Brunswick, GA – I haven’t been on HF in a while, so this past weekend I fired up the mobile HF station and tried to make a few contacts in the CQWW SSB contest. On both Saturday and Sunday before going to bed (I work midnight shifts), I tried 40 Meters and 20 Meters to see what I could do. Both bands were open at the times I was operating, although 20 Meters wasn’t fully open quite yet. Saturday morning was a bust as there were just too many powerful stations for my mobile set-up to get through; I only managed one contact – Puerto Rico on 40 Meters. On Sunday morning, the bands weren’t quite as busy, so I was able to pick spots with a minimum (relatively speaking for a major contest) of QRM and make some contacts. Over an hour to hour and a half period, I was able to make 11 contacts including one on 15 Meters which was trying to open up at the time.
Propagation conditions weren’t the best I’ve heard but by no means were the bands what I’d call “dead.” With just the FT-857D and ATAS-120A, I was able to work Barbados, Belgium, Canada, the Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Puerto Rico, and Trinidad & Tobago. The Cayman Islands and Trinidad & Tobago are new countries/DX entities for the mobile station logs, too!
No, the bands weren’t at their best and it wasn’t easy to make contacts when most of the other stations on the air had more antenna and/or power than I did, but it was still fun to get on the air and disturb some electrons. Hopefully I won’t wait for the next big contest to get back on the air.