My Most Recent QSO's

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My First CL Contact in Cuba

I'm working a bunch of local stations with the little Vibroplex Code Mite Key. It's taking some patience to keep my speed down, and keep correct spacing at this speed, but also quite satisfying to hear slow code again and carry on actual conversations with hams.

I've been hanging around the 7.055 MHz SKCC frequency.

I was surprised to work a new station in Cuba last night. I've made at least twenty contacts on this island previously, but this was my first "CL" contact. I was happy to work CL8CF in Baracoa, Guantanamo Cuba.  The previous contacts have always been on 20-17- or 30 meters. I worked this station on 40 meters!
Apparently, this is a new band which is open to a new generation of hams in Cuba and they're limited to 10 watts of power.

I listen to Arnie Coro (CO2KK) on the Short Wave bands and his "DX'ers" program in the winter months. A few years ago, I came close to working him and wrote him about the contact. He mentioned it on his SWL program and I have a recording of it on a cassette tape, but it's a very poor quality. Although I could hear him, he couldn't copy my entire call sign.

I like the percussion rhythms of Cuban music and consider all music to be a "universal language". I chose the above video because of the music.

I can't find much information on the web about Ham Radio in Cuba; but found the above video and wanted to share it with my readers. I no longer find the call signs of the previous Cubans stations I've worked on the normal data bases. I assume those stations are tightly controlled and difficult to retain. The most common call I now hear from there is CO8LY.

The new small "key" is working well. I'll be hanging around the slower portions of the bands and enjoying QSO's until the DX bug returns. I'm glad I found this key. I'll use it in the field because it's so small and lightweight. Despite it's small size, it's functional.


VE9KK said...

Good evening John, very nice run down of the licensing needed for Cuban hams. I have had the honour of working CO8LY.

Jspiker said...

Hello Mike,

Looking forward to hearing how your new Loop is going to work from the Toronto area. I've heard good comments about it. I've worked the CO8LY station about a dozen times from here in WV but never on 40 meters.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Hi Hohn. I like the little Code Mite. I've been thinking of building a small straight key using the Code Mite as inspiration. It's pretty straight forward as far as key building goes. I would do like you and use it for mobile ops.

I've been seeing a few Cuban stations on 40 meters PSK-31 lately. Worked a couple on psk and one on CW. The CW contact was fun. I thought he was KO8___ and in Michigan or Ohio since his signal was very strong. Then I got his call copied correctly at CO8___.

40 meters is the only antenna I have up at this time. The band has really been in great shape. I worked a Russian station on PSK the other day. He was in southwest Russia near the Black Sea. I've heard the same Op repeatedly since.

73 and hope to catch you on the band again soon. -Mike W8MDE

Jspiker said...

Hello Mike,

There were less than a thousand produced by Vibroplex, so feel fortunate to have found it. (e-mail from VP)

The straight key has it's limitations with speed but I'm always willing to slow down and help beginning CW people get the feel of this mode. CW is still my favorite.

I don't hear much out of Cuba now except CO8LY. The stations I've worked previously seemed to vanish off the face of the earth, so to speak. I hope it's not the beginning of a new trend. Radio and music are universal languages in my book. I'm glad hams have this common ground.