Busted the pileup!

My lunchtime QRP session stalled for a day.  I went out to the car yesterday, and could not get the KX3 to tune the Buddistick.  If I twisted the coax near the radio connector, it would intermittently tune, but would not stay tuned. A SWR of 25:1 is certainly not desirable.

I brought my magmount into the house when I got home.  With some time to kill before the 20 Meter QRP Foxhunt, I checked out the PL-259 with my VOM, and found an intermittent short between center connection and shield.  So I snipped the cable back a few inches and soldered on a bright and shiny new PL-259.  Viola`!  Problem solved! And this is exactly the reason why, that one of my yearly purchases at some local hamfest is a small bag containing PL-259s. You never know when the need for one will arise.

Today, my results were like night and day.  The Buddistick tuned today with not even a blip of the KX3’s autotuner.  I had 1:1 matches on both 20 and 15 Meters.  20 Meters yielded two nice QSOs, one with John K9DX down in Lakeland, FL and the other with Scotty KG3W in PA.  Scotty and I have worked many, many times before.  A few rag chews but mostly brief QRP Sprint QSOs.  It was good to spend a few minutes with him.

The coup de grace, came on 15 Meters however, after I had finished up with Scotty.  There was an extremely loud PY0F/PP1CZ on 21.023 MHz with quite a pile up chasing him.  He was soooo loud, though, that I knew if I could figure out the split he was using, I stood a good chance.  Trying to figure out the split can be tricky on 15 Meters, though, because you can’t always hear the station the DX is working.  If you’re patient and give it enough time, sooner or later the DX station is going to work someone that you can hear, too.

That was the case today.  I waited long enough until I heard him go back to a European station that I was also able to hear.  I figured out the split and within a few minutes, I had Fernando de Noronha in my log. Worked with 5 Watts to a Buddistick plopped on the roof of my Jeep.  Don’t let ANYONE tell you that QRP doesn’t work!

By the way, did you know that tomorrow is “Respect the QRP Frequencies Day”?  The QRP Respect Committee (an Italian organization) is running a day long QRP QSO Party tomorrow. A non-competetive event on or about the QRP Watering Holes.  Check out their Webpage here.

So spend some time around those frequencies tomorrow if that’s not something you already do.  You just might find more DX than you might otherwise expect!

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP – When you care to send the very least!

Larry Makoski, W2LJ, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New Jersey, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

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