Tales from Timor by 4W/G3ZEM

It gets busy around here at weekends.  A bunch of young folks pitched right along side me yesterday afternoon.  They found my antennas useful facilities on which to hang their bathing suits for drying.  It’s as well they could only reach the polypropylene support cords and not the hot end of the dipoles.  Come 7pm local they stoked up the BBQ and on went the ghetto blaster (do they have ghetto blasters these days?).  More likely some Bluetooth Boombox.   Anyway it was boom, boom, boom consistently thereafter.  Loud enough to drown out the noise from the waves crashing against the sea wall, which had hitherto been my main source of audible interference.  At the same time they apparently managed to connect their assorted electrical junk to the power supply creating an S9 rasping noise across the whole of 80m.  So much for my plan to try to work into the US on there.  
These kids know how to party.  Their Boombox didn’ ;t fall silent until 6am this morning.  I assume the batteries went flat.  Blow me but they were up and about again at 8am and the party goes on as I write.  My fingers are crossed they will need to leave later today, to be back to Dili for whatever calls for their attention on a Monday morning.  I’m certainly hoping they aren’t still here overnight tonight with their sundry electrical trash creating mayhem across 80m and their boombox denting my eardrums. 
DX-peditioning has its challenges.
Conditions across all bands appear to have transitioned from really rather good to absolutely dire.  I spent a lot of time battling to pull calls out of the noise overnight.  This makes for low rates and is rather exhausting.  A very poor Q count for the day.
On the upside there was less SSB at the bottom of 40m last night.  Perhaps the CB folks party on Saturdays too?  Anyway this provided a decent window in which I could make a useful number of Qs.  Good to see a fair number of CDXCers now in the 40m log.
During the brief period in between the revelers having retired and the sun coming up I managed 4 Qs on 80m.  3 SMs and a single OH.  They were not strong so I am sure I was not strong with them either.  I hope due to poor conditions and not to my antennas not being up to the task.
As I write, news of the arrival of my missing HF9V at Dili has been received.  Apparently it has finished its Asian and Oceanic tour.  It should reach Liquica this afternoon.  I am not sure it will provide much benefit but the opportunity for a comparative experiment must be be seized.  The HF9V is a vertical after all and we are told vertical polarisation provides superior performance when the antenna is located at the edge of the sea.  I am fascinated to see how the make shift inverted V antennas on the bamboo mast will compare.
Sources of interference p ermitting I will now aim to be on 40m sometime between 17 – 19z and 80m between 19 – 21z for EU.  With the same proviso I will aim to be on 80m from around 11 z for US.
With a good number of Qs in the log across most of the HF bands the piles have started to thin a little.  I do sense a noticeable increase in poor pile up discipline this trip.  Few find the right balance when they call.  There are those determined to send their call 3 or 4 times before listening and there are those who drop their calls in once then apparently become comatose.  There is only one good way to do this.  Send your call once then listen to see if the DX is transmitting, if not send it once more then listen again.  This can continue until the DX transmits at which time it is game on if it’s your call he sends but time to tie your hands until he’s finished the Q if someone else.  If you aren’t hearing the DX well enough to adopt this approach it’s better you don’t touch the key to avoid simply being the QRM.  
Don’t be tempted to try tail-ending.  Whoever recommended this as a strategy lacked foresight.  Almost no one does this well.  It is unsafe to assume because I have sent the stations call I don’t need to hear his response, particularly when conditions are poor and with an unruly pile as reception errors are common.  I need to hear the response in case it includes a call correction.  Those who call on top of a Q in progress may think it safe to do so or they may just be very selfish don’t give a damn types.  I always assume the latter.  Consequently I ensure they gain no advantage.  Quite the opposite. 
I continue to be amazed at how many callers having received  a transmission from me containing only their call and 5NN will then respond sending my call twice followed by their own three times and a report three times.  What are they thinking?  I still do not understand this.  Is it a selfis h protest viz  I have spent the last hour calling you I am now hanging onto you for at least a god few seconds?  Perhaps it’s an example of attention deficit disorder.  I don’t know but it really slows things down.
I have discerned the police in action from time to time and possibly the DQRM fraternity.  At such times I have taken to repeating calls when responding.
That’s all from Liquica for now.  Time to take a shower then head off in search of sustenance.
73 Bob, 4W/G3ZEM

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Tim Beaumont