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George invited me out to his station again to do a single operator effort. I had spent the previous week travelling on business, and returned to Austin late Thursday night very tired. I decided to focus on a single band effort rather than push myself beyond my limits. 15 meters seemed like the most promising band, and it turned out to be a really fun weekend!
Things started out really well with a 113 hour to mostly Japan, but also the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Hawaii, and Hong Kong. ZK2HA called in for a very cool new multiplier, as well. I also worked Mexico and a couple of South American stations before the band closed. I found ZK1JD for another nice multiplier after the band had closed to Japan, and I was able to work Australians and Kiwis until pretty late - my last contact of the local evening was to Australia at 0508 UTC.
Saturday local morning started off with a lot of searching and pouncing on new multipliers. Right away, I started filling in my list of Caribbean and South American multipliers. The first trans-Atlantic QSO was with a station on the Madeira Islands at 1247 UTC, but it was quickly followed by not one but two stations in Niger running small pileups not far apart from each other on the band. The first European was a Slovakian at 1251 UTC, followed pretty quickly by Germany, Spain, Poland, and the Czech Republic all before 1300 UTC.
Most of the 1300 UTC hour was still search and pounce, and the times I'd try to call CQ and get a run going were unproductive. I did pick up a lot of mults, though, including as far away as European Russia, the Ukraine, and Greece. My first really good run of the morning was in the 1400 UTC hour, but even that was hard. There was so much QRM that when I found a good spot to call CQ and began getting a good run going, I would inevitably begin to get crowded out by W1/W2/W3/W4 stations. I had at least four different run frequencies during the European opening.
My best DX during the opening were a station in the United Arab Emirates, one in Saudi Arabia, and one in Tanzania. The 1500 and 1600 UTC hours were less productive for me, and it felt like every QSO was a struggle because of the QRM. R1ANF called in from the South Shetland Islands during the 1600 UTC hour for a great multiplier. By the 1700 UTC hour, I had found a better run frequency with less QRM, and things picked up again, although by now I was mostly working central and western Europeans with only the occasional eastern European station calling in. Cyprus was a nice multiplier to pick up at 1726 UTC. Another great multiplier to work was a station on Mauritius at 1809 UTC.
Things slowed down after the 1700 UTC hour, but I continued to work plenty of Europeans well into the 2000 UTC hour. The last new European QSO was a Finn at 2105 UTC, although I continued to hear some Europeans calling CQ for almost another hour. Most of the 2000 and 2100 UTC hours were spent working the Caribbean and South America, picking up several new multipliers such as EM1HO in Antarctica. The rain static got bad on the top antenna around this time, but didn't last for very long, thankfully.
The Japanese run began a little earlier than I was expecting with the first QSO in the log at 2209 UTC. One of the first Japanese callers was actually a JD1 on Ogasawara for a nice new multiplier. Stations on Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia also called in around this time. Unlike the night before, the best I could do to Japan was an 80 hour in the 0100 UTC clock hour, but I had over four hours of good propagation to East Asia. I picked up only a few new multipliers like the Marianas Islands, Korea, Singapore, the People's Republic of China, and the Marshall Islands. I never did work Guam, Asiatic Russia, Mongolia, Taiwan, or Alaska. The Japanese run fizzled out around 0230 UTC, after which all I worked was Australia and New Zealand. My last four QSOs of the evening were all with New Zealand stations, and the last one was at 0357 UTC.
Sunday morning I woke up still needing a few obvious multipliers like South Africa, Puerto Rico, and the Bahamas. South Africa turned out not to be a problem, as I worked six ZS stations in a matter of 17 minutes! I knew Europe would be no problem on Sunday when I worked two Europeans before 1300 UTC, and another 17 new ones in the 1400 UTC hour (as well as hearing many, many I had worked the day before calling CQ.) The European run was not quite as deep as Saturday, but in many ways was nicer, as there was a lot less QRM from the East Coast and I was able to maintain a clean run frequency for a long time without being hassled. In addition to all the European stations I was working, SU9NC called in during the 1500 UTC hour for a great new multiplier! The propagation was very similar to Saturday - I was hearing stations (most of whom I had already worked the day before) as deep as European Russia and Israel, and I was working every part of Europe from Norway to Bulgaria to Spain and everywhere in between. I did miss Lithuania, though. If I hadn't already had so many stations in the log from Saturday, I think my rate on Sunday would have been better than the day before. The final European in the log was a CT1 at 1850 UTC.
The rest of the contest was sucking wind. Even though I had another two hours of propagation to Japan at the very end, the number of stations on the air local Monday morning in Japan is pretty slim. Most of the last six hours was spent waiting for new stations to show up in the Caribbean and South America. I did break one large pileup for a new multiplier when I found KH8SI during a search and pounce pass through the band with a lot of stations already calling. (Actually, the first thing I heard was some W/VE station lecturing to the pileup about using their receivers... I had to wait a little bit to hear the station send a callsign.)
I think 15 meters was a great band to choose for a single band effort this weekend. I had a lot of fun running JAs, and it was great to see Japan accounting for over 1/4 of the contacts in my log. I was also pleasantly surprised at how many ZL and VK stations I worked - 70 in total. That's not bad at all from two countries that together have a population comparable to that of Texas. I made one Australian very happy - I was his first ever contact with the USA! (His only antenna was an 80 meter dipole five meters off the ground.)
I had a lot of fun. I thought the conditions were great for this point in the solar cycle.
Contest Logging was done with TR LOG contest logging software. The following reports and log were created using TR LOG's post-contest processor.
Last Updated 29 November 2018