DX chasing

by vk3arr

The past few days have been great for chasing. In particular, on Saturday, having had to forfeit our first tennis final due to one of our players breaking his arm, I was looking for something to cheer me up. That came in the form of Greg VK8GM taking advantage of the start of the new VK8 association to activate VK8/AL-153. He was fairly weak on 20m, but I was using my 40m dipole so no real surprises there. A 44 signal from him, just above the noise, and 51 from me, using nominal 20W. This was the fifth unique association I’d worked.

I also reached out to a few NA stations calling for the ARRL DX contest, as mentioned in the last blog post, before working Peter VK3ZPF on Dingo Ridge (VK3/VC-028) and Allen VK3HRA on Mt Warrenheip (VK3/VC-019). Allen was desperate to head to 20m, and my call delayed that a bit, but he took it in good cheer, and I kept it short. The prize, on 20m, was some Europe DX.

Mike 2E0YYY was up on Shining Tor (G/SP-004) in the Southern Pennines region of England. He was very low down and completely unworkable on my 40m dipole, and marginal on the Buddistick which was still set up. I perhaps could have worked him on the peaks, but it would have been hard. I quickly strung out the linked dipole, ran the feedline back into the radio and put out a call. He was better, a 3/1 signal to me, and I worked him with 60W and a 4/2 signal. That made two new associations for the day.

I passed 1300 chaser points with Andrew VK3BQ on top of Mt Macedon (VK3/VC-007), before last night working Mike again, for a new association (GW – Wales), on top of GW/NW-070. I’d seen his alert, and was home from work early enough to have the dipole strung out ready for him. I saw the spot after dinner, and raced out. I worked him second call, with his signal higher this time (3/3) though still scratchy, and my signal to him 5 and 5. Three new associations in under a week.

My challenge now is to work out which of those will be my first completed association for the Mountain Hunter award. This requires two contacts in the association as a chaser, and all three are unqualified on 1 so far. Once I qualify one of those, I’ll have reached the Bronze level of the Mountain Hunter award.

Finally, all this DX stuff wouldn’t be complete without a mention of Andrew VK1NAM. He probably wasn’t the first VK to work DX on a summit, nor will he be the last, but few have a claim on his persistence at attempting the long-haul back to the antipodes. He’s done it with 50W and he’s done it with 5W, and he’s encouraged plenty of others (myself included) to try as well. He’s demonstrated over and over again what is possible, even in the face of a few that have found it difficult. What’s been great is his enthusiasm has infected those in Europe and the UK as well, who are now providing chasing opportunities for us over here, and chasing us when we activate. My first activation on 20m gave me 1 DX entity. My next produced lots more. So well done, Andrew, and hats off to you.