Monday, January 30, 2012

DX in the Neighborhood

About 3 days ago when I was stretching the legs of the new long doublet for the first time, I gave it a whirl on CW. After working several European stations on 30 meters, I changed band modules in the Scout to work on 20 meters. I was planning on calling CQ to see what I could turn up, but as I swept the dial on 20 meters I ran into a pile-up on HK0NA. After two failed sends of my call I had a Duh moment when I realized I hadn't re-tuned the Matchbox for the new band. After a quick tune I got him on the next call with my 40 W from the 555. Nothing spectacular for sure. They are less than 500 miles from my QTH. But, satisfying just the same.



Today I spent a lot of time with the Scout setting it up for digital mode work by making a mic cable with an audio jack and lines for a PTT switch. I went old school and fabricated a foot pedal whose metal parts I wired directly. Works FB! I managed a few PSK31 QSOs, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia (a new one), etc. It was getting dark, so I headed back to the house.

Back to DXing. I'd been reading on others' blogs about VP6T, Pitcairn Island, so I brought up DX Summit, saw that they were on 15 meters where I have two antennas, so I wanted to see if I could snag them, too. I haven't seriously chased rare DX for a while, but I started to feel a familiar itch. Even though they are only about 4,000 miles from me, I thought I would even up things a bit by working them from the Ten Tec Argonaut V with 20W out.

This was work. The pile-up was big and spread over 3-4 KHz. Try as I might I couldn't figure out where he was listening. I tried various offsets for VFO B and switched between the vertical and the quad. I must have been dozing off after sending my call for the umpteenth time because it startled me a bit to hear the last few characters of my call jump out at me, followed by '?'. Somehow I didn't flub it and keyed out my call again, 599, etc. and that was that. They are in the log on that band. I need to do this more often! By the way, it was the quad that they worked.

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Thanks very much for your comment! 73, Casey

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