As the propagation index continues to tease us, I've recently been noticing more paths opening for longer periods of time. In the past week after I've been getting home from work around 6pm Eastern time, I've heard some really good openings on 17 meters into the Far East and parts of Asia that I'm not accustomed to hearing at all. I worked JT5DX the other day and he was an honest S8-S9, banging the S-meter. Then a day or so later I heard XW1B from Laos build until he was an easy copy, maybe S5-S6. I didn't make the contact, but that was encouraging. Then, finally, I nabbed him over the weekend. Took a few attempts, but he finally got the call correct and I quickly entered him in the log.
Now, I realize, if you've got a 80 foot tower and a monster beam, those may be regular happenings. But for a hexbeam about 35 feet up, located down in a hole to begin with, that's reason to celebrate!
I worked JT5DX in mid-June on 20 meters. Or so I thought. It was one of those "iffy" contacts. He came back, but had my call wrong initially. I sent a couple of corrections and he returned with a "R 5NN TU" and moved on. So I was left wondering, "Did I or didn't I?". The timing was right. Turns out, I did. Sometimes when I have those iffy contacts, I won't even log them because I'm not 100% sure. But for some reason I went ahead that time, then uploaded to LOTW. The next day I'm sure I let out a little yelp because there was my confirmation. Nice.
Speaking of which, I've noticed several stations that I've had in the log for quite a while uploading to LOTW recently and receiving their confirmations. More and more using it, that's a good thing. I know the subject of LOTW can be somewhat polarizing, but it works well for me.
I'm also starting to make more use of the DSP on the K2. For the longest time I shied away from it. I preferred the crystal filters. I kept fiddling with it, changing the settings on the beta and decay. What I needed to do was set them where it sounds comfortable and then just use the darn thing. And not be afraid to twist the main tuning knob a tad. Now, finally, I'm starting to see where it really can help.
On a sidenote, have any of you ever wondered what it takes to get a license in a certain South American country that begins with "V" and ends in "A" and sounds like a pitcher's name that played for the Dodgers in the 80's? I run across more stations from there that really seem to have no clue on how to participate in a pileup. I'm sure there's plenty of fine hams from there, too, but for some reason I encounter a lot who seem to create more QRM than anything.