I allowed myself about a half-hour today on the radio after I arrived home from work and managed to score a few quick contacts.
I worked XQ7UP out of southern Chile, 5,500 miles away on 10 meters, then located a special station, FM/RC0F, a Russian station on the island of Martinique. There was a significant pile-up, but I had no trouble getting acknowledged.
I also managed a quick QSO with V21ZG from Antigua and Barbuda. I’ve managed to work a lot of stations on that little chain of islands — Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Anguilla, St. Kitts, Guadeloupe, Martinique and St. Lucia. There are a few more to go, but I can’t believe my luck so far.
I’ve made some changes to my microphone setup and I’m wondering if it’s made a difference at all in working DX. I’ve tweaked the USB and LSB range slightly on the FT-847 (+10 shift on the USB and -10 on the LSB), and rather than use the “high emphasis” filter on the MD-100 mic, I’m now using the “low cut 1” setting. I think this works better with my voice, which tends to come across as a bit low on the air. I’d had reports that the high emphasis filter reduced my volume somewhat, so perhaps it was over-filtering, and not quite right for my voice.
It seems to be working quite well, and I can even hear a bit of difference when I monitor my output with headphones.
I had one QSO tonight that fell out. I heard a Texas station, W5GW, calling CQ on 40 meters. He had a strong 59 signal into South Carolina, but when I attempted contact, he had trouble copying my sign, apparently due to static crashes and QRM. I also had negative success working XE3MAYA on 20 meters, a special event station for the Mayan equinox. The signal was weak and I never attempted a call. Maybe I’ll have better luck tomorrow.