Last night (24th March 2010) was the RSGB's six metre accumulator and I rushed home from work hoping to have a little fun giving points away to the regular locals and maybe get some DX if the conditions were right. I was under no illusions that conditions would much good and the fact that it was raining heavily made me sure there would be fewer than normal mobile stations, but an almost completely dead band was not what I expected. I only heard one station, Dave G8ZRE. He was probably beaming away from me , but was very weak and if I did not know his voice probably have not known who it was. There was nothing to be heard on the rest of the band and as I waited for Dave to move his beam this way he disappeared too. I spent the rest of the contest tuning up and down and hearing nothing but static.
That was a complete contrast to the good conditions inter UK on Thursday 18th March for the 80m Club Championship. I recently was invited to join a the Travelling Waves contest group and this was the first contest I actually tried to take seriously and sent in a score sheet to. I was a little nervous to start with and had a few stumbles that cost me precious time. Mis-clicking on the log book caused the most lost time and because I could not find a free frequency to call on I trawled the band often getting stuck in pile ups and loosing more time. The lesson seems to be to get on with a friend an hour before the contest starts and hold the frequency and to get someone else to log for you. Next time I will also try recording the whole session so I can double check the log afterwards.
Much as I would like to help my team's score, CW is out of the question but I am being persuaded to have a go at the data contest. I have only used PSK once and I was not really all that impressed and I have never even listened (or should that be watched) a data contest in progress so I need to get my head around the software and then see a contest in action before I have a go. The team stands in 15th place after the 10th of March CW contest so I hope my points can help us claw our way up the leader board.