QSL card and envelop received from GM3YOR.
While looking over my DXCC statistics I noticed that my log didn’t match the DX station’s log as uploaded to Clublog. I double checked my log and it looked like a good QSO but upon checking with the DX station it was determined that I had not, in fact, made it successfully into his log. But in grand amateur radio fashion he offered to set up a sked with me for the following afternoon so we could work and I could get Scotland on CW in my logs.
I had never had a scheduled QSO with someone I didn’t know and was a little uncertain if it would actually happen. We had agreed to a frequency on 20m and I was monitoring it ten minutes before the appointed time. Unfortunately for the both of us, the previous day I had removed my trusty J-38 key from service and replaced it with a set of Vibroplex paddles. Since I hadn’t actually used the paddles in years my fist left something to be desired. It was amazing that Andrew could actually tell what I was saying in the first place!
A few minutes early I started calling him but didn’t hear a response. A few minutes later, right on time, I heard a strong signal calling me. VOACAP had certainly predicted the propagation correctly as his signal was registering 40 dB on my signal meter. After a quick contact on 20m we decided to meet on 30m to give that band a try. While not as strong, we were able to make contact there as well adding a new band for Scotland for me.
I was quite pleased with making this contact but even more so when, after only a few days, I received the above envelope and card in the mail. A fast QSL with a nice card! Andrew certainly exhibits really good amateur radio values. Thanks Andrew!
Taking immediate advantage of my new Extra Class privileges, last night I picked up a new DXCC entity – Asiatic Russia. This one has been difficult for me. I worked the entity back in 2002 but couldn’t get a confirmation. Since then I’ve heard them but never been able to work them. That all changed last night.
As I’ve always said, you work the contests because that’s where the DX will be. I’m not sure what contest is going on this weekend but it has brought out the DX. I heard, and then worked, RG0A on 14008.6 kHz. He was a good 559 on this side of the pond and received a similar report. This morning I pleasantly found a QSL waiting for me on LoTW from him. Nice!
No more tests for me. I’m done.
Last year I was one of the CARA members asking for an Extra Class class. I was really happy when Shawn, N3AE, agreed to teach the class and we started on a three-month class meeting every Tuesday night for three (or more) hours. After the class, after two weeks of taking practice exams online (and failing most), and after reading back through the material that I was having troubles with, I took my exam yesterday.
I was nervous. I really wanted to do well as I had invested quite a bit of time and energy into the process of learning this stuff. I also wanted that extra bandwidth to find those sneaky DX operators that hide there.
Ed, KC3AEN, with Steve, N3IPN, picked me up on Saturday morning and we made our way to Davidsonville for our test. We had all been in the class and hoped we were ready. We had pre-registered (#s 2, 3, and 4) so we didn’t have to wait long to get started. I was pleasantly surprised that most of the questions were familiar and that the others appeared to be ones that I could figure out. After a couple of hours all three of us walked out with our Extra Class CSCEs! Another gentleman who was in our class, I don’t remember his name or callsign, also took his Extra exam and passed. That’s 4 for 4 from the class! Add two more that took their tests early and that’s about half the class that has passed the exam!
Last night I put a couple of QSOs in the log from the Extra and Advanced portions of the bands. I even ended up with a new DXCC entity in the books. Looks like all the studying is already paying off.