It is always an interesting discussion among QRP'ers when the conversation rolls around to just "how" a contact was made with a significant DX station with 5 watts or less. Significant is a relative term of course, but suffice it to say a station that you are willing to endure a pile-up to work is by definition significant DX. My previous post on my QRP contact with 9U4U was such a story. I was in position when the opportunity for QSO presented itself, that is, no callers, late in the expedition and I had a path to 9U.
However, as they say, there is more than one way to skin a cat, so are there many ways to work big DX-peditions QRP. I did not need XT for a new QRP country, however I did need them on 160m. (before you say I know what's coming, I did not work XT2TT on 160m QRP). So after the IOTA Bash festivities on Saturday night I went to the shack to see if the XT was up on 160m. Not only did I need them for a new one on Top Band, but a friend of mine has already worked him on that band, so I was doubly motivated. As luck would have it, they were not on 160m, but on 20m CW. So rather than fire up the QRO rig, I thought I would give the KX3 a workout to see if I could get a QRP QSO with Burkina Faso.
So I turned the beam to Africa, found the split and started calling. The Op was working primarily Russian stations that I could not hear so I had trouble knowing exactly were to call. He work several in succesion, leading me to believe that band was much louder to Eastern EU. My hopes of a QSO weren't very high. Finally he worked a W4 that I could hear, I moved the VFO to the W4's frequency and called, "AD5A/QRP" after which he came right back to me. In fact the online log has AD5A/QRP in it.
I'll admit that I was a little surprised to make the QSO, so I sat there thinking why was this relatively easy. After evaluating the scenario and remembering that the ARRL DX Phone contest was in full swing, it was a late night opening on 20m that isn't used that much, the situation made more sense. For both reasons above, the competition was much lighter and therefore a QSO was much more probable.
I guess the moral of this story is to look for QRP workable DX on a major phone contest weekend on the CW bands and I suppose the reverse would be true as well.
By the way, I managed a QRO QSO with XT2TT on 160m last night so I have a new band country in the log, but more importantly, my buddy no longer has bragging rights:-)