Without extensive expectations I have chosen 15m single band entry for this year. Knowing that the band will be open for much shorter than on 20m I set a goal of 1k QSO only and achieving a 15m WAS. I used (almost) the same setup as for the WW CW; inband SO2R and one of the KT36XA's.
As the upgraded 2nd KT36 had been damaged during retraction after the WW event I decided to do the repair in the mornings before the band would open.
The weather was lovely during the entire weekend from Friday till late Sunday promising perfect time for tower works in February. I assembled the mobile scaffolding; and once I was close enough to inspect the defects I recognized that the boom had cracked at the mast bracket. Plenty of the elements also needed repair and finally made the decision to dismantle it completely. Being prepared for this I have transported the 2 el 40m antenna with me to the hill for in case.. I made a good use of the time during the weekend and put up the new antenna. I also found some time to try the recently built K3 qrp trcvr and its remote head K3/0... this is awesome!!! Once it is further tested I put a report on the remote page.
The contest itself was somewhat different compared to previous years experiences on 20m. Spending 35+ hours on 20m producing 1,2-1,3k qsos at very slow rates while the same can be done during 18 hours on 15m...just the band needs to be open to Europe.
The rates were below 60qso/hour between 11 to 14 utc giving the chance to look around on the second radio; which was probably for the sake of illusion only that I kept the rates high.. since all multipliers answered to my CQ.. The next 4 hours were going between 100-130 qso/hour keeping me busy. The rates started to slow down again after 19utc, so I began to seek for non-worked stations on the second radio. The first day ended with 718 contacts in the log with 56 multipliers at around 22:30utc much later than the band closing been expected. Actually, the signals were going down for approximately an hour between 19:15-20:15utc and opened up for another hour and a half. The figure below is taken from the RBN spot analysis tool; showing my signal strength at K3MM on the first day.
The second day shown similar propagation conditions and closed even somewhat later than Saturday. The qso rates were slowing down relative to the first day as it normally happens. Sunday was producing less than 400 qso and 3 more multipliers. The final figures became: 1,105 contacts, 59 multipliers giving a total score of 195,5k points. As seen some of the claimed scores on 3830 and r5ga.com this result will not upset the guys at the top spots this year..
This coming weekend is planned to participate again on 15m in the SSB round and some 40m antenna trials besides hunting E3A!!!