Working DigiFest seemed a fine idea for the weekend. Plan was to work on of the three sessions, and if I really had a blast work another one.
After working hard to get a few PSK63 and Hellschreiber contacts over a couple hours DigiFest just wasn’t doing it.
So pulled the microphone back forward on the desk and did hunt & search DXing on 10, 12, 15, 17 and 20m.
Very quickly I was able add some DX, whether first time worked for that country (Jordan) or filling in County/Band/Modes:
10m CT9/DJ4UF Madeira
10m WH7W Hawaii (O’ahu)
12m IS0HQJ Sardina
12m OE3DIA Austria
15m 7X4AN Algeria
15m F5SVQ France
15m 4O3A Montenegro
15m ZL2WL New Zeeland
17m E77DX Bosnia and Herzegovina
20m YU9DX Serbia
20m 9A9RR Croatia (IOTA EU-016)
20m JY5HX Jordan
20m EO2012UA Ukraine
Special Event Stations 20m W7OTV and W6Z
I could not hear Bhutan A5A well enough to call, though it was exciting to hear those stations who could hear A5A doing their QSOs. As a rule I do not “call blind” like some unfortunate fellow hams do. I will listen until I am certain I can complete a QSO before calling.
The changing band conditions pushed DX from 10m to 20m during the brief period I operated SSB and I chose to pursue other interests (A good friend had major surgery and we learned he was able & welcoming visitors. Also I had just received a signed copy of a novel being released in a few weeks, which I wanted to read for review) after leaving the station run in RX mode only for a while listening. Never did key up the station again during the weekend.
What wasn’t happening with DigiFest? The number of participants I could hear was low and band conditions were not great from this QTH during the time slot I worked. I also didn’t get myself pumped up enough to make exchanging “599 Grid Square” appeal. Some stations were doing a QSY-Mode working through the allowable modes one after another with any station they could keep on frequency. That was moderately interesting.
I also didn’t properly prepare. One of the boys had borrowed (with permission) the stereo speakers from the small unit in the radio room, which in the past I had often played when working a digital contest. As the intended wine cellar for the house, the radio room was darn cold and I should have dragged out a heater. Seems odd to need added heat first weekend of June, but the room was cold.
I also didn’t do one of the main things effective contesters need to do. I didn’t properly arrange my schedule and clear it from conflicts during planned operating periods. Working digital can be prone to “mind wandering” sessions, which I was quickly guilty of as well.
My station location is rather isolated in the house, which is a disadvantage at times. I’d enjoy having an operating location in the midst of the household where I could see outside and enjoy more of home life – even if that compromised serious operating. I’d like to retain the radio room for more focused efforts. Future project there.
Nonetheless even poor band conditions and multiple distractions didn’t keep me from a small bit of DX and some radio fun!