On Thursday a local ham and expert on antennas (who also attends the TLM) came to my BOQ to consult about antennas and a potential location in the complex for a station. We worked on my rig and made some progress. We also worked on it for a bit on Friday. I learned some stuff, especially about old fashioned – dare I say, traditional? – operator’s etiquette.
Inter alia, he explained that the type of CW key I have (sent by a reader): a US Army Signal Corps J-38.
Once we got the antenna tuned up we heard a fellow in the Canary Islands who was provoking a pile up (that’s when all sorts of hams try to make a contact with him because his location is a bit exotic or the event is special). We also heard a guy in Barcelona provoking the same. Using my station, the Elmer made a QSO with him, thus proving that, with my rig, IT CAN BE DONE.
Now we have to make it be done better!
I have a couple shots of stuff he brought to work on the rig. I am sure that this is familiar to you experts, but it was new to me.
When he went home, I made my first 20m QSO with him and then I listened around for a while – still on 20m.
I managed to make my first long distance contact by working a station in W. Palm Beach.
He putting out 400W and I could hear him well. I was on 100W and he could barely hear me, but after taking a dozen runs at my callsign – the band was going in and out – he got me!
So, I made my first long distance QSO on Thursday evening, using the small vertical antenna a contributor here sent me. Thanks to him!
“-… ..- – ..-. .- – …. . .-. ..–.. -… ..- – ..-. .- – …. . .-. ..–..”, some of you are sending as fast as humanly possible, “What is the antenna? Don’t keep us in suspense unless you hate Vatican II!”
Glad you asked. What I have set up now is a … yes… it’s cheesy sounding, a Super Antenna. It sets up and breaks down in a couple minutes and goes into a small nylon bag. And it works!
I am also going to be setting up on the balcony a dipole with wire in an inverted V to see what I can get and send. There are also some attractive trees nearby.
At this point my objective is to learn to use well the basic equipment I have received before getting into anything more complicated or powerful. If I can use this rig and some simple antenna solutions well, then I’ll be in better shape later to expand my horizons.
I still have my eye on portability, however. I’d like to put together a good radio Go Bag.
After posting this I saw that our own WB0YLE was going to be listening on 14.265. I dashed (not dotted) to my rig and heard him calling CQ. I responded a couple times and he heard me. We had a successful contact. Very cool. The band was in and out, making it a little hard.
Then I tuned around and heard a big pile up of people trying to work a station in Hawaii. These pile ups! It’s a JUNGLE out there! You’ve got to fight for your life, it seems!
I may be exaggerating a little.