P40L-P49Y Contest Summary Information

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I had plans to operate this contest from Bonaire as PJ4R but then the corona virus made that trip impossible. Aruba has been open to tourism for nine months and they have tried to keep it somewhat safe by having specific entry requirement along with mask mandates, etc. P40L/W6LD and P49Y/AE6Y had just upgraded their station prior to the pandemic so I was thrilled when they allowed me to use it for this WPX phone contest. This was a last moment plan and perhaps somewhat crazy during these difficult times. I scrambled the week prior arranging the COVID testing along with other things needed for travel these day. While in Aruba I mostly did socially distant activities to keep as safe as possible. Of course ham radio is a very pandemic safe activity and I enjoyed making CW and SSB pre-contest QSOs. I do not usually operate the WARC bands but I put up a 30m dipole and it seemed to work quite well. I also spent some time at Palm Beach and Baby Beach. Baby Beach is an amazing spot for snorkeling, especially if you bring bread for the fish. My birthday was on the first day of the contest and I could not imagine a better way to celebrate and I had great rates on all of the bands on this special day. I operated my first WPX from Aruba 20 years using a field day setup from a rental home. Conditions were much better back then and so was my score. Cycle 25 has not been impressive so far. I felt like there was a huge attenuator between Aruba and Europe, especially on the higher bands so I missed a lot of multipliers and QSOs. 85% of my QSOs were in North America and conditions were generally very good there. 15m was my best band, it was open for many hours, it was QRM free and I had steady rates of 100+/hour. 40m was good at times and other times it was completely unproductive. I found a really good frequency on the first night and I had a nice long run but for whenever reason I was not able to duplicate that on day two. Day two was a low band struggle, I think it was noisy in the US and my voice was straining from saying my serial number so many times. I was also wearing down my finger tip pressing the CQ button. I used only one transceiver and I made all of my QSOs without using spotting assistance so I will also enter my log in the N6MJ/KI4RRN Unassisted Challenge. The station worked amazingly well. I would like to thank John, W6LD and Andy, AE6Y for this awesome opportunity. It takes a lot of effort to maintain a station in a corrosive environment like Aruba and everything worked as it should. I arrived safely home in North Carolina on Monday evening. This was exhausting but also fun and I plan to be back in Aruba for the WPX CW contest. Please QSL via WD9DZV.

73, John KK9A