2016-11-22 A bit of hope for radio contacts
Recently getting some new contacts on amateur radio has been very difficult. And news articles like Sunspot cycle plunges to lowest level in 5 years - Southgate arc which points at source Sunspot cycle at lowest level in 5 years - spaceweather.com tell us things aren't going to improve soon. But sometimes interesting radio contacts are possible. Last Friday I complained somewhere about propagation being down and the next morning I saw a reply that propagation had improved after 23:00, by which time I was asleep. Yesterday evening I had some time to try the radio after 21:30 and I first added Albania to the list of countries I contacted with a PSK31 contact on 40 meters with ZA5G and later I even had a voice contact with RA3QK who gave me an S5 report. I kept scanning around the band and heard pileups for some popular stations from the Brazil and the US, who never heard my answer. And later I heard an active net on 7178 kHz with a number of US and Canada stations active. I tried breaking in but they also could not decode my callsign. One of the active members in that net was WA3RSL whose qrz page clearly shows he is a big 40 meter fan and has the space for huge antennas.