Today I finally had a free lunch period to get out and play radio, so last night I loaded up the antenna and radio into the car. Drove to my normal park at lunch - with much anticipation of the possibility that 10 meters was open.
Discovered that I had left my coax at home - kind of important to have the antenna connected to the radio!
Wow! I can't believe it has has been over a week since I have played radio. On this, the last day of September, I just had to get out. The weather here in Kansas was awesome - 75 deg, sunny and a light wind.
After getting setup, I heard a very faint CQ on 20 meters....
AK4JA (the QRPper) - Bob was calling CQ and was very faint, but readable. He was in Georgia. After reading his QRZ profile, he is a dedicated QRP addict, just like me. I had a bit of trouble copying him, but I believe he said he was running 200 MW! Thanks for the nice contact Bob!
Still on 20 meters....
N7IV/M (the mobile station) - Joe was calling CQ and was nice and strong here. He was calling from Minot, ND (which might be a new state for me) - he was running 200 watts from a TS 480 into a Hustler vertical antenna on rear fender. I believe he said he was on a long bike ride (but my CW skills were having a hard time keeping up :) ). He thought my lunch time activities sounded amazing - and I agree! However, I think bicycle mobile sounds even better!
Now it was time to hit my favorite band for DX - 17 meters...
F8EMH (the first Frenchman) - Flo was calling CQ and after a couple of calls I was finally able to work him. He gave me a 229 - so he has good ears. He was 579 here and sounded great. Looking at the map, he looks to live in the northern part of France, really close to the border.
F8AAN (the second Frenchman) - David was also calling CQ at the bottom of 17 meters. It took a few calls for him to hear me, but we finally connected. He also had great ears giving me a 419 - he was 599 in here. He lives in the western part of France, almost on the coast it appears.
So after a week away, things were still just as fun! Today brought some interesting contacts, and some fun DX to boot.
I thought I might get skunked today! The bands seemed pretty dead - and the wind was blowing 20-25 mph!
I finally did have two QSO's....
IK2CIO - Vini was calling CQ from Italy. Tried several times and got a 599 report from him - which I suspect was more of a contest style report - but still fun none the less! I worked Vini on 17 meters.
I didn't hear any other action, so I called CQ on 20 meters at 14.061. A very weak station replied....
AJ8P - Jeff returned my CQ from Sherrodsville, OH. He was very weak, and then someone started calling CQ really close to us. If I cranked up the filter, I would lose him - so just had to suffer through it. Jeff said he was running 2 watts.
After I got back to work, I had an email from Jeff. He sent me this picture and said he was using the Mag Loop inside! This just makes me want to get one of my loops working so I can start having some radio fun from the comfort of my home.
From checking out Jeff's QRZ page, he has a couple nice QRP rigs on his page - worth a visit.
After working Jeff, it was time to head back to the office - another fun day with the radio!
Today I went to my usual spot in the local park. I didn't hear a bunch of activity, but I kept tuning up and down the band on 17 meters primarily.
I heard a station calling and working guys contest style. It took me about 5 times to get the call right, since it was so long and he was sending pretty fast.
The call was EI13CLAN - a special event station in Ireland! What made this really special is because of this...
My father-in-law passed away suddenly in June - exactly 3 months ago today. Mike was a very proud Irish Catholic. He had a trip to Ireland planned for August - which he was never able to take. Mike had been on my mind all day, and then to work a station in Ireland - WOW! Mike would have loved hearing this story. I
It kindof made me wonder if he had a hand in helping my signals fly through the air to Ireland! :)
If you work EI13CLAN enough, you get this special certificate - I will be happy with a QSL card as soon as they update the Clublog so I can order one.
After working EI13CLAN I also worked....
K2WO - On 20 meters I worked George - we were both very weak. He was in Florida.
K4NMN - Henry was in Virginia Beach - He was 559 and he gave me a 569. Nice contact!
WA2LOT - On 17 meters I worked Mark. I was very weak - 449 so that is about all we exchanged.
So that wraps up a pretty special day! These lunch time sessions are just so much fun - and will even be more so as the weather cools down.
Man is it ever hot here in Kansas! Today it was 93 when I exited the car to setup the antenna. Can't wait for those cool fall days to arrive!
Once I turned the radio on I opened SOTA Goat on my iPhone to see where the SOTA activators were. I noticed one of them was calling CQ on 12 meters. I had never even listened on 12 meters, so I thought I would give it a go.
I couldn't hear the SOTA activator, but I did here...
CO8LY - map from QRZ
CO8LY: I heard Eduardo calling CQ with no takers and he was LOUD. So I gave him a shot and he came back with a 599 report. From the map on QRZ it looks like Eduardo was near the "infamous" Guantanamo Bay.
The bands were slightly strange today, a little up and down by there just not too many stations on.
I called CQ on 20 meters near the QRP watering hole.....
WB3GCK - from QRZ
WB3GCK/P: Craig was working portable from Duck, NC. Duck, NC is on the eastern most part of NC - and looks to be a popular resort area. He was VERY quiet - and judging from his picture on QRZ he was probably QRP. He gave me a 559 and I gave him a 339. We kept it short since he was so quiet. Craig has a nice page with lots of operating stories and other projects. You should really check it out here: http://www.qsl.net/wb3gck/ He is definitely a QRPer!
Called CQ some more and...
N3RSD: Frank came back with 559 reports both ways. He was in Wilmington, DE. We exchanged SKCC numbers and called it day. I always feel bad exchanging SKCC numbers when I am using the keyer - should I?
One other interesting thing... I was tuning around at 18.100 and heard W4BVH/BCN Tampa FL - I will have to check this out and let him know I heard it!
Another fun and successful QRP lunch time portable outing!
Lately I have been doing a lot of hit and run contacts - either with DX stations or SOTA Activators. I can copy pretty fast in these quick exchanges. However, I have noticed that my speed has slipped a bit when in a normal QSO.
So today I decided that I would start having at least one QSO that was a bit more of a rag chew each time I operate. Today I had two!
Here is the run down for today (15 meters seemed pretty dead, and so did 17 meters)...
KE7GKM - I heard Bob calling CQ on 20 meters and gave him a call. He was in Boise, ID. He was running a K2 at 5 watts into a dipole. This was a nice 2xQRP QSO.
Then I took a look at SOTA Goat and noticed several activators....
W4EON - Eric was on Mill Mountain, VA - W4V/HB-023 - he had good ears since he gave me a 449 and I gave him a 559 on 20 meters.
WA7JTM - Peter was on Baker Butte, AZ - W7A/AE-035 - RST of 559 both ways.
N7CW - Bud was on West Spruce Mountain, AZ - W7A/AW-202 - it sounded like he was running a nice little pile up! 579 exchanges both ways.
Still had a bit of time, so I tuned down 20 meters and heard....
KF7YHB - Wyatt was calling CQ with a nice clean fist. His QRZ page says he sometimes uses a "cootie key" - I wonder if he was today?? We had a nice long QSO which was really enjoyable - the speed was perfect and Wyatt had a great fist and signal!
On another note, I hope to make some more progress on the Mag Loop antenna this weekend - get it mounted and tuned up and hopefully make a QSO! We are heading to the Kansas State Fair on Sunday to see one of my sons friends and our neice and nephew - so that should be a fun day!