Got on 20m last evening to see what kind of activity there was and discovered the 2012 CQ Manchester Mineira DX Contest (CQMM DX Contest) was going strong. This was my first experience with this contest and it was great to hear strong north-south propagation for the first time. I heard contesters from Colombia, Brasil, Cuba, Alaska, and the Dominican Republic all night.
Although I was on 0300Z – 0600Z operating QRP I only managed to work XE2S (Sonora, Mexico) and AL9A (Anchorage, Alaska). My tuner is out of action so I was running my OHR-100A 20 QRP rig straight off my 40 meter dipole up about 20 feet. I suspect I was putting out about 1 watt. So, considering the very low power out and marginal operating conditions of my equipment, I was happy with the result. I hope to work the contest some more this afternoon and evening.
Plan to participate in 2013 CQMM DX contest now that I know about it.
Volunteered for 3 days on the Communications Team in support of the 2012 World Jet Boat Races that took place across multiple venues in April. Communication conditions were very challenging as the races were run on rivers in steep canyons. Many times, at my station aboard a small river craft with a boat captain, EMT, and crew member, my 2-meter mono-bander could only receive. We used J-pole antennas for the most part. Even with extra repeaters installed around the river, communications were marginal at best. That said, no other form of communication was very effective. There was zero cell phone coverage. CB and 6 meters signals would have also been similarly ineffective in this geography. It was great seeing these speedy boats zooming around. Their top speed can be around 150 MPH. Despite the challenges all went well. The safety boat I was on was actually called into action when one of the jet boat drivers was injured and had to be taken off the course. I heard the call for assistance, informed the safety boat captain and away we went. Ham radio: when all else fails.