I got out a bit today to the local park for some more QRP fun chasing SKCC contacts. I have been using the paddles on the KX3 set to hand mode - but this needs to change. These seem to work great when using the keyer, but for hand keying it seems like they cut out from time to time while forming the dits and dahs. A decent hand key is next on the agenda for me!
While I was taking down the antenna and loading up at the end of my session an older gentleman that had been fishing and was parked near me asked if I was some type of weather reporter. I told him that I was an amateur radio operator and I was using morse code to talk to other stations across the country. We had a nice chat - I always wonder what people think of me sitting in my car with a 31' pole and wire strapped to the bollard!
Today I had 4 nice contacts on 20 meters, 3 of them with SKCC members....
NV4U (9744T) - I answered Rons CQ, band was up and down a bit, but he was a nice easy copy from Georgia.
AH6AX (11165S) - Larry was from Maryland and was an easy 599 on my end and he gave me a 539 on his. Larry answered my CQ.
K2PAY (4304S) - Jerry answered my CQ and gave me a 559. I had to engage the narrow filter on the KX3 because someone else came on right next to us calling CQ - worked like a champ! Jerry was in New York and during our first exchange had to take a quick break to help his wife with something - I completely understand this!
KK6GLP - I heard Mike calling CQ around 14.060, and I had time to squeeze in one more before my time was up. He gave me a 599 and he was also 599 here in Kansas. Mike was in Roseville, CA and was running 50 watts. He said he had some bad QRM on his end, so we said 73 and ended our nice contact. Reading on Mikes QRZ page he can't have a permanent antenna so he has a "rig in a box" and sets up in his backyard when he wants to operate.
It still amazes me that from a park, with a little antenna and just 5 watts I worked coast to coast today using CW and keying by hand. I would love to hear a recording of my sending, it sounds good on my end, but I often wonder how the spacing and timing sounds to someone else. I might have to find a WebSDR and see if I can hear myself sometime.
The strangest thing about today was that I called CQ many times, but I never saw a spot on RBN - this is pretty unusual.