Apr 012011

I never expect much when operating just 10 watts (sometimes 15) out of my indoor antenna but I’m always surprised, and boy was tonight was no exception.

With my XYL, son, and mother-in-law, out of the house for just one more night, I figured I’d fire up the rig and have a go. Not living in my own house imposes its own restrictions and I’m sure the MIL would not accept PRB-1 as an excuse for a real outdoor antenna. My hopes were not high as the Sun had already been set for about an hour and 20 meters has been dying off quick after the grayline pass.

However, always hearing of the surprise and delight so known in our hobby, and as the clock neared 8:30 local time (EDT), I saw CU3CP pop up on my waterfall. Without even looking up where the operator might be, I threw my call out, faintly hopeful but ready for my signal to be eaten by the aether. After a short pause Manuel came back with a quick QSO, giving his name and details. I’m not sure if he was just headed to bed after one last QSO (I would be at 4:00AM), but it was enough to lift me from my seat and grin ear to ear. It was most wonderful to get a response this late in my day, let alone from a foreign entity!

It wasn’t until after I logged the QSO that I looked him up on QRZ, and saw my small, 10 watt signal, had traveled over 2900 miles to the Azores. WOW! I had made contact in the past with Mexico with my set up, but this was my first trans-continental contact, and my third DX QSO.

It never ceases to amaze me just how far such a small signal can go, and how exciting this hobby can be in an world of ever increasing connectedness. I will no doubt talk about this QSO for the rest of my days, even in the future when we can simply blink and travel over 10,000 miles. If of course has lit a fire under me bum to order my QSL cards. However, that’s a post for another day.

Amateur Radio: Social before it was media.