My Most Recent QSO's

Friday, September 20, 2013

The 50th State!

I finally worked my 50th state (KL7J) early this morning in Soldotna Alaska!

I had all but given up on my WAS award because of the "odd" distance Alaska seems to be from me here in the valley of West Virginia. My nearest contact, for many years, was a brief encounter with KL8DX on twenty meters, but although I could hear him clearly, he could not hear me well enough to repeat my entire call correctly.

Phil (KL8DX) and I have exchanged several e-mails over the years, and always listened for each other, but conditions were never exactly right for the contact. Unfortunately he moved recently and I thought all hope was gone. 

On the West coast, I imagine Alaska and Hawaii are easy catches, but not so here in the East coast. 

In May of this year I was able to work my 49th state with a contact on twenty meters to KH6LC in Hawaii. That contact left me with the "lone" contact to Alaska. Although I've heard stations in Alaska several times this year, they were not strong enough to work with a QRP signal. 

I woke up last night with back pain (just enough to wake me for an hour or so) and wandered into the radio room and turned on the radio to scan around for an occasional DX station. I've done this many times this year because of problems with my back, and I've worked a lot of DX while doing so....

When I tuned up on 30 meters, I heard the distinct KL7 call and double checked the cluster to make sure he was in Alaska. To my astonishing surprise, he responded on my first attempt. Also to my surprise, there was a quietness on the band and he was working VERY few stations despite all his efforts. 

My first contact was at 04:44 Z and just for fun, I made a second contact at 04:51Z and added "QRP @ 3 watts. (would not have done this in a big pile up). He repeated it back to me with a QSL VRY GUD. 

I'll soon be putting my log book together for my Worked All States Award from my favorite QRP club. I'll have some other comments concerning the North American QRP CW Club shortly. 

I've had SO much enjoyment with this group, it's time to start giving back, and sharing with others this great low power radio mode. I've been a Ham now for nearly 25 years, always operated QRP, and always in the stealth mode. 

Persistence pays off and the joy of portable operations is something which should not be missed because of antenna restrictions. There's tons of fun to be had with 5 watts of power and a simple wire antenna. 


QRP - When you care to send the very least! said...

A hearty congratulations, John. WAS via QRP is nothing to sneeze at. While many QROers would have you believe that all the heavy lifting is done by the receiving station, your QRP skill, patience and determination are also valid factors. Good show!

72 de Larry W2LJ

Dick said...

Congrats, John. Now gather the QSL cards for submission and receive your WAS certificate. There may be one for QRP which is extra special. 73 Dick

Jspiker said...

Hello Larry,

I'll be sending in my log book to the NAQCC Club shortly! Thanks.

Jspiker said...

Hello Dick,

Just knowing I've done it is enough for me. I'll be looking at the cards shortly.

KL8DX said...

Whoot, awesome John!!! Congratulations and Les has an awesome station. So very glad you finally logged the 49th. I was sure hoping we would have been able to hook up on the bands but it was just never in the cards I guess. I'm soooo happy for you and I was so excited to read your blog entry! Now I'm looking forward to working you from my new QTH and something tells me it will be a bit easier. Congrats again my friend, well deserved!

Jspiker said...

Hello Phil,

I think it had more to do with 30 meters than anything else. hihi
Looking forward to hearing you at your new location.

VE9KK said...

Good evening John, very nice contact and it's not easy to come by.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Congrats John! Awesome accomplishment in any case but under your operating circumstances it's really something to be proud of.

73 Mike W8MDE

Jspiker said...

Mike and Mike,

Thanks for the "pat on the back". It's taken a while for those two above the lower 48, but it was worth the wait.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations John - a worthy achievement!


Jspiker said...

Hello Dave,

It's indeed tuff from the east coast. Hihi

Anonymous said...


Congratulations, well done.

I am still trying to work my last two of the 50 but in my case it is North Dakota and Wyoming. Just goes to show that location does indeed make a difference.

In fact, I think I am at that 48 mark on 20 and 15 where the remainder of the bands trail behind. One advantage I do have is that I work a lot of the big CW contests where finding Hawaii and Alaska is a bit easier. In fact Hawaii has always been easier from my location (Eastern Ontario Canada)than Alaska.

cheers, Graham ve3gtc