QSB, and a violent one, was the name of the game, yesterday afternoon, on 21 MHz. However, there were also signals, more than usual, and that was enough for me to start chasing. At 13.30 UTC, I wasn't expecting what I would experience in a few hours, and when I worked CT9/RW9JZ, from Madeira Island, I didn't took it but as a further signal of the band being well open. TA7EB, on the Black Sea, and RX4CD, in Petrovsk, brought my log again in the areas I've a better window to. A61BR marked probably the best QRB of the afternoon, and when at 15.04 S52WW heard my answer to his call, I told myself skip was shortening, and the game was probably over soon.
Never make such hurry conclusions. 21230 kHz, at 15.41 UTC, and PY5ARP was pretty clear. Not strong, but perfectly readable. A brasilian in the mid of IX1 land afternoon? Not impossible, as nothing in HF is impossible, but not usual. He was calling "concurso CVA". I told myself that, for a contest, everyone puts up a tight dress, so this would explain why he was getting to me. Ten minutes after, on 21250, ZY6Z sounded much stronger. Jokes of the propapgation, after a couple minutes I was listening to him, PY7AHA would appear co-channel. They probably were too close to hear eachother, but I could have them both. They were taking part too in the same contest of their colleague.
So, I decided to learn more, and discovered that CVA stays for "Concurso Verde Amarelo" (Green and Yellov contest), and marks one of the most important amateur radio activities in Brazil. This year it reached its 52nd edition. Interestingly enough, it's promoted by the "Clube de Radioamadores da Escola de Comunicações" of the Brazilian Army. In fact, CVA was built to celebrate the Week of the Soldier, by a Ministerial Notice on June 16, 1972, and aims to promote reconciliation among amateurs and amateur radio associations – civil and military – and mingle in the amateur days of commemorative activities of the Soldier, publicizing the events related to the August 25th and the image of Duque de Caxias, patron of the Brazilian Army.
I guessed I was witnessing a very felt contest, in Brazil, and decided to see how many other stations would turn out (and from where in PY). At 15.58 UTC, on 21252,9, PR7AA, in Paraiba, surfaced. It was quite strange as the QSB didn't made all the band alive together, but one/two channels at once. So, it took 'til 16.11 UTC to have, on 21255, another contester: PQ5B from Santa Catarina. Probably, the weakest one, but anyways identifiable. Only three minutes to go, and it was time for PR7AR on 21251, again from Paraiba. Driving the dial to 21217, then, made me learn one of the particularities of the CVA. I heard, at 16.30 UTC, PT7FLA calling. When I QRZ'd him, I realized that military entities were not only promoting the "concurso", but also taking part actively in it. In particular, these were the guys at "52º Centro de Telemática – Exército Brasileiro", in Fortaleza. Minutes earlier (16.25 UTC), 21281.5 brought PT5T, a contest station in Santa Caterina. Another contester did show at 17.10, on 21238: ZW8T, from Teresina (Paraiba).
Signals were getting stronger, probably as my greyline was approaching. I thought it would be neat, after all this listening, to place some calls. I'm reluctant to answer to stations contesting, if I'm not sure to take part too, as if I won't submit my log, this will end up in missing points for the colleagues I worked. However, the occasion was too rich, and decided to try. Barefoot, as always and ever, with 50 watts and my "fishing rod". Highly unexpected (as traffic was quite heavy, and channels wouldn't be free enough to hear me), I managed two QSOs: with ZW8T at first (17.14 UTC, on 21238), and then ZY6Z (at 17.20, on 21250).
Other stations didn't hear me, but I didn't care, as I was already on cloud nine (you can laugh about it, but I rejoice of every single QSO I have!). However, it was a pleasure to keep on listening. At 17.51, on 21245, another military station: ZW9B, from the Headquarters of "13a Brigada de infantaria motorizada", in Cuiaba (Mato Grosso). Seventeen minutes more, and there came PY1SX on 21230 (Teresopolis – Rio de Janeiro). Last station logged, as then I had to leave, was PY3UR at 18.15 UTC, on 21237.2 (Rio Grande do Sul).
What to say, except the fact it has been a wonderful radio experience. In one afternoon I had eleven brasilian stations, and two contacts with them. Bear in mind my mountains crowded environment doesn't makes it easy on higher bands, so this has to see not only with good set-up from contesters, but mostly with very good propagation conditions. CVA sounded like a really nice contest, and operators from Brasil are warm and friendly. If every week-end would bring such discoveries…