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Mon Feb 18 22:13:34 EST 2008

                    ARRL DX Contest, CW

Call: K4XD
Operator(s): K4XD
Station: K4XD

Class: SOAB(A) HP
QTH: Raleigh, NC
Operating Time (hrs): 28.75

 Band  QSOs  Mults
  160:   43    29
   80:  136    65
   40:  186    69
   20:  483    82
   15:   64    29
   10:    0     0
Total:  912   274  Total Score = 749,664

Club: Potomac Valley Radio Club


CW, DX, all bands, lots of activity -- I'm in contest heaven!  Unfortunately, I
arrived home after 0300 Friday night, and had social obligations Saturday
evening, so I missed about 6 prime hours.  I did manage to get in 28 3/4 hours
over the course of the weekend, and it seemed longer.  I'm in awe of people who
put in 48 hours straight.  I can't imagine doing almost double what I did.  

I don't have SO2R set up for CW yet, and didn't want to mess with trying during
the weekend, so it was all on one radio this time.  

I spent the first 90 minutes on 40M with S&P.  A bit before 0500, I just had to
see if there were any "new ones" on 160M and sure enough, worked 4U1UN right off
the bat.  At this point I've lost track of which others were new for me, but
with VP6DX last week, I've seen my 160M totals move up by 9 to 84 worked in the
last couple of weeks.  Something good from the sunspot minimum!

By 0550 I had pretty milked 160M for S&P, and went up to 80M to grab what I
could before hitting the sack for the night.  I called it quits at 0630 and
caught 6 hours sleep.  

Back in action at 1230, I spent about half an hour on 40M and then went to 20,
where I stayed until 1830, picking up 200 Q's, mostly S&P but a bit of running.
  Then spent some time on 15M, which was hopping with signals, but no EU. 
Mostly  SA, some AF and ASPAC.   T32OU was booming in, as was VP6DX (which has
been a fantastic DXpedition, very easy to work from here).  At 2030 I spent
about 15 minutes on 20M, then went to 40M for 3 hours, at which point I had to
break for company.  I managed to get back at 0200 and finished up just before
0600 with 550 Q's.  I had thought about going for 1000 Q's this weekend (a
barrier I have yet to cross), but realized with the family obligations it was
not likely.  

The next morning EU was hot on 20M!  I was able to run for 2 hours and picked
up another 100 Q's, with some spans where the QSO-o-meter hit 140.  100W EU
stations were sounding like KW's.  I know by most DXpedition standards the
pileups were tiny, but on the other hand they were compact -- no one is
spreading out in a contest.  I suspect once you have more than half a dozen
stations calling at once on the same frequency, it doesn't sound much different
-- cacophony!!  It was both exhilarating and intimidating at once.  Would the
callers think I was a total lid, picking out partial calls at best?!   I think
once you've spent any time on the receiving end of even a small pileup, it
changes your outlook about working one on the other end.  It really doesn't do
any good to call on top of everyone else!  

At this point I decided to open up notepad and take some notes, so here they

Some nice QRP from HB9 -- 5 W and then 2W.  I feel wasteful with my 800W.

Hopped up to 15M at 2PM to see what was going on.  Not much compared to
Saturday when the band was jumping with signals at the same time.  Pretty dead.
 I was able to work a couple of PY's so the band was open, let's see what
happens if I try to run.  Answer:  get some time to read QST.  Then A35 calls
in -- nice suprise, thanks!   I see 4U1UN is on -- I can hear him better
longpath.  Try working him but no cigar.  

Sunday afternoon -- 3PM.  CQ'ing and with one answer every 3 minutes, my 1000 Q
day is not looking very good.  It's all hanging on 40M delivering some big
hours.  When should I go there?  Already worked OT4A there a half hour ago -- I
don't recall seeing EU that early on 40 before from here in NC.

I've had two 4 landers call me on 20M in the last 10 minutes.  Is there some
QSO party going on that I'm not aware of?  I just give them 5nn NC and keep
moving. An HA calls, and then someone else calls him on my run frequency.  I
let them finish the Q and quickly start CQ'ing, although with the rate I'm
seeing here I'm not sure what I'm rushing to protect.  807 Q's and 4 hours to
go.  Not looking so good.

An I station calls with a KW and he is QSB'ing badly.  Can't imagine what I'm
sounding like on the other side of the pond.  3:16PM and suddenly signals are
loud again -- band coming back?   Ah, I see on the bandmap someone spotted me. 
Fresh meat for some.  Whoever spotted me was tuned a bit low, so all the callers
are where the spot was.  I'd move but it would be into the QRM.  Calls are now
about 90 secs apart.  JW8AW calls, nice! 

Signals continue loud at 2028 -- Italy, Northern Eu.  Rate over 40. V73RY calls
in with 50W!  And I'm beaming 50 deg, he's off the back.

ZM1A calls in.  Nice!  Seems like we have a nice pipe to NZ from NC when the
band is open.

2040 -- my spot is stale and so is my run freq.  Been a couple minutes since
anyone called.  2048 -- I decide I'll go to 40M at 2055, assuming others will
arrive 5 mins later.

2130.  There's a big hole from 7015 to 7020.  Did I miss something?  Probably
full on the EU side.

2230.  Check out 20M just to see -- the bandmap is full of JA's.  I usually
can't even hear them when that happens, but tonight they're booming in!  I
start working one after another, 17 of them. More JA's than I've worked in the
last year!

Big push for the last hour but 88 Q's shy of 1000.  Next time!

Aftermath.  Worked 100 countries, exactly DXCC!

Top 10 # of Q's in descending order  -- DL, I, OK, G, F, EA, HA, SP, UK, OM

9 Dupes out of 922 -- only 1% dupes.

EA8EA, J7DX, KP2M, PJ2T, PJ4O, and V31UZ worked on 5 bands.

Thanks and good night!

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