The night shift
The 6 meters band is the worst band you can be addicted to! In order to work all openings it requires activity around the clock, 24/7, which at least for me is not so easy. Therefore, with age, you try to get around this problem if you can and if you get a hint there might be something for you can catch. I will now tell you one sunshine story.
First you need to have the facts, before I tell the actual story:
- I noted one morning on the cluster that there was temporary activity in the GP44 grid locator.
- GP44 was not worked by me
- To work that far into Greenland the best and most common propagation mode is Aurora E, which is most likely to appear between 22 and 03 local time
- Most of the above time span I spend with a horizontally polarized body and my head on a pillow
- Big auroras are mostly possible to predict if you study the activity on the sun. The solar data normally gives you 24-48 hours pre warning
- What you eat and drink must leave your body and this is also quite predictable
- My wife starts her daily work in the early morning hours, so she is not too fond of alarm clocks in the middle of the night
One day I noted some nice solar spots, which were quite active and throwing their particles towards the earth. Therefore I came to the conclusion that the chanses were good for a quite strong aurora in the evening/night and a chance for some Es to OX. Before going to bed I had a few beers, a larger amount than advisable if you want to have a long night sleep, and put my faith into the hands of mother nature. Just before 2 AM I woke up and had to give the beers back their freedom. After that I fired up my station, beaming towards OX, and started tuning the band, checking beacons and stations below 50 MHz. The result was depressing - nothing but noise.
Well, one CQ on 50.110 cannot do any harm, so I gave a longer that normal call. The CQ was answered by, I think you can guess who, OX3NUK! Bingo!!!
- Aurora is predictable with a reasonable chance also to predict Aurora E
- Monitoring the clusters, from a historical point of view, will give you info regarding possible new calls and squares
- Calling CQ on a dead band can bring big surprises
- Beer is both tasty, good for your well being and a helpful tool, to get you out of bed in the middle of the night, to work DX