DX Success

Midway2009LogoDXing is something that has never really been a part of my ham career. Not because I haven't had any interest in it, but mainly because I haven't had much of station to speak of. Being restricted to compromise antennas and low power does a lot to dissuade you from seriously pursuing DX (especially during these sunspot-lean years). Yes, I know it's possible to make DX contacts with such a station, but it takes a lot of time and dedication. Frankly, I just didn't have the attention span to sit at a pileup for hours trying to get lucky.

Now that I've got a decent, permanent multiband antenna up in the air, it seems like a good time to give DXing a more serious try. When I heard about the K4M DXpedition to Midway Island, I figured that would be as good of a chance as any to get my feet wet. It's not very difficult to make trans-Pacific contacts from my QTH, and with thousands of miles of salt water between us and very little land, I knew I had a decent chance.

The first few days were a bust (thanks frequency cops and jammers), but by the time the operation was starting to wind down, I managed to get 3 QSOs with K4M, all on 19 October. Right around dawn (the best time I've found to hear trans-Pacific DX from here), I snagged them on 40 meters CW then QSYed a bit up the band to get them on phone. Neither attempt took a ton of effort, although I found the SSB contact to be particularly easy...although it shouldn't be that tough with 100 watts. A few hours later, I saw them spotted on 17 meters, so I gave that a try as well, and got them in the log after about 15 minutes. Pretty cool!

I'm sure this isn't very impressive to most of you old timers, but it was fun for me. I watched eagerly for the next logbook update to make sure I made it in the log. Sure enough, all three QSOs were up there by the end of the day. I was so happy that I made the donation so I could get the QSL sent direct to me. I feel like I'm doing everything backwards in ham radio, but it's great fun to finally experience what just about everyone else already knows.

2 thoughts on “DX Success”

  1. When you've developed some real technique, DXing is a fun way to "accomplish something" in a few minutes. With the elevated vertical and some power, my objective when I work a DX station is to transmit my callsign once, and only once...actually minimizing QRM. Obviously, the QRP challenge would be simply to work the station.

    Being a die-hard CW fan, I was a bit chastened by having worked K4M first on SSB. But my shack has been a shambles for a while and I'm only now resurrecting it...so the station was down for the first part of this DXpedition. A fellow club member reminded me of them and I thought "oops, I'd better get them while they're still on the atoll!" So, it was on 40 meters, split freq, that I first got them. Then the next morning, they were pounding in on 80 meters and I studied their operating technique carefully and voila! Got them on my first call.

    A nice satisfying feeling that takes less time than, for instance, what I've poured into developing a certain product....

  2. I've never even come close to working a pileup on first call, so I will defer to your awesomeness in this matter. 🙂

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