I've just been back from Oman 48 hours so still rather tired from the time and climate differences and will do a more detailed write-up later.
Fristly, QSL information - I am happy to receive or send QSLs via the bureau or direct. 1 IRC or 1 US Dollar is sufficient to cover postage from the UK anywhere in the world. I expect to have cards printed by mid-March and then all sorted by the end of March. Any cards received Direct by then will be returned Direct, others will be sent via the bureau at that point.
The operation would not have been possible without the support of Tony Selmes G4KLF/A45ZN and also of the Royal Omani Amateur Radio Society. The generosity of Chris Dabrowski, A45ZN, was more than I dared hope for and in the best ham traditions. To have the run of a regular World Top 10 contest station for a whole weekend was simply amazing and I can't thank Chris enough.
This wasn't a DXpedition, but I hoped to have the chance to operate for a few days during a very conventional holiday in Oman. Luckily, I was able to make about 2800 QSOs in two days (local noon to midnight) and two evenings of operation. Generally, the pile-ups were great fun although there were a few lids who as usual dragged the good name of Europe through the mud in the amateur radio world.
It was a big learning experience for me - apologies if it took a little bit longer to work me than you hoped or if you didn't make the QSO. Still, I'm generally happy with the rates I managed to achieve of 150-180 per hour except on 80 and 160 where my low band inexperience told. If you need Oman, keep an ear out as A45XR is very active (I worked him on 12 metres the day after I got back) as are A41JZ and A45WD. Unfortunately, the Omani Post Office has stopped its surface mail service which means that the Omani QSL bureau has been forced to close.
Also sorry if you found me when I was working directionally outside Europe. I needed to give the USA a chance on the Long Path, and with Chris' 40 metre antenna fixed on Europe, I needed to give the JA and other East Asian/Pacific stations a chance. When you work one JA and one VU during a 300 QSO European/Central Asian run at a time when you should have good propagation, you know you have to give them a chance to break the pile.
95% of my fellow Europeans were a pleasure to work and the pile-ups were great fun, especially the high rate ones on 15, 20 and 40. It was also nice to have goodies like ST, 3B8, VR, JL, YB, ZL, 9J, Antarctica and KH6 call in. I worked two KH6 stations through the European wall on 80 metres which was really incredible. You must understand that I'm a DXer too, and when DX calls in the pile I get excited!!!
It has wetted my appetite for some more DX operation and I may try a more serious effort, probably from Africa, in late 2005 or early 2006.
Now, I'm an ordinary boring G station with 100 Watts and a dipole again. Nobody answers my CQ calls and I have to slug it out in the pile-ups with everyone else!
Apart from radio, we had a great time in Oman, which is the perfect place to escape a European winter with warm days and balmy nights, gorgeous desert and mountain scenery, warm waters to swim in and camels grazing everywhere outside Muscat, especially in the laid back and African influenced South.
73 and thanks for the fun and your patience.
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