This weekend, I took part in the CQ WWPX contest. I had myself all geared up for it, in my head I was already making hundreds, if not thousands of contacts, and was all ready to operate at a rapid rate for a good few hours. I positioned myself at the desk, correct frequency (check), logbook at the ready (check), mic and footswitch in position (check), refreshments close (check). I decided not to tie myself down to any particular band yet and began on 40m expecting a nice little pile up of prefix hunters.
Unfortunately the reality of this was very different.
I found a clear frequency and began calling "cq cq test, cq test, EI9GSB, contest".......nothing. I repeated this quite a few times before I got an answer, and then it was another little bit before I got another. Maybe my expectations were too high?
After a little bit of this to-ing and fro-ing, I decided to change band, surely 20m or 15m would be more active. Boy was I right. I could barely find a few KHz to myself without being trampled on (not literally but it felt like it!). Here was poor little callsign on the band, just trying to get a few contacts when the "big gun" stations began to stomp all over me from a few KHz away, splattering me with 20+ (sometimes 40+) db of noise. I couldnt hear myself, let alone anyone answering my call.
I did however decide I was going to answer some of the stations. To begin at the start of the band and work my way to the end provided many contacts, as even a move as little as 0.50 KHz gave you a new station. And this is the way I proceeded to work, I even left the rig after a while as I was so annoyed with the DX zoo, constant stamping, blatant overtaking of occupied frequencies and some stations using so much power they could sustain an estate.
On the bright side though, I did manage to get some nice new contacts and DXCC's, and lots of new pFX's. I ended the contest experience with 261 contacts, but I much prefer operating at any ol time and working a little pile up of your own!!!