Sunday, October 18, 2015

Chesterfield Island

I am not in the TX5X Chesterfield Islands log and I am of the opinion that maybe I should be. I do believe that I made a legal contact but my code was mistaken and I have a busted call sign. I could be wrong, though.

I did write in and see if there is a call similar to mine in the log at the time I made the contact(s).

Frankly I heard the DXpedition referred to as the Black Hole DXPedition because propagation in general was lousy. Internet posts made by the DXpedition team said that they were sure that they were not receiving people as well as we were receiving them. None of this was their fault nor the fault of their gear.

During the entire time I heard them on voice only a couple times and it was a very weak signal. It would have been doubtful they would have heard me. When you add the equation of the Big Gun pileup then my chances were nil so I didn't bother to add to the chaos.

I decided to go the CW (code) route and did a very quick brush up consisting of sending a few sentences with a practice oscillator. Then I got on the air and went hunting for the pile-up.

Although I found the pile-up on the internet clusters I confirmed that I actually had TX3X on the listed frequency and set my rig to work a CW split. I would be transmitting on one frequency and listening on the fequency they were transmitting on.

Confirming I had the DXpedition was a chore. I had to listen repeatedly to slowly make out their call sign. DXpeditions generally transmit at about 25-30 words per minute and I can't read it much faster than a couple of words per minute...yet.

I can read my call sign at maybe 20 words per minute...on a good day.

The next step was to wait for the lulls, when there was a hole I could squeeze in my call in edgewise. When things slowed down I started keying my call as fast as I could, waiting after each time to hear the reply. Of course the bulk of them were for someone else. 

Eventually I heard something that either was or was pretty damned close to mine so I sent a fast 5NN TU and that was that. I logged it. Later I would try an 'insurance call' to make sure.

You also have to realize that this was well into theDXpedition. Operators are human and get tired. Sometimes they get a little grouchy. I sure would. How they sit there making call after call is beyond me.

I played hell a couple of times simply being a net control for net of six or eight check-ins some time ago. These guys are taking calls all day long and a tremendous rate.

I'd be burned out in a few minutes, yet they do it for hours on end, day after day for the length of the DXpedition.

What irked a lot of us is that a Cuban station started transmitting on the same frequency on one of the bands. I know I am in his log because he slowed down for me and I heard my call very clearly. 

I wasn't too pleased with that and waited until the Cuban got run off before I started in again.

My last try on 40 meters is the attempt I believe made the log. I do believe that he sent back my call.

I'm not too worried about this because it is actually up to them to decide if I made it or not. It's my responsibility to be able to send legible code, and to be able to at least read my own callsign at 35 or so words/minute.

If they decide I didn't make the cut I have nobody to blame but myself.

My rule of thumb on these expensive DXpeditions is that if I ever have to ask why my call isn't in the on-line log then I send a donation to pay for the QSL manager's time...after he gets back with me either way. I don't want it misconstrued as an attempt at bribery.

Why would I want something I didn't earn? This is, after all, a hobby and I would only be cheating myself.

Personally I thing there ought to be a $5 or 10 fee to 'challenge the electronic log'. Of course, if they did that people would gripe.

These affairs can be horribly expensive and the guys are making no money doing this. Any donation I make is to help defray some pretty steep expenses.

While I hope I make it, if I don't I very likely only have myself to blame. However, as an American citizen and a veteran I reserve the right to gripe about it.

Still, it is only a hobby and not worth yanking one's hair out over like some people do. If I start doing that I'll just find something else to do.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

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