Friday, March 11, 2011

Day 2 - 10m has gone back to sleep but 15m OK for North America and 20m SSB reliable long path then short path for Europe - but my thoughts are with all my friends in Japan

The start of UTC day 2 is 10am local time and I changed from 10m to 15m to try for some more west coast North Americans. Fortunately the band was OK and it ended up with a productive 30 minutes of USA and JA until I called it a morning to shower and try and become human again before lunch. Just before I headed out I managed to break into the 4A4A pile-up on 15m SSB for an all time new one so that deserved a beer or six. I hadn't worked them yet because all my gear was packed up for this DXpedition. So a super fun happy time was spent for a couple of hours at the bar and I headed back to the shack at 0400 UTC or 2pm local.

After an hour or so resting I hit the bands at 0530 UTC at 330pm local time. The poor solar figures were a good indcator of conditions as I spent the next hour and a half scratching out a small number Asian and European QSOs on 10m, 15m and 20m. I was hoping I'd get a repeat performance of the previous day at 0700 UTC when I started with a big European pile up on 10m SSB but conditions were dead on both 10m and 15m. I tried 20m and luckily I had a great pile up to Europe on the long path that lasted an hour and a half.

I was surprised by the lack of JA stations on 15m a little earlier only to find out about the catastrophic tragedy that was happening at that time with the monster earthquake and tsunami. I'm located on the northern tip of Australia on the Pacific rim with YB and P29 so the tsunami warning was an issue. I chose the shack that's only 20m from the waters edge which is great for radio but not good when there's a tsunami alert. If something did hit then I'd be in big trouble as the island here is flat with no accessible high ground. I was in contact with other hams in the Pacific to get updates and I was monitoring the necessary websites. So far so good.

I got back to the radio round 0900 UTC and made a few QSO's into USA on 40m SSB but it was mostly local VK/ZL/JA. I stayed around until 1000 UTC for those local stations that need OC-138 but don't hear me on 10/15/20m. At 1100 - 1230 UTC I was on 20m SSB on the short path to Asia and Europe but the rate was pretty slow as conditions weren't great. The previous day I started on 20m SSB at 1330 UTC and it was sensational, so I figured I should stick it out even though it was 1130pm and I'd been up since 5:00am. I jumped on again at 1400 UTC and after spotting myself on the cluster the next hour and a half was much better with even some USA stations scattered in the European pile ups.

The next morning I woke up at 630am local time to allow myself 4.5 hours sleep. Nothing was on long path to the America's on 20m SSB like it was the previous day. I jumped on 15m at 2300 UTC and I had a nice run into USA with a few South Americans too. I was expecting only the west coast but I also worked into Ohio, South Carolina, Florida and Illinois over on the east which was fantastic.

UTC day 2 which finished at 10am local time Saturday morning and resulted in 555 QSO's which gives a total of 1334 for the two days so far. At this stage half of the QSO's are with Europe and it looks like there's been 10% of the QSO's into North America which is OK but I'd like lots more. For the next three nights I'll be on 40m SSB and/or PSK31 in the 0800 - 1100 UTC period for the America's. On the next two mornings I'll also be looking from 2100 UTC for long path America's on 20m SSB and then short path 15m and 10m until 0100 UTC. As per usual I'll spot myself on the DX cluster everytime I change band or mode.

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