[3830] ARRLDX SSB VE4VT SO Unlimited HP

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Mon Mar 4 08:33:04 EST 2013

                    ARRL DX Contest, SSB

Call: VE4VT
Operator(s): VE4VT
Station: VE4VT

Class: SO Unlimited HP
Operating Time (hrs): 

 Band  QSOs  Mults
  160:    2     2
   80:   22    19
   40:   59    34
   20:  330    86
   15:  434    90
   10:  143    43
Total:  990   274  Total Score = 807,204



I had such great plans for this contest. I had cleared the calendar of
conflicts, studied previous years efforts to come up with a strategy, prepared
the station for a full SO2R effort, and even acquired the necessary food to
sustain me through a full effort.

Then the wheels fell off. A school band concert for one of the kids, a last
minute call from an out of town relative announcing they were coming to visit.
The full time effort would now be a limited BIC event but I was still looking
forward to this. Then at the last minute, Old Sol himself throws us a curveball
with solar indices of A=27 and k=4. Ok so now any polar paths are taken out of
the plan.

At the start of the contest, checked 20/15/10 and absolutely no JA or other
Asian stations to be heard. So much for a JA run to start with. Worked a few
South American and Zone 8/9 stations before heading to 40m. Quickly scanning
the band showed no Europe and just a bunch of stations in South America and the
Caribbean. With conditions as bad as they were and my limited time in the chair
I figured I might as well break down and fire up the cluster. The band map
quickly filled with stations spotted by NA stations and I could hear very few
of them. The booming signals from the east coast were working Europe at a
frantic pace. 

Moving to 80m was no joy as the band is full of BCB intermod and neighbors
plasma TV noise. So I worked what I could hear again, all south of me again.
Moved to 160m when asked but I could hear nothing. Pulled the plug around 0800
and figured 40m may be good to me in the morning.

Back in the chair by 1300 and again the solar indices are high but the K index
has dropped to 3. No opening to Asia and only very weakly to the South Pacific.
So much for these counted on mults.

20m opens to Europe quickly around 1400z and 15m opens about 30minutes later.
However 15m is skewed meaning the peak signals are all south east instead of
north east. 20m has plenty of auroral flutter. but at least I am working DX.

Find a space below 14.150 and started a mini run to Europe. That is until some
US station comes on telling me I am out of band. I explain not for Canadians
and most of the rest of the world but he clearly was. He then proceeds to QRM
me for several minutes killing my run. In the process some east coast Canadian
station picks up my frequency and takes over the pileup. Time to move on...

At 16:30 I notice that the 20m west coast stations are beating me in the
pileups. This means the MUF is moving higher and by 17:30 the path to Europe
finally opens normally on 15m and I enjoyed another small run.

10m opens very strong to my friends in the Caribbean and South America. However
the counted on 40m opening to Europe about 2100z did not occur. Finally heard 1
JA on 15 and 20m so I bagged that mult at least. I am hearing stations in WI
and MN running JA's and the y are all barely detectable or not at all. A few
hundred miles south makes a big difference I guess. Other commitments meant I
was going to miss the entire evening on Saturday night.

I did manage to get on for the European sunrise and did work a couple stations,
on 40m. Even worked a couple on 80m so conditions were improving.

Sunday was a more normal propagation day. Good openings to Europe on 15 and 20.
Even a few surprises on 10m. However the 10m path was severely skewed and was
really back scatter.

Had to attend the band concert late Sunday morning missing 3 hours of prime 15
and 20m time.

Sunday afternoon was a struggle as the QRM was severe. Stations from east
coast, Florida Texas and west coast are all equal dffdistance to us and all 20
dB over 9. The band was nothing but QRM with a few weak DX thrown in.  

Worked a lot of 5 and 10 watters this weekend. Still had fun despite the poor
conditions Friday and Saturday. Without the cluster it would not have been
nearly as productive and I would have spent even less time in the chair.

Thanks for all the Q's


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