Friday, March 23, 2018

We made it!  It is spring!!  This is the beginning of a new Zulu day.  Friday.  This weekend is supposed to be full of snow and cold weather.  The ground hog was right for a change.  I used to go backpacking every first weekend of spring.  This weekend it seems I will just be looking out the window yet again and looking for a friendly QSO if possible.
On a brighter note, I opened the mail box today and found the reply QSL card I was hoping for from Australia!  That is my first Australian card and puts another QRP DX entity on   the map.  This QSO was on 30 meters using my Elecraft K2 at 5 watts.  It is a great card with such encouraging words on the back.  
Because of spring I am itching to operate outdoors again.  With that comes the thought of UIKEYINPUTDOWNARROWwhat is the best backpack radio?  There is a lot of things to consider when thinking of the radio that might be right for your situation.  When hauling a radio for a day or multiple days weight radio size and battery life creep up on the list.  My friends Gary NE1PP and Mike KQ9RP joined me last weekend and we measured the amperage use of my QRP radios just in receive mode.  The SW+40 made the top of the power sipping list at 30ma.  Next was my MFJ cub at 40ma and the MFJ 9040 measuring at 70ma.  The Elecraft K2 in battery mode consumes 190ma while receiving.  This was a lot of fun and helped confirm just how nice the single band CW radios are for the trail.  I know the mountain topper or Elecraft KX1 are right in line with the cub and SW+ and are even smaller but for now I plan to keep using what I have.  
Tonight I turned on the SW+ and tuned around.  The daily QSO came from Trenton, TX Joe K3PR.  Joe was calling CQ and I wanted to answer but another station started calling on top of him.  I wanted to reward Joe’s effort however so I called specifically for him and BINGO!  Joe answered me.  He surprised me by telling me he was QRP with his FT817.  It is always exciting to hear another QRPer.  We chatted a few rounds but the QRM was getting stronger and I think the band was also lessening toward our favor.  I lost Joe before giving him a proper good buy but I sure appreciate the QSO from TX with the SW+.