Since the begining of November 2015, I have managed to work just three VK stations. A sad reflection on a 20m band, which for a couple of years had provided me and indeed many other Activators and Chasers with hundreds of DX contacts, especially VK chaser and VK s2s contacts.
During 2014//2014, I would usually be QRV on a summit at 0630 local time listening to the European Chasers working the VK Activators.
Although I could not hear the VK Activators/Chasers, I could hear the Europeans working them, and I knew it was only a matter of 10 minutes or so before the band would suddenly open into G and my CQ would be answered by both VK chasers and of course, VK Activators, with those lovely words “summit to summit!” What a buzz working a VK Activator 10,000 or more miles away, many of them, who were running QRP.
The bitterly cold winter mornings didn’t deter me either. With the prospect of leaving a summit with 15 to 20 and often more VK contacts in my log, the freezing conditions went to the back of my mind, as I was frantically scribbling DX callsigns into my log book.
So, Wednesday morning, I tried to recreate the same scenario from Gun G/SP-013. However, the SFI was well below 100 and I knew that working any kind of DX was going to be very hard work.
When it comes to activating, I’ve always taken the view, no pain, no gain and that’s why I’ve kept faith with the absurdly heavy Antron-99. The A-99 has been an outstanding SOTA HF antenna, with nothing else I’ve used, even coming close to its performance working 20m thru 10m.
Despite its wonderful performance, I’ve hated carrying it and the associated **** needed, on every activation.
This was my first early morning activation for quite some time and I found myself QRV on the 20m band at 0551z. However, it took me ten minutes to find my first contact, Jan OK2PDT. Just two minutes later, Jan was followed by Rick VK4RF. Rick, also worked me under his second callsign VK4HA.
Next into the log was Steve VK4KUS. Talk about feast or famime! VK4 is always a difficult
State to work from a SOTA summit, I’ve only logged 15 other VK4 contacts all through the boom times, so to find 3 on an activation from the UK, was something special.
The next VK contact was Mike VK2ABT, this contact was hard work with dreadful QSB giving us both problems, nevertheless, I finally dragged a 3/2 signal report out of him. The next two VKs were Matt VK1MA and then Tony VK3CAT, both difficult copies…Many thanks guys, for some great work, pulling me out! And that folks, was the end of the DX. The contacts had became painfully slow and so at 0830z, I chucked the towel in ;-(
After two and a half hours hard work, I had just 33 contacts in the log.
Thanks to Dave M6RUG for a nice ground wave contact.
Quite frankly, half a dozen VK contacts, was a good result on a 20m band that is pretty poorly. It’s sad to think, that things are going to get worse before they get better.
Thanks to all the callers.