My Most Recent QSO's

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Every now and then, I have an exceptional QSO on 40 meters. I've always enjoyed 40 meters, above all other bands, because there always seems to be a good CW operator on this band.

The last several weeks I've had several GOOD contacts with great CW operators that went well beyond the usual name, location, signal reports etc. I love these conversations that go beyond the basics. Recently, I've talked about others living in similar towns in WV, music, even good books with CW on 40 meters. I had long QSO about "picking and grinning" while using CW. (Morse code actually seems like a form of music to me). I don't know if others have noticed it or not but I see the combination of CW ops and musicians very often.

This evening I worked N8GEY near Detroit Michigan. He was just above Lake Erie and between it and Lake Michigan. Not very far from me in a straight line (300 miles) and for reasons I can't explain, an area I get into VERY well with only 5 watts of power. I've always got into the Great Lakes area easily despite my location here in town.

It was a LONG conversation. We had 7 or 8 exchanges and each time, I continued to reduce my power because of his original 599 +10 over report. Near the bottom of the last exchanges, I made the comment that I "couldn't reduce my power any lower" since my 703 was at the "lowest possible setting" It was at 1/2 watt and he still gave me a good signal report. (559)

Sometimes another station is in JUST the right location for the perfect contact!

I've made several other contacts at 1/2 watt but this one lasted nearly an hour. It was a true joy to communicate at this level. I felt as much a sense of accomplishment with this QSO as a 5000 mile QSO at 5 watts. It gave me a sense of "camping" with a QRPp rig that is SO easy to take along in your shirt pocket with a little wire for an antenna.

Before we called it an end, we talked about his business, (I kidded him about have NO fear of heights), the weather, our rigs and antennas, our age and years as a ham, our Navy experiences (him on an aircraft carrier in the 70's and me on a destroyer around the same time) and our tenure as deck hands on smaller ships. He worked on ships on the Great Lakes and I worked on a "tug boat" hauling coal here in West Virginia. It seems we've both done a lot of different things in our lives.

It was truly a GREAT contact with a really "good" operator and chatting at 1/2 watt made it even better!


Paul - PC4T said...

Hi John, that makes QRP so wonderful. Unfortunately, my rig (FT450) cannot go lower than 5 watts. 73 Paul

Dick said...

Nice going John. As paul said QRP is really great. Of course, for me, QRP cw is extra great. Still hope we can QSO on 20 or 30 meters one day.

Jspiker said...

Hello Paul...5 watts is just fine!
I'm amazed every day with those that "skip the pond" with 5 watts. It's a great feeling just to know this is possible. Especially those that work stations within 50 miles of me from the Netherlands!

Hi Dick,

I keep telling people that my signal gets a "special" jump off the "gold dome" of the state capitol building just up the street...but can get few to believe me.

Even a "half watt" bouncing off the gold structure gets into the "Great Lakes". I heard the same station last night at 599+

Yes....CW at 5 watts is amazing! I feel the same way. Hope to work you soon.