N8ZYA’s recent Blog post about working QRP and making a 2000+ mile contact brought back great memories of the last solar cycle and the fun time I had when I worked a lot of CW / QRP / M. You can find the link to N8ZYA’s Blog on the sidebar.
It was always a lot of fun and a real challenge to make contacts into Europe and many other places on my old Ten-Tec Argosy 525 while driving down the highway at 55+ MPH with the 40 Meter Hamstick flapping around. I made so many contacts with this rugged old timer that I do miss it from time to time. One of it’s best features was the fact that it could be easily switched from 5 to 50 watts when band conditions began to deteriorate. Hey! Got one for sale? Contact me, I’d be interested. I am still kicking myself today for being dumb enough to part with this little gem.
Some years ago, a friend of mine was going to take a trip to central New Jersey to pick up some Collins gear. He was also a CW / QRP / M nut like myself. I had some free time that day and took the ride. We were just getting onto the Belt Parkway and I was tuning around on his HW9 when I heard an OM3 calling from Western Slovakia. He was blasting in. Yep, we worked him and got a 539 signal report. Talk about ways to become hooked on a hobby. WOW!
My Ham friend in East Moriches was always the “bah humbug type” when it came to CW and he thought QRP was a total joke. One day I went over for a visit and brought my MFJ 9040 with me. He just “happened to have” a Tri-Band beam up about 20 feet in his back yard. He lived so close to the Atlantic Ocean that he didn’t need much height on the antenna. I asked him if I could connect the 9040 to his beam. With all that hardware in front of this peanut rig, I knew it would be a blast. It reminded me of David and Goliath. Anyway, I remember making a bunch of contacts without having to call CQ over and over and good signal reports were of course real easy to get. All of a sudden I got a guy from PA coming back to me. Man, he was hammering the front end of that toy radio. We got into a QSO and he gave me a 599 report. I asked him what I was actually showing on his meter and he told me it was 20 over. My friend and I were both laughing so hard our sides were splitting. I then told the op in PA that I was running 5 watts. There was dead silence for a moment. Then he proceeded to go on and on about my signal from the little old 9040. (I never told him that I was operating through the beam antenna!) I bet he will always remember that contact.
Yesterday I was tuning my Ten-Tec Triton IV Model 544 and heard a guy (not QRP) calling CQ around 7010 from his mobile in Alabama. He worked a GB4 station (Special Event – Isle of Man). That did it, it gave me the bug again! Now I want to start pulling more mobile stuff out of storage. ( I guess I am too easy to encourage!)
There seems to be some signs of life in the low bands again. It appears that the low bands are coming around for more DXing fun. After hearing that QSO I am getting the itch to pick up some more QRP gear and start banging the paddles again from the mobile.
However, I am older (any maybe a little wiser now) and will park my butt before starting a QSO. Copying a QSO in my head at 55+ is best left to someone younger and more daring than I care to be these days. After hearing news stories about young men and women dying behind the wheel due to text messaging, becoming a statistic is not what I have in mind. There is no DX in the great beyond!
Ever worked CW or SSB / QRP/ M?
If so, why not comment on your best contact or a challenging contact?
Not into CW? Why not comment about your SSB mobile experiences.