I spent some time working the CQ Worldwide DX contest this weekend. I learned a good lesson -- keep checking the bands.
The contetst started Friday night, and I tuned around on 40 meters. I could hear a few Europeans, who were being swamped by hundreds of US operators calling them. That wasn't the contest I remembered, so I went upstairs and did something else.
Saturday morning wasn't much better. I worked a few Asians on 40 meters to get started, then moved to 20. There I heard just a few Europeans, again being hounded by hundreds of US operators. With my vertical, I don't stand much of a chance in that situation. I made a few contacts, but soon gave up and did something else.
Then late afternoon I went back in the shack and listed on 15. I could hear Asians, and made contacts. Then I ate dinner, and came back down to 40 meters. There were the Europeans, all over the band. I spent the night working them. It's still a thrill to hear that faint signal from half-way around the world, and to hear them answer with your call.
I worked the contest off and on during the evening, and Sunday morning came down and there were the Europeans on 20. Again, I started working them, and really got into using CW Skimmer to spot for me. It scans the band, and feeds the stations it's hearing to the bandmap on my logging program. it creates a whole new world for search and pounce.
But Skimmer isn't all-knowing. You still have to tune the band. During all this, I worked a fair number of Africans, and I imagine I picked up a couple new countires (for me) in the process.
This afternoon I was tuning across 15 and worked New Zealand and Botswana back to back. That's cool.
So it was a good radio weekend. I didn't set the world on fire, but sure had a good time.