Saturday, April 8, 2017

New QRP Personal Best: E51DWC (South Cook Islands)

I have been working E51DWC (op Milan, OK1DWC) on several bands (10/15/17 CW, and 15 Phone) at 100 watts. I finally heard him calling CQ on 12m phone just past midnight UTC with few takers. Could I have been at the right place at the right time for a change?

Since South Cook Islands is one that I need on 12m, and since everyone knows QRP phone doesn't work when the DX is buried in the noise, I bumped the K3 output power to 100 watts and called about a dozen times. But no love, he was weak and the QSB was pretty bad, so I decided that this wasn't going to happen.

I reset the K3 to 5 watts... and just as I took my fingers off the Power control and was about to switch bands his signal peaked at around S5. I grabbed my Mike, dropped my call after his CQ, and he came back right away with a "Whiskey Whiskey Two, Whisky Whisky Two?" I repeated my call, he returned with a 59 (yeah, sure...), we exchanged signal reports, and in the log he went! At 5 watts. On a "dead" band.

As with all our prior QSOs, Milan uploaded to ClubLog very quickly so I have proof I wasn't imagining it all.

According to Google maps, Rarotonga is a bit over 6,175 miles from Cedar Key, or 1,235 miles per watt. This crushes my previous personal best QRP DX record, TX6G Austral Is. from West, TX (5,093 miles, 1,018 miles per watt) by about 25%.

I'm starting to wonder whether I really need that KPA500 after all.

VOACAP shows that I was indeed at the right place at the right time -- 12m is strong to E51 in our (local) late afternoons and early evenings; my 10m contact with E51DWC was at around 2100 UTC, which fits this model as well. Good to know.

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