Adventures with 1.5 watts

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

What a Zulu day!  First I found it amazing that after yesterday's QSO in the final hour at 0141z I heard K0RKH calling and found myself in a very nice QSO in LeClaire, IA.  We talked for 45 minutes.  That was a complete opposite from just an hour earlier when I couldn't get a QSO at all.  Bob was using a Ten Tec Omni VI plus.  He was 599 and he gave me a report of 579.  He couldn't believe how good my QRP signal was.  We talked about the weather, radios, telegraph keys, and where we work. It was a very fun chat. 
LeClaire, IA is a very interesting place.  Bob told me it is in the Mississippi Valley.  There are many things to do there.  You can take a riverboat twilight tour, visit the Mississippi River Distilling company, and tour the Buffalo Bill Museum.  LeClaire is also the home site of the television show "American Picker's". Lastly in early August they have "Tugfest"!  They streak has a rope across the Mississippi River from LeClaire to Port Byron, IL.  Then teams of 20 men and a event of 25 women than tug agains each other.  The team that pulls the most rope wins.  It is followed up with fireworks, live bands, and great food on both sides of the river.  Sign me up for another great road trip!!!

In the early afternoon I had a visitor at the house.  It was W9ODX/Mike.    Mike is working hard at learning CW and has a big interest in QRP.  So we took a look at some of my QRP radios.  This SW+, Elecraft K2, Elecraft KX1, and the MFJ 9040.  We set some up outside  in the back yard.  Mike wanted to see a QSO made with the 9040 and so I did that.  Then came for Mike's turn.  Mike called CQ several times and then a slow station came back.  It was a magic moment.  I remember my first QSO.  The amazement that someone heard you sending.   At first the confidence of calling CQ sets in and then the "OH CRAP" moments hits when you realize you have to copy someone answering you.  It is FANTASTIC!  Mike did a very nice job!!!  We had some things written down as a script.  I used something I made up when I started getting on the air.  It really helps to follow something like that when learning.  Mike got through the QSO successfully and we were both very excited.  I sent him home with the 9040 and I think we have a new CW QRP operator in Indiana.  Congratulations Mike!!!! 

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