Award safari

by Antony Chazapis

The summer QSO frenzy and some casual DX chasing have yielded 81 DXCC entities in my Cretan log, 62 of which are currently confirmed via LoTW. Raising the count seems each time even more difficult. I can hear and work almost every European, as well as close-by Asian or African station, but North America and Oceania are impossible to reach. I see the stations in the cluster, but their signal is too week – if audible. It feels that I am now limited by my dipole antenna, regrettably placed at a relatively low height. I guess propagation does not help me either. I can hear some extremely strong stations beaming directly to Europe, but the competition in the pile-ups is so strong, it is hopeless to even try.

QSL cards

On the other hand, I realized that LoTW can also be used for the CQ WPX award. That looked like an interesting parallel path towards the DXCC and another incentive to get on the air and call CQ. I did that a few times, although with mixed results. While my prefix collection grew, it made no difference to my DXCC entities count.

The CQ WPX award proved also a good motivation to register at eQSL, as eQSLs count towards CQ awards. RUMlog integrates nicely with both LoTW and eQSL, so sending and receiving eQSLs was just a matter of setting the username, password, some options, and selecting the appropriate menu items. Now, from the log’s 731 entries, 232 are confirmed via LoTW and 198 via eQSL. Total unique confirmations either way: 321. Total prefixes confirmed: 254 out of 456. More than half, and just 46 left for the award! (I have written a script to count the WPXs.)

In the meantime, I have prepared my SV9/SV1OAN QSL card. Electronic QSLs are fast and easy, but I love the personal touch of the paper-based exchange. Paper cards will also be used for direct confirmations – sometimes a necessity. I use card labels printed by the logging program instead of writing out each card by hand, but for each QSO, I first search online for the QSLing details. It took me several days to check the latest batch of 431 QSOs with qrz.com, print the labels, stick them on the cards, stamp them, organize by QSL bureau, and ship them over to RAAG. To simplify sorting, I use a 10×15 cm index card box and A-Z guides.

With the SV9/SV1OAN cards, I have also prepared and will send out the QSLs for SX3AM. Again, better late than never. I have already replied to the direct requests.

The award safari continues. And there is a lot more work to it than making QSOs.

Update: It turns out that my confirmed prefix count is wrong (off by about 10). eQSL QSLs are valid only if both users have verified their identity (both have the “Authenticity Guaranteed” certification). The script has been updated.

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