Friday, March 22, 2013

Two new DXCC in 24 hours

The higher your DXCC count, the harder it is to work new ones. At 285, I imagine things are going to get a lot more difficult at the shack of EI2KC from now on. However, the past 24 hours has bucked the trend, because I worked not one, but two new DXCCs in that period.

Yesterday morning, while unsuccessfully trying to bag H40T on 30m CW, I QSYed down the band to find XR0YG (Easter Island) and could hear them so I decided to give it a go. A short time later, I heard that beautiful music wafting through the ether "EI2KC 5NN". That was DXCC #286 for me.
A screen shot showing my XR0YG and T2GM confirmations on LoTW
This morning, I got a text message from another ham friend at 6.45am saying "H40T on 7015, up 2, gud sig".  So I got straight out of bed and headed down to the shack, putting the equipment on (and the kettle) while still getting dressed!! Sure enough, I could hear H40T on that QRG, and could hear that he was working around two to three KCs up.

With the linear warmed up, I hit the ground running. At 7.06am, I heard "KC 5NN" but did not respond in case it wasn't me. A second later I heard "EI2KC 5NN" so I have him "RR EI2KC 5NN TU" and I had DXCC #287 in the log. What a great pleasure!! I was the last one in the log before they went QRX/QRT. They disappeared off 30m CW a few minutes later shortly after I started trying them there.

I am both astonished and delighted to see that XR0YG has already confirmed our QSO yesterday on ARRL's Logbook of the World (LoTW). Really impressed with that. I also have confirmation of my first QSO with T2GM Tuvalu on 30m CW, and am awaiting two further confirmations for 20m and 17m.

Anyway, two new ones in 24 hours is a rare achievement these days. I will try the XR0YG dxpedition on other bands if I get the chance but I have a busy weekend ahead and may not get anywhere near the radios...

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Video: Smashing signals from Spratly

This is a short video showing the signal strength of 9M4SLL, the Spratly Islands dxpedition, on 17 metres CW today. Excellent propagation on the bands. That was somewhat dampened later by the arrival of a CME to earth and a consequent rise in the K index. There were aurora reports further north. Lots of Irish hams have been working Spratly on different bands, filling out slots. What a great signal !

Some nice confirmations via Logbook of the World

You know the old saying about buses in Dublin. You wait ages for one, and then two come along at once! That might have been the case with my Logbook of the World confirmations when I logged in yesterday to find a rake of nice QSLs waiting for me. Here is a summary:

9M4SLL - Spratly Islands - four slots confirmed, the best one by far being 80m CW!
KL1V - Alaska - 30m CW - worked on Tuesday last as a brand new one on that band!
9X0NH - Rwanda - 30m/17m CW - two confirmations from this rare African country.
PJ2/K8ND - Curacao - 17m/10m CW - two new slots confirmed.
T30PY - Western Kiribati - two bands confirmed for this rare DXCC.
J38A - Grenada - 80m CW - a new country confirmed on 80 metres.
4A4A - Revilla Gigedo - confirmation of two slots from a March 2011 dxpedition.
T6MO - Afghanistan - a new QSL for 80m. He was a new DXCC on that band.
TZ6BB - Mali - 17m CW. New slot confirmed.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

A great weekend on the bands

What a great weekend on the bands! It was raining here all day Saturday so it was a day for the shack. The Clipperton Island dxpedition was winding up by Saturday so it was tough going getting more slots. But I managed 10 metres SSB (finally, after an hour and a half of QSB and much QRM) and later in the night I got 20m RTTY to bring my total number of band slots up to 14. That far exceeded any expectations I had. It was a real delight to work them on every band from 80m through 10m.

The Progress window of my logging program showing my TX5K slots.
It was one highlight of a great weekend on the bands, the rest of which is briefly outlined here:

5W0W - Samoa - 20m SSB - made it through a huge pile-up by numbers
WL7E - Alaska - 17m SSB - a great contact through a huge EU pile
H44G - Solomon Islands - 20m CW - strong signals for a short time here and I was in the log after a few minutes
VR2KF - Hong Kong - 17m CW - new band slot
A92IO - Bahrain - Dave gave me a new band when he heard me on 20m CW
XW0ZJZ - Laos - 20m CW at 19:37 local time. Great signal for that time of night
VE7SNC - British Columia - 17m SSB
KL2YV - Alaska - 20m SSB my second contact with Alaska this weekend. Took longer but gave me a new slot
T6MO - Afghanistan - 80m CW. Saw this one on the reverse beacon and jumped at it before he was spotted on the clusters. New country on 80m!
V47JA - St. Kitts & St. Nevis - 40m SSB - new band slot. Worked first call with 400w and my Butternut vertical.
HP1/IZ6BRN - Panama - 20m CW
H44G - Solomon Islands - 15m CW. New country on 15 metres! Again big signal. Only took a few calls. He went QRT just after he logged me
DU1EV - Philippines - 15m SSB. Working a 1khz split, which is a bit unorthodox, but got him when he called #2s.
XW0ZJZ - Laos - 17m CW - new country on 17 metres !!
KL3IH - Alaska - 20m SSB - Alaska is rare and difficult to work but this was my third contact into Alaska over the weekend!! He had a huge pile-up but I waited until propagation dropped and EU quietened down.
V73NS - Marshall Islands - 20m CW - another huge thrill was working Neil on only my second band slot ever for this DXCC!!
9M4SLL - Spratly - 30m CW
J88DR - St Vincent - 30m CW
HS0ZEE - Thailand - 30m CW - new country on 30m!

