I got up this morning for my daily walk – well, actually, I don’t do a daily walk, anymore. Saturday and Sunday, I get up early and go for a walk. Monday through Friday, I spend a half hour on my elliptical machine in the basement – but I digress.
I woke up this morning to the beginnings of a beautiful day! Yesterday was positively tropical, hot and humid, with the threat of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes all day. One minute it would be sunny, the next it was dark and threatening. While other areas in the North East were not so lucky, I praise God, that in South Plainfield, all we got was some really heavy rain from about 5:00 to 6:00 PM yesterday evening. After that, the temperatures dropped, dry air moved in and you can honestly say that today is one of the “Ten Best of the Year”.
Weather issues aside, the object of this post is to relate that I did something yesterday that I have not done in a very long time – about 9 years to be exact.
I made a contact using SSB.
Yes, I know – totally out of character; but I did it and surprised myself in the process. After mowing the lawn yesterday, I had a little bit of down time, so I went down to the shack to spend a little bit of quality time behind the rig. Alas, 12 Meters, 15 Meters and 17 Meters were a vast wasteland. 20 Meters was not bad; but had very little activity in the CW portion of the band. So I decided to switch the K3 over to USB, and went “up” the bad to see if perhaps there were any special event stations doing their thing.
Didn’t hear any of those, either. But I was hearing a lot of loud European stations working the WAE contest. So I thought to myself, “I wonder if one might hear me …….. hmmmmm”. I twiddled the dial looking for a particularly loud one – there were a good number of them. Then I heard a call sign that sounded interesting – 3Z2X. AC log informed me that it was Poland. All the better, the country that my ancestors came from!
Using my noodle, I pumped the K3 up to 10 Watts – still QRP by definition (I may be a little crazy; but I’m not insane – SSB and QRO? No way!). Then, I picked up that funny looking little box that you speak into – I think it’s called a microphone and pressed the button thingy on the side. Announced my call sign and actually heard him call me back! I gave the contest exchange, got his and then sat there kind of amazed. 10 Watts via SSB all the way to Poland – and he heard me! We spoke to each other, exchanged information and said good-bye. It worked. I was amazed.
I made a few more and it was fun but it wasn’t enough to convert me from being a dyed-in-the-wool CW op. But it did hold out hope for me that, in the future, I may be able to work Special Event stations that choose not to have CW as one of the modes that they employ. It also encouraged me to maybe dip a toe into the pool when the QRP-ARCI holds their annual QRP SSB Sprint. I never participated in one of those before. This year just might be different.
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP – When you care to send the very least!