Like the ARRL 160, I had not operated this contest seriously for as long as I could remember. But the temptation was too much.
The house had been closed down since mid-December (no running water, but heat available), and it had been a cold, snowy, and very windy December and January.
I took the Friday 10 AM boat to the island, and planned a quick inspection to see of there were enough working antennas to get on the air. If not, it would be a short visit, and I would be on the noon boat home.
Well, it seemed that the transmit antennas were in good shape, but the Beverage was not right - it seemed to only work in the SW direction. But I figured that was still better than my NH station, and worth staying for.
At 2200Z, the contest started with a good run, like the ARRL, mixed Europe and USA. And those nice 10-point Europeans kept calling, and the rate stayed at 130/hour for the first 5 or so hours. Then it slipped a bit for a couple of hours, but at 0500 the band jumped to life, and I had a 145-hour running nearly all Europeans. It was like 20 meters! And with the 10-point value of DX vs. the 2-point value of Ws, it was equivalent to rattling off a >700-QSO hour!
At 0800z, I was called by JA8ISU - a steady, clear signal, and the first JA I have ever worked on 160. A little while later, RW0CWA called in. My first Zone 19 ever! I couldn't believe it. No more exotic stuff for the rest of the first day, but when I shut down at 1300z, I was about tied with the 2008 winning score. But the best was yet to come.
I began hearing Europe again at 2:30 in the afternoon (1930z), but stayed off the air until 2130. And when I got back on, the Europeans started right where they had left off! It was noisier Saturday night, and I missed the Beverage, and the rate sagged in the 02-04 period. But again, at 0500z, the switch was thrown, and I had an 80-QSO hour of mostly Europeans. I wondered if the 08 and 09 hours would bring any Asians, but didn't hear much.
Then at 10Z, I heard JA3YKC CQing with a good signal. He came back to me on one quick call. Wow! I called one or two more JAs, then wondered if maybe I could CQ and get answers.
To my utter shock and amazement, I got answers right away. An hour later, I had 26 more JAs in the log...a great way to wind down an amazing weekend.
The 3830 postings looked like this:
Call QSOs StPrv DX hr Score Club
USA Single Op HP
K1DG(@N1LI) 1903 58 79 30 1,334,654 YCCC
W8JI(VE7ZO) 1950 59 83 30 1,314,778
K3ZM 1785 56 78 30 1,276,350
K9DX 2014 59 74 30 1,178,779 SMC
K8PO 1710 59 69 29 980,864 YCCC
W4ZV 1651 59 69 30 957,440 PVRC
W0SD(W0DB) 1838 58 68 30 936,054
AA1K 1485 58 71 30 923,640 FRC
and the multiops:
Call QSOs StPrv DX hr Score Club
USA Multi-Op HP
W2GD 1904 58 79 39.5 1,332,462 FRC
K9RS 1925 58 82 38 1,294,160 FRC
W1UE(@W1KM) 1618 58 75 36 1,127,574 YCCC
K1TTT 1800 59 73 40 1,031,844 YCCC
N0XR(@N0NI) 1860 59 71 37 1,000,740 Iowa DX and Contest
Once more, my score from the island was higher than the single-ops AND the multiops. It is pretty close between me and Jim (VE7ZO, operating at W8JI), and it will be decided in the log-checking who won. But win or lose, I will always remember this weekend as the contest when I ran JAs on 160 meters!
As I've said before, and will say again...I LOVE that salty water!!!!