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Deaf DX

Our visitors have left and this afternoon was ideal for getting out and on the bands again. I had spied a better QTH on Stocking Island (NA-001) at an abandoned beach bar that offered a good mounting for my vertical with its foot almost in the water.

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It also offered the opportunity to work in the shade which I find much more pleasant than trying to squint at the computer in the dappled shade of the trees.

A look at my watch said that 17m would probably be good for some stateside, Europe and maybe some South American QSOs so I took eh antenna and the rest of my gear ashore and set up.

As usual, I scanned the band and found W1AW/5 running a steady pileup. I called and was answered first call (gotta love salt water). It turned out to be Buzz, NI5DX who was operating. It’s always good to work Buzz – in particular since he also manages all my QSLs. When we were done, Buzz called QRZ and no one replied so he decided to go QRT and handed me the frequency. What a gent!

He also spotted me and so I was in at the deep end of a no-notice pileup and it began to go wrong almost immediately. I couldn’t hear very well. I could work the strong stations but it was a hard job to work the weaker ones especially since it was windy and the noise seemed to reverberate in my earphones. Then I became aware of a station starting up below me and bleeding over. Despite filtering as much as I could, he just got stronger and stronger so I crept my little pileup up the band in increments to try and sneak away.

In the end, I had to give up. I took a break and found he was operating on 18.123 but was bleeding over as far as 18.1265 with such strength that I couldn’t filter him out. So I went to listen a bit more. As it turned out, the ‘bleeder’ was giving instruction to another station on how to set up his audio so he could get maximum drive from his linear! I was dumbfounded!

Everyone reading this will understand that it’s better to have a clean signal than just be the loudest but apparently that message was lost in translation somewhere along the line. But I have to ask why you have to choose a Sunday afternoon on the narrowest band to try to ‘optimise’ your setup? Isn’t there a quiet corner that you can use rather than just trying to stamp on the 200W DX station? And I don’t believe he couldn’t hear me either – I was 59 to almost every station between the west coast and Greece.

OK – rant over! 🙂

I politely informed him he was bleeding over badly and he went QRT which was unnecessary but at least I could now hear a lot more stations and it became a pleasure rather than a chore.

I finished off the afternoon with some new DXCC, VP9 and J88, as well as working some good European stations. 50 QSOs with some familiar calls and acquaintances renewed!

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