Weather in the Ottawa area was superb this weekend. BBQs and relaxing outside were the order of the day. Temperatures moderated to the mid-20s (Celsius) on Sunday. This necessitated some outdoor relaxation and a good book.
After dinner I started listening around 17 meters. There were a few signals but not a lot of DX. A few minutes later I saw the S-meter on the FT-950 hitting S9. A digital station was very loud; and there was a pile-up starting on frequency. It was 2330Z and usually at that time of day the band is closed. With little solar activity I was surprised by the strong signals on 17 meters.
The station was Ramon PZ5RA in Suriname. I had worked Ramon in 2004 and again in 2007 on digital modes, using my FT-100 in those days. I finally worked Ramon after 30 minutes using BPSK125 – makes a QSO whip along quickly. I kicked in about 12dB of attenuation because he was so strong on my Cushcraft R6000. About 10 minutes after the QSO the band dropped out – silence – not a signal. I suspect Ramon will be hanging around 17 meters since the band was in good shape for north/south propagation. Maybe we’ll get a repeat tonight and more stations will be able to work Ramon in Suriname.