I'm sure everyone remembers all the anxiety about dropping the "code" requirement a few years ago. There were forecasts it would be the demise of Ham Radio.
Well....it hasn't happened.
I received an e-mail, a few days ago, from the North American CW QRP Club (NAQCC) about an American Radio Relay League (ARRL) event encouraging new operators (licensed three years or less) to get their feet wet in contesting. A big part of this event was (you guessed it).........Morse Code.
Although I'm not a "serious" contester, I couldn't break myself away from this event.
I was astounded at the CW activity on the 40 meter band this evening.
Most of the activity occurred around the 7050 MHz frequency. It was a four hour event and I heard a variety of stations all along the "east coast" and as far west as the Mississippi River. (actually as far west as Iowa and Missouri)
My most exciting catch this evening was K3ROI in Aston Pennsylvania. James is thirteen years old and NAQCC member # 516.
Some of my other contacts were:
K8JD in Michigan (always proud to be involved in teaching CW to new users)
WA4YG in Georgia (an incredible signal)
KJ4VP in Tennessee
KD0JCX in Iowa (an exceptional contact at 579 miles) and I might add, an incredible patient person trying to pull my QRP signal out of a hive of swarming bee's.
W0AX in Missouri (an incredible operator that pulled me out of the swarm by "leading a series of dots to a quite place) Ward (W0AX) was 700 miles from me.
WK4U in Georgia
N4ZR in (of all places) my home state of West Virginia.
W1RM in Connecticut
N8XI in Michigan.
K1LKP in New Hampshire (636 miles).
As always, I used my Icom 703 (with no filters) and the indoor mounted Isotron antenna. This evening I was at 5 watts of power for the entire contest. I used my brass Brunnell straight key. I've started using the "full arm" method with this key and find it amazingly comfortable.
This was not a QRP event.
So much more the gratification to compete with lots of aluminium in the air and amplifiers.
I felt good about it....