Back in good shape with a clean sweep of the 13 Colonies

Since getting new low-loss coax the home station has been running better than ever. That was evidenced over the last few nights in trying to capture a clean sweep during the 13 Colonies Special Event.

I really enjoy working this one. I’m not as fast as some of these guys, and I often only operate in the evening for a few hours,  so it takes me a few days to get the sweep. I managed about half the stations easily, mostly working them on CW to avoid SSB logjams. Even so, when I went to SSB, I was able to crack the pile-up.

That was evidenced last night when I logged Virginia (K2B) for the final QSO of the event. He had a busy pile-up on 40 meters and operators were losing their sh!t on the cluster, badmouthing the operator for “not being able to control the pile-up” and other random stuff that some entitled hams feel they need to complain about. I really feel bad for operators who are working these special events and get this kind of treatment, particularly in this mostly trivial hobby.

Anyway, after seeing a dozen of these complaints roll up on dxheat.com about how horrible the K2B operator was, it was time for me to tune over and listen for myself. He was fine. He was busy, but whittling through the pile-up. His signal was also huge, being in that sweet spot range for 40 meters from my QTH.

I tossed my call into the void over hundreds of others. He got me immediately, 100% copy on my call. We exchanged signal reports and just like that, I was done with the event.

Looking back over my log, I had 21 total QSOs during the event, with 11 of those CW. I didn’t attempt digital modes. I had the most QSOs with K2K (New Hampshire) with dupes on 40m CW (oops), one on 20m phone and another on 20m CW. I grabbed K2L (my home state of SC on 80 meters CW and phone), and I also nabbed the bonus station of WM3PEN with a near ESP QSO with fading conditions on the 20m band.

I found CW a lot easier to deal with, even on the two split operations I worked (one was K2I, New Jersey, my penultimate QSO). There really is something magical about the K3 radio because it just gets heard, whether on CW or SSB. These splits were a piece of cake, especially using the P3 panadaptor (I say this to people so often I feel like a broken record, but it’s really an advantage). I also have to give a hand to the Yamaha CM500 headset. These things are comfortable and I can listen without getting ear fatigue. They just sound good.

Speaking of CW, using my key after two cups of coffee resulted in some poor code — too nervous! However drinking a couple beers seemingly improved my fist and my operating, as I found myself hitting the keyer with a lot more confidence.

This is the second year I’ve done the full sweep. Maybe I’ll even send off for the QSL card this time!

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