Just got a piece of wood in the mail, not bad for the amount of time I put in. You just never know with contests if conditions or going to be good, better, or super freaking fantastic, so plan accordingly. Looks like my 40 country total held up, but I lost ~20 or so qsos. Pretty good for single-op part-time distracted mode. Thanks to K8MK for the use of the antenna, Elecraft for the still fantastic K2 and WA1Z for the award.
A lot of big qrp scores in the ARRL DX despite the lack of sun spots. I for one know that qrp + good antennas = good qrp score, but I also know that qrp + wimpy antennas = I had fun anyway.
Fun it was. Fun that the 40m vertical I put up actually works well enough for me to work dx on 40m. Fun that the QRN on the low bands was almost non-existent. Fun that I could work people even though I thought they were weak too. I think you get the picture.
Truly 160 was on during this years test. Who'd have thought that I could work 40 countries with 5 watts. I've worked dx on 160 before, but never to this extent. Best contact for me was probably CX6VM and having RW0CWA (I think that is the call) give me several N8?'s before the HP callers took over again. Also heard a very clear JA8ISU about about 0930z, but only one weak JA heard at sunrise. Thanks to all the EU who struggled to pull me through the probably amazing QRM on their end. Great Job! Shout out to W4EF, I heard you call several people Mike and you were LOUD!!!.
Slept 3 hours Saturday morning, 0930 to 1130z and 1030z to 1130z Sunday morning. Hit my goal of 200k right when I had to leave and go take the kids to church (wife had meeting for a class she is teaching, so I had to get them there).
DX DX DX
K2 still going strong. Best qrp radio for the money. Second only to the K3.
Computer didn't lock-up randomly this time.
Not snacking during contest and limiting sugar intact really helped prevent the sleepies on Friday and Saturday. Throat Coat Tea helped keep the cold at bay.
Things to do better next time:
Don't miss prime hours. I missed sunset on both Friday and Saturday night. I'm pretty sure I could have had close to 900 qsos and several mults had I not missed these prime time hours. Should have taken Friday afternoon off, but got to pay the bills.
Not CQing enough, especially on Friday. Made up for it on Saturday. Remember, with an efficient 160m antenna, you are loud with 5 watts (or 4 in my case)
Congrats to K9AY on the great score, Gary had 47 more q's and 1 less mult. Anytime we in the Midwest break records is a reason to celebrate! Woo Hoo!
First Eu GM3POI not much else to report, condx are not as bad as I thought they would be with the qrn in the midwest.
More dx kv4fz, fm5bh and ce1/k7ca (good op).
Somehow managed to work UW2M and a weak kh6lc.
Now way low in the band cqing.
Band pretty much died after 0500 for dx. Manged to get np4z, hq9r and gm4yxi. Responses to cq's pretty much zilch for long periods and west coast signals down. Static reached s9 during height of storm passing through, so took a good 3 hour nap.
Who needs sun-spots when 160m is so good like it was for this weekends TBDC, so I will credit lack of sun-spots and good rx antennas on the other end for my success. It was lots of fun working K7RAT, G3RPB (not in the TBDC), KL7RA and about 40 others with 5 watts and an 80m zepp at 40, plus not having to drive anywhere made it even better.
I'm finally back on the air. Finished getting the 80m zepp back up in the tree in the front yard and strung over the house. Had to go up on the roof to accomplish the last part. One branch from a tree on the side of the house is preventing me from pulling the antenna to full height, but I will fix that soon with some sling-shot and rope Fujitsu. I also put back up the 40m vertical and connected it to the chain-link fence for a ground system. It works, but signals are down 2 s-units compared to the zepp.