One of the biggest amateur radio Morse code contests of the year was on this weekend. I was on the air making lots of contacts in it and I also logged over 100 stations heard. I spent most of my time on 10 metres, with some time also spend on the 15 and 20 metre bands.
There were tons of stations coming in from Europe, the Caribbean, and South America. 10 metres was particularly good. This is a band that is very sensitive to propagation conditions, and especially to the 11 year solar cycle. Around sunspot minimum the band can be dead for weeks, supporting nothing but local propagation. But when the solar cycle approaches the maximum, this band can support world-wide communication with solid signals at low power. Now that we're heading towards solar maximum, the band is improving a lot.
One of the highlights today was hearing TF2JB in Iceland on 10 metres at 1459 UTC. I don't think I've ever received a station from Iceland before.
Another highlight was hearing ZS4TX in South Africa at 1811 UTC on 10 metres. I've received plenty of broadcast stations from South Africa before but this is the first amateur station I've heard from there.
Another noteworthy station was ED9M, in Ceuta, Spain. Ceuta is a city on the North African coast that is part of Spain. Never heard any stations of any sort from that place before. This was on 10 metres at 1756 UTC.
At 2135 UTC I received VP2MWG in Montserrat on 15 metres. Another new country, I think.
At 2146 on 15 metres, caught HC2SL in Guayaquil, Ecuador. I've heard amateur stations in Ecuador before, but they were all contest stations in the Galapagos. I think this is the first amateur station I've got from mainland Ecuador.