Adventures with 1.5 watts

Monday, May 29, 2017

This morning I found my way back on the air.  I sat outside for breakfast hooked from the SW+ to my Hustler vertical.  I called CQ and had the good fortune to have Jim K4WOP respond.  Jim is from Mercersburg, PA where he teaches music at the .  Jim said Mercersburg Academy.  It is a small town and the best part is being able to walk or ride a bike around town to get to things.  I told Jim that I play the cello.  We definitely had things in common.  Thank you Jim for being a music educator.  The arts are very important for us in so many ways.  If I ever make it to Mercersburg I will have to take a look at the academy. 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Today is Mother's Day.  I doubt any mom's read my blog but it was a wonderful day in central Indiana.  Today I got a chance to sit outside in the backyard and play with the radio.  I haven't been active with the SW+ this past week.  Last Saturday was the Indiana QSO party.  I operated with my Elecraft K2 so none counted for my SW+ WAS challenge.
The QSO of today is with KG4IUQ/Mark in Shelby, NC.  I was set up in the back yard with the SW+ going to my Hustler Vertical antenna.  It is such a nice day today.  I called CQ and Mark gave me a shout.  As it turns out we have a lot in common.  We are both musicians with music degrees.  We talked for an hour!  That is a fantastic QSO with any radio.  It is such a great feeling when you really start connecting with someone during a rag chew.  It doesn't happen all that much so I will remember Mark.  Shelby, NC has some very historic homes but I thought I would talk about the Anne Dover Bailey Carrousel Pavilion and Rotary Train.  The city park Carrousel is a year round carrousel with Twenty-nine original horses and three hand carved replacements.  It was built in 1919 and what a bargain at only $.50 a ride!  I'll stop there if I get to Shelby someday.  

Pictures taken by W9ODX

Within the same Zulu day I also went Hiking with my local ham friend Mike W9ODX.  We made a trip to the Morgan Monroe State Forest with the MFJ 9040.  Mike and I both made a QSO with a new portable dipole Mike got.  We suspected it was not quite long enough and sure enough, when we got back to my place and we measured it it was short.  The antenna still tuned and we got a SKCC QSO and one in the AR QSO Party.  The mosquitoes are out!  I'll suffer from that trip for a little bit.  However, it was very nice to be in the woods again.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

I have taken a little break from radio the last couple days.  It feels good to take a little break.  I always enjoy making QSO's and look forward to talking to someone after awhile.  
Tonight I had the pleasure of meeting Mike/AA4MC in South Boston, VA. Mike told me I was 569 when he answered me but after the first exchange I fell to 339.  However, he said the noise reduction in the IC7300 is very good and he had me solid.  On my end we have storms moving in which made the noise level high.  QSB was working against his signal and two other stations were calling CQ in my bandpass.  I struggled.  The IC7300 must be a great radio.  I have been hearing a lot of them lately on the air.  I would look seriously at one if I were in the market for a new radio at that level.  

South Boston, VA is where the "Crossing of the Dan" took place which is the turning point of the Revolutionary war.  General Greene was able to split his army and distract the British while his main body crossed the river.  This maneuver was advantageous for much needed rest and reinforcements which let to the British to finally leave the Carolinas and move into VA.  It would be worth a trip to visit South Boston.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

This day the QSO went to Florida to Port St. Lucie.  I met Al N4OW.  Al was running QRP with his FT-950 at 4 watts.  The QSO was short, but appreciated.  Port St. Lucie is relatively new development on the eastern coast of FL.  It is the most populated city of the county.

Over the weekend I went to Xenia Ohio and road on their paved rail trails.  I took my SW+ but never did find the time to set up and operate.  However, the bicycling was fantastic.  I got twice a year with friends from work.  We eat at local shops and stay at a fantastic bed and breakfast.  So I have been absent from radio for a couple days, but I sure enjoyed another fun activity.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Tonight I got to visit with Francis/KG5DKG in Hattiesburg, MS.  Hattiesburg has a lot of history and culture.  It would seem it came into it's own as a railroad hub.  It has the University of Southern Mississippi and Willian Carey University.  They have a Zoo located in Kanpur Park.  In December they also have the Annual Victorian Candlelit Christmas and Holiday tour of homes.  They put candles in white bags and take visitors on carriage rides. I think if I make it to Hattiesburg I will also visit the Thirsty Hippo to enjoy an evening of live music.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Tonight is the SKS - Straight Key Century Club Sprint-.  I fell into it not knowing why so many stations were on making QSO's.  I had to look it up to see what the exchange was.  I made a couple QSO's. AJ4SB/Rob in TN & WA4GQG/Kevin in NC. The SKCC group has become a huge success.  

My RF travels took me to Wheaton, MN.  I met Ray/NO0V there.  The conditions on the band were poor so the QSO didn't last long.  Wheaton is supported mostly by agriculture.  This geographic location is found where Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota meet.  At Wheaton you can experience the Red River Valley, Continental Divide, and Lake Agassiz.  Wheaton would be a nice place to spend the morning at the Country Corner Cafe and enjoy breakfast at this unique geographical area.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Zulu day has just begun but I got a QSO in early.  I got to discover "The Villages", FL.  I talked to Bob/K3ZGA.  This is the first time I have heard of The Villages.  It is a retirement community that is golf cart accessible.  This community began by Harold Schwartz and tracts were sold via mail order in the 1960's.  It seems golf is a primary focus for recreational activity at The Village.  It looks like a nice place to visit, but as of this writing unless I lived with an older person, not a place I could live in.  Bob was using a IC-7300.  I have heard many operators using IC-7300 radios lately.  They seem to be very solid performers and well liked by their owners.