The weekend of February 6 and 7 presented its share of challenges and opportunities for making contacts. Solar flux was in the low 70s with no sunspots to drive flux much above the barest minimum.
Even so, 15M (21 Mhz) was actually in useable condition on Saturday (Feb. 7) with Europeans worked from the North American west coast for a few minutes in the early part of the new European Union DX contest.
Having 15M open was also really helpful for the British Columbia QSO Party, providing contacts with VE7 stations for those across the US mainland.
Band conditions were only half the picture. The other half is provided by two factors: participation and competition for attention.
Had to pick a focal point
This fragmented participation in any one of the on-air events. I tried the EU DX contest on Saturday morning, making only four European contacts over the span of an hour on 15M and 20M — so I decided to cut my losses and return to the BCQP as my main focus for the weekend.
I managed more than 400 QSOs in the BCQP, which was a new personal best in that contest. I made one contact in the NA CW Sprint — Tree N6TR worked me in the BCQP at 2300z, which was also the Sprint start so I handed out the BC mult to get into his log for that sprint.
The proverbial cup runeth over
All in all, it was a modest contesting weekend considering the opportunities to participate. The bevy of options simply siphoned attention from one another, leaving none of the contests particularly compelling. Most disappointing were the lack of participants in the inaugural European Union DX contest — which I had hoped would be a tremendous turnout — and the scarcity of stations on 15M on Sunday despite the band being wide open across North America.
Nothing like adding a Super Bowl to a super busy contest weekend to draw people away from any on-air action.
Next weekend, we don’t have these problems. It’s CQ WPX RTTY contest all the way, and it’s going to be a blast!