after answering each station, XF1P in my right earbud and the station he was working in my left earbud. It just became a matter of sensing his pattern and setting the transmit VFO just a tiny bit higher after each call. Also, I had to time the sending of my call –  not transmitting immediately, but waiting for the pileup to fade “just” enough where my call would be heard among the cacophony of all the true 599s that he must have undoubtedly been hearing.  Finally, I heard him send back “W2L?”. Wouldn’t you know it? True to form, all kinds of stations without a “W”,” 2″ or an “L” anywhere in their calls began blindly transmitting.  Not deterred,  I stayed with it and threw “W2LJ” out there just a couple of more times and was rewarded with a confirmation.

Coming back from lunch, a quick peek on the computer before resuming work informed me that XF1P is an IOTA DXpedition to Partida Island – NA-124 located in the Gulf of California off the coast of Baja, Mexico. It is an uninhabited island, so I guess that makes it rare as IOTA goes.  The pileup of IOTA devotees was intense, but I accepted the challenge with 5 Watts, took advantage of XF1P’s exceptional ears, and got through!  That’s always a good feeling. And it also goes to show, that if I can do this, then YOU can do it too. It just takes some persistence and a lot of listening.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP – When you care to send the very least!

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