It was an sms sent by Franki, OQ5M, that woke me up from winter-sleeping. CQ WPX passed this weekend, and again the shack stayed qrt. Too much to do, the final preparation for another running contest this weekend etc...
However, it was an alert to have a look at the dxcluster. VK9MT in the air. Mellish reef is one of the 6 expeditions to work this year ! It didn't notice that the dxpedition was started.
Ok, due to my lack of activity the antenna was still at 17m, so this couldn't be the problem. I quickly put up the tx and went to 24Mhz. The expected zoo was busy, of course without listening to the operator. I think the poor guy was so impressed that he went qrt. Even after 5 minutes folks were calling in the empty darkness.
My expectations came true : few minutes later a spot arrived on 18Mhz, also ssb (probably the same operator). A few calls later, Mellish Reef entered the OT1A log.
I noticed also a TX6G, but no country was indicated and with the garden calling even harder to be cleaned , I did not pay attention.
Back in town, far away from the shack, I looked up the strange TX call : Austral Isl.
My God, this was also a missing one ! And he should go qrt the next day, April 1st.
Big problem : next day was fully filled in with qrl. Only one big hour of free time at noon (with 25 minutes for a single trip to the shack, this meant about 20 minutes of operating time).
Some more stress : this dxpedition claimed a focus on rrty, while I do not play this mode.
I took the risk, went to home and Austral was active on 21Mhz ssb. Ouf !
Due to this stress I forgot my laptop and had to take the cluster via my poor gsm. Nothing bad, but another problem arrived : the Austral Islands were not indicated on my bearing map and I couldn't look up for extra information on the internet.
My intuition indicated around 0 degrees, short path. The station was there but with a weak signal.
Without listening (shame !) I took a split of 5 kHz and called. He immediately answered my call. This was my lucky day. Huray.
Anyway, once passed the 300 DXCC every new entity means a challenge and often there is no way to have a second change.
DX delivers stress !