Chasing Uniques, Awards, and 40m DX

by vk3arr

This past week hasn’t been too great, despite having a week off work. The main cause is basically a muscle strain caused by a combination of not warming up properly and going for a 90% serve first up during the weekend’s tennis match. The result was a serve that barely made the net, an involuntary moan, and an increasingly proppy back throughout the day. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have played the remaining three sets, but then I wasn’t expecting to be barely able to walk on Sunday. A visit to the doctor on Monday got me a certificate for the week off, and some industrial strength painkillers and muscle relaxants.

The plus side to this was that there were a few activators out and about on Monday and Tuesday, on quite a few uniques (for me, at least). A hobble out to the shack in return for a few points and some uniques was worth the dull ache in the back. Thanks Doc!

The first activator was Phil VK2JDL on VK2/CT-001, with 58s both ways. This was not a unique, although I struggled my way through the QSO. Turns out the muscle relaxant is Valium. Weeeee! Luckily, the drowsiness seemed to pass by the time Scott VK2AET came up on VK2/NT-002, a new unique and 10 points to boot. This took me to 225 uniques and 1834 points. The challenge is on – will I make 250 uniques or 2000 points first?

The next day promised at least 2 uniques, and 4 activations. I started with Russ, VK2BJP/3 on VK3/VE-093 (non-unique) while the wife was dropping the kids off at school. I took two painkillers as per the prescription, and once she got back, had myself a nice shower. I got out of the shower, and felt a little light-headed. I came to on the floor trying to work out why I was mentally listening to Sweet Child of Mine. My conscious self took a fraction of a second longer to work out I was on the bathroom floor, while my unconscious self continued to rock to Slash’s sweet riffs for another few seconds.

My wife was at least around to help me and (sort of) catch me, so no major damage done, but a phone call to the ambulance service and a discussion with the nurse there turned out I’d taken too much of the painkillers (despite the prescription). On the plus side, I survived my first drug overdose. Very rock and roll. It might also explain the Guns ‘n’ Roses backing track, although that might also be a window into my musical soul. The rest of the day was out to chasing as it was deemed appropriate to sleep off the remainder of the dosage.

I woke up early today, aiming to catch Nick VK3ANL in the Sydney Harbour NP for VKFF purposes. I turned onto 7.144kHz, his planned operating frequency and caught the tail end of Andrew VK1NAM working Lou IK6CWQ. I cranked the power, and, after a bit of back and forth and good perseverance on Lou’s part, I worked him with my signal 55 into Central Italy, off about 50W into my low dipole. Lou was using 500W and a 2 element beam, for a 59 signal. This is my first ever 40m DX, and 15,000 km is a good way to start 😉

I dropped down to 7090 kHz, which is my radio’s default frequency, and there was Nick calling CQ, so I came back to him, worked the reference, and hobbled back inside. It was a great start to the morning, and certainly better than yesterday’s opening.

In other news, my certificates for Mountain Hunter Bronze and Mountain Explorer Bronze arrived, as well as a Bronze certificate for the SANPCPA awards scheme courtesy of Paul VK5PAS. The SANPCPA awards are particularly good quality, so I will be trying hard to get the next level.

Mountain Hunter and Mountain Explorer awards

Mountain Hunter and Mountain Explorer awards