I can send and receive code comfortably at 15+ wpm but it's encouraging to hear new stations struggle with their speed and there's a real need to practice on the air in a real situation.
Last night there was an excellent pass over West Virginia of the International Space Space Station at about 9:30 PM. These "near sunset" revolutions allow it to be viewed quite easily even in city lights. The local KARC net was on the verge of closing and I jumped in with a comment about the direction of the pass.
WOW....did they ever get a kick out of it!
I was surprised so few have really "seen" the ISS in the sky. It entered the US just below Lake Michigan and exited the East coast about South Carolina last night. It moved right up the Kanawha River above the State Capitol here.
This morning I had a fantastic QSO with KA3P who was near Pittsburgh PA (just 171 miles from here). We talked for a long time about him linking repeaters from there into the Kanawha Valley. I seldom listen to 2 meters anymore but got into the hobby for communications when hiking and camping. (before I learned about HF QRP). He's using an end fed Zepp too....I take mine with me when I travel.
What a great fist!
This afternoon was the "crown prince of contacts" when I worked W1AW on 40 meters. I know who the operator was but had to try twice to exchange my RST and club number. He was SO weak (QSB) and actually sent SRI at one point. I waited until the cycle peaked and completed the essentials for the QSO.....