2015 has continued to be my best year for working new DX in my relatively short 4 years as an Amateur Radio operator. I have been trying to reach a personal goal of working my 300th DXCC for several months, and I’ve been just one All-Time New One (ATNO) short for a few weeks. I worked one or more new Band-DXCCs every day in 2015, with a total of 112 new Band-DXCCs worked so far this year. About a week ago, it looked fairly certain that my 300th ATNO was in sight with the 9N DXpedition to Nepal about to come on the air. Just as they did, we had some very strong solar flare/Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) activity which wiped propagation between my QTH in New England, USA, and Nepal. 9N Nepal is a fairly rare one here in the USA (#42 on ClubLog’s most-wanted list for North America) so I really wanted to put 9N in the log while it is active.
I have been listening diligently each day during the periods of best propagation (see the excellent VOCAP propagation prediction website to create custom propagation predictions). This morning the K and A indices were down, and the most up-to-date VOCAP prediction between Nepal and my QTH suggested that today would be better. I went down to the shack early before the start of my work day and found Janusz, 9N7WE coming in strong on 15m SSB. I took just two tries to get him in the log.
At this point, the remaining DXCCs that I need are, for the most part, the rare ones. Both Anita (AB1QB) and I have begun to use the tools provided by the DXLab Suite, ClubLog, various DX newsletters available on the internet, automated monitoring of the spotting clusters, and computer-generated propagation predictions to help us to work the remaining ATNOs as well as achieve our operating award goals. For more on how we use these tools, please see our related DX’ing post here on this blog.
– Fred, AB1OC