Monday, 24 November 2008

30 Meter Weekend

30 meters was very busy this weekend but I didn't get to operate very much due to a GTD (getting things done) list. The little time I did have to operate worked out quite well. I tried my hand at Olivia mode. I had just finished reading in the December08 QST about this magic mode and made a nice contact to W9NWR down in Wisconsin. Copy was excellent and it's expected of this mode. Though Chuck's signal was full copy with Digital Master 780 he wasn't moving the S meter. Olivia presented perfect copy with no effort on my part. I had the pre-amps off in the FT-950 and about -6dB of attenuation - just enough to lower the band noise. I like Olivia but it is a really slow mode of communications. I can see using it under extreme band conditions where noise is bad or the signals are not visible in the waterfall. At least I could keep the buffer full with my typing.

The next morning I snagged some good DX just before heading out for a Sunday filled with activities. ES0IC, Meeme, on the island of Kassari (IOTA-EU034) in Estonia on PSK31. He was 599 copy on my PAR EF-30 end fed dipole. A really nice contact and great DX to boot. I noticed many DX stations operating Sunday morning. Sunday night was good too and the band stayed open well past 10:30pm local time. A strong Puerto Rican station, WP3UX, was calling CQ for at least a couple of hours. On Saturday night the band closed just after sunset.

If you haven't tried 30 meters give it a go. It's a great DX band, only digital and CW modes are permitted (no contests!), and if you hit it right there's a lot of great DX to be had. All contacts on the weekend were completed using 20 watts output and using my FT-950. The 950 dsp filtering options are great for digital work.

To keep tabs on 30 meter DX activity I was using a new DX cluster called DXAnywhere programmed by a young British chap, Peter, M3PHP. Peter says, "The system also includes a full blown social networking system where users can setup profiles of themselves and their amateur radio background and become friends with other users! We're also keen on keeping the system fresh so on a monthly basis we're going to be adding new applications into the mix."

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