After the CME that reached Earth on Friday evening and the massive coronal hole responsible for sustained high Solar Winds, plus the ARRL CW Sweepstakes raging across the CW portion of the bands, this weekend conditions were less than optimal for QRP communications, particularly for QRS CW using a straight key, as required in an SKCC “WES”.
“WES” is the abbreviation for the monthly weekend-long sprints of the Straight Key Century Club (SKCC) (http://www.skccgroup.com), one of the most popular and best organized CW clubs in the web (as witnessed by the nearly 15,000 membership numbers already assigned). I have been a member of the SKCC since 2010 and hold number 7020T (The “T” stands for “Tribune” which is one of the three levels used by the SKCC to acknowledge members participation: “C” for “Centurion”, “T” for “Tribune” and “S” for “Senator”).
After properly tuning the ICOM-703 to 5W of output power and optimizing its Rx capabilities (using the DSP filter at mid-range, the FL-232 narrow filter, the IF-shift, and reducing the RF-gain) several stations were heard calling “CQ WES”. In the end I was able to complete and log 13 QSOs in 3 bands. Here is the complete “harvest”:
Each SKCC WES has its own “theme” and the November WES has traditionally been an opportunity for the SKCC to honour the Veterans in all countries and thank them for their years of service, and the “/V##” number following the name in the third column corresponds to the years of service as received in the exchange. The QSO in 20m with Van W7IEX in Reno, Nevada was the first with an SKCC member in that State.
This was also my 25th WES, and since the SKCC rewards its members with a nice certificate every time the number of WES’s reaches a multiple of five, one will soon will be showing up in my email. My participation in these 25 SKCC WES has resulted in 424 QRP CW QSOs with 215 SKCC members, of which over one half (113) were one-time contacts and only two had been contacted 10 or more times. This represents close to 10% of the QSO’s in my log in the past five years. It has also provided for excellent CW practice on the air.
Here is the QSO map plot, using the program software at: http://ok2pbq.atesystem.cz/prog/main.php