Fist DX Contest with my 43ft vertical antenna!

First use of my Powershell contest countdown timer.
$UTCStartDate = Get-Date “28-OCT-2017 00:00Z”
$UTCEndDate = Get-Date “29-OCT-2017 23:59:59Z”
Solar Flux Index = 76

Used N1MM for logging and audio recordings.  Used Audacity to trim and clean-up the recordings.

WOW, how nice it is to not need a vacation day to set up an antenna – especially since the high is 40 degrees outside!  It’s therefore the first contest where I have logged any 80 meter contacts.  It was also funny that in the house we needed a blanket and the fireplace during the football games Saturday, but in the radio room I had to strip down because there was plenty of heat in here with the door closed (radio, computer, and monitors.)

The IC-9100 with it’s 3 KHz filter is a darn good radio.  I wish I had the panadapter working!  I need to work on that but there are too many other higher priority tasks.  This contest was frustrating because so many people use amplifiers (I hear the click or the hum being picked up by their microphone).  There were many operators I could hear just fine but they could not hear me at all.  Just calling CQ over and over and not hearing me.  As an example, one guy in Alaska was about +20 but he couldn’t hear people.  

On 80 meters I didn’t hear much activity and it didn’t start until around 11 pm.  Even then I heard a moderate amount of atmospheric noise.  I also had to re-tune every 500 or 800 hz it seemed.  If I didn’t the power would drop off (ALC was still full but Po would be at 1 or “1..” If anything at all and in RX mode the audio was significantly diminished like the IC9100 had turned something off.)  When this occurred I would go up in freq, switch to RTTY, turn the power down to 4 watts, click TRANSMIT and let it tune.  But in all, 80 meters didn’t produce a lot of contacts.  I was surprised.

40 meters worked great as did 20 and 15 meters.  I was very surprised at 15 meters with our solar flux index in the mid-seventies.