My Most Recent QSO's

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Rookie Roundup

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. 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....

Monday, December 13, 2010

Coasting Along in the Winter Months

I continue to make contacts at about the same distances on 20 meters this month. Most are weak signals but workable. I'm still amazed at the times I've heard KE7PZX (and also worked him) in the state of Washington. If there's any propagation at all, I seem to catch him on the 20 meter band. One of the other 'nicer' contacts (and at a much shorter distance) was a fellow transmitting from his motor home from Loxley Alabama. Seems his home in Texas is just a mail box and he's on the road full time.

I've also worked a few QRP stations this month. N5GW was in Vicksburg, Mississippi (20 meters) and on 40 meters (WB8AIZ). I also found KY4O in Nashville Tennessee using a QRP rig. I also found W2IFB QRP in Newfield NY.

Although no DX this month, I still continue to have fun on the bands and find it fulfilling to continue the hobby. The distance isn't important to me, it's still the music of a good fist that attracts me.

Just to mention a few; I've worked these stations this month.

N5GLU in Denton Texas
KE7PZX in Chelan Washington (3 times)
N5GW QRP in Vicksburg Mississippi
VA3AH in La Salle, Ontario Canada
WB8AIZ QRP in Mount Clemmons Michigan
KK4RF (nice call) in Suffolk, Virginia
KY4O QRP in Nashville Tennessee
WG3D in Willmington Delaware
W5VYN in Whitesboro Texas
KE7XU in American Fork Utah
WC7C in Ephrata, Washington

This morning, the weather turned really bad here in West Virginia. It forced me to spend more time than usual on the air. I worked another station in Florida. WB4VMH had an exceptional signal. My favorite today was working an old friend here in West Virginia. I've worked KC8MFF many times, and we always enjoy talking about his old stomping grounds here on the west side of Charleston.

I think the upcoming cold weather is going to force me indoors the rest of the month. It should be good time for radio.