Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Pursuit of 5BDXCC

I really can't call myself a DXer. I know too many guys who have made the Honor Roll. Those guys are the real DXers.

When I was a Novice back in the mid-70s, I always thought I would get WAS, then move on to DXCC. I found collecting the cards for these awards to be something of a tiresome chore. Ten years later, I slowly got into contesting -- which meant I made a lot more contacts, but getting the QSLs was still a chore.

Then something happened -- the ARRL opened up the Logbook of the World (LotW). Suddenly, getting the confirmations as no longer a tedious chore -- simply upload your contacts and wait for the confirmations to roll in.

I first focused on earning 5BWAS, and I eventually did win that award. I also earned DXCC mixed, CW, Phone and 20 and 15m. Today, I'm sitting on enough credits for 40m, 10m and Digital DXCC. This means I have four of the five bands completed for 5BDXCC.

That leaves 80m. Today, I have 70/71 on that band, which means I need 30 more confirmations for DXCC. 80m is a tough band for working DX. Noise levels in the summertime generally limit DX work on 80m to the winter months. I've been thinking about this most of the summer. My plan is manifold.

I've already gotten the antenna ready. Based on my limited use this summer, it seems to play fairly well on 80m. I also have a K9AY loop I need to get set up. Currently, it has a very simple rotating knob, but I have an idea for a push-button controller. Need to get that going in the next month.

I've also contemplated moving the amplifier from the Gwinnett QTH to Floyd County. As it stands, I can't use the amplifier with the shunt-fed tower. Biggest issue is determining where to plug it in, as it is wired for 240 volt power.

But, the most important thing is to be on the air. My plan is to try and be on 80m in the evening several times a week. You have to be there when the DX is. There are often europeans on the air just after darkness comes locally, and there are several european countries I still need on 80m. Some of them ought to be easy to work.

The goal is to bag 30 countries on 80m this winter season, and maybe work a few on 160m as well. (I have 30/31 confirmed there). Wish me luck.

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