Here are my totals on the bands (worked/confirmed)
160m:  66/51
80m: 128/104
40m: 187/140
30m: 197/142
20m: 250/190
17m: 250/172
15m: 235/149
12m: 221/153
10m: 214/153

Total: 285/256

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Great signals coming from Clipperton Island

Above are two videos showing the signal strength from TX5K Clipperton on 15m CW and 30m CW here on my hexbeam and my inverted v. Incredible stuff. The first video was takenlast night after 9.30pm local time, while the 30m video was 9.24am this morning. Really great signals from Clipperton and they're proving quite workable here in EI. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The early bird does indeed catch the worm!

This is my QSO with TX5K, Clipperton Island, on 80 metres CW at shortly after 6am this morning! I started recording just as I started calling them, and as you can see from this very short video, I got through after just three calls!!

Although his signal doesn't seem to be very strong, bear in mind that I was using my old Butternut vertical antenna! I was giving him 400 watts from the Acom 1000. He was calling EU only. I am absolutely delighted to get this rare one into the log on the low bands. That brings my total number of slots up to eight.

I had heard them on 80 CW at 8.30am yesterday, but it was bright here and it was too late. However, Ark EI9KC had told me to try around 5-6am so that's what I did. Thanks Ark !

And here it is . . . the DXA online log system for TX5K confirms
that I have worked them on 80m CW, among others!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

TX5K Clipperton update - seven slots now

From having just one lowly slot early Monday morning, I finished Monday with a total of seven. Having worked TX5K on 40m CW yesterday morning, I came home from work yesterday evening and got busy! I spent an hour trying on 15m CW without success. I had to go and do some shopping around 8.45pm. I came back a short time later and worked them on 17m SSB with two calls! Then I went back to 15m CW and they were stronger than before! I worked them after a few calls.
This is the DXA online log for TX5K. Looks pretty cool! Here's my seven slots.
The big surprise of the night was to hear them strong on 12m CW at 9.30pm local time. To my astonishment, I worked them with my first call. Soon after that I had bagged them on 20m CW too, plus I managed a QSO on 30m, where I worked them just one KC up from their frequency.

This morning, I didn't get to the radio until about 8.40am and although TX5K was audible on 80m CW, it was perhaps a little too late for trying. Hopefully they will be on that slot again in the coming days and I will try to get them earlier.

Hats off to John EI7BA who has no fewer than SIXTEEN slots so far! Wow!

PS: Today is the third anniversary of my callsign EI2KC. Delighted that I've hit 285 DXCC.... now the drive towards 300 begins!!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Clipperton Island in the log - twice! DXCC #285

I am delighted to report that I have worked TX5K, Clipperton Island. I managed to nab them after about 20 minutes of trying on Sunday on 17 metres CW. They had a big signal, but of course the European pile-up was huge. I had tried for ten minutes before dinner but didn't get through. Immediately after dinner I was back at the rig again and figured out his listening pattern. After about ten minutes I heard the magic "EI2KC 5NN" coming through, and confirmed the QSO with "RR EI2KC 5NN TU".

This morning, Monday, I was trying on 40m CW. This operator had a different pattern. He kept going up, by about half a KC each time, until he was about 10kc up, and then he would come back down again, in increments. I had just about figured out his pattern when it was time to go to work. I switched everything off and went to wait for my lift. However, I got a text message saying he was running 15 minutes late, so I went straight back into the shack and switched on the radio and the linear and went back to calling him again. After about five minutes the magic was happening again . . . "EI2KC 5NN". I was delighted to get through, particularly because of the width of the pile-up and the number of EU ops calling him.

TX5K is an international dxpedition to Clipperton Island (official DXCC designator FO-C). It's my 285th DXCC worked. I am particularly delighted because tomorrow, Tuesday, will be the third anniversary of receiving my EI2KC callsign.