Shortly after I wrote my last annual 'DX Year' post in early 2020, things changed pretty fast once all the travel restrictions came into effect from the global pandemic. Nevertheless, despite the lack of DXpeditions, in November I finally managed to break my two year dry spell and worked JX2US on Jan Mayen Island for an all-time new one #322.
Despite its relative proximity to me, there has not been much activity from Jan Mayen in the last 10 years and I somehow managed to miss every dxpedition and the occasional operator at the Norwegian weather station there. Ken LA7GIA put in a brief appearance (only a couple of hours) from there in 2019 but was planning a much larger operation for 2021. Then Eric, LA2US, was posted to the island around the same time the dxpedition was announced, and eventually it was cancelled when Eric announced his intention to make an effort to fulfill the needs of DXers such as myself (which he did admirably!). I never did catch him on 160m as I had hoped but I did manage a few contacts on 40m and 60m during his time there.
In early February I started to notice that I had amassed almost 1000 DXCC Challenge points and a little push was all it took to confirm enough on LoTW to qualify for the award. A couple of years ago I had passed on the new plastic 5-Band DXCC Plaque (I ended up just getting the certificate and making my own 'old-school' plaque) but the new plastic DXCC Challenge plaque looks pretty nice hanging on the wall of the shack here.
I spent a lot of time on 160m this season (September through December) and picked up a dozen new ones there to bring my total up to 70 confirmed on that band. Those four months are really the only productive ones for DXing on 160m from here. I'm not sure why but long-distance 160m propagation always tanks right after the new year even though we still have lots of dark hours left. It will be interesting to see what happens next season with the increasing solar activity. I'm not expecting conditions to be very good on Top Band from under a mostly disturbed auroral oval.
That said, in keeping with the start of the new solar cycle I'm already making plans for higher bands and some other interesting activities. Stay tuned!