Difficult Band Conditions

After several tries, I managed to work VP5/W5CW in the Turk and Caicos Islands last night. We’ve worked before; but last night the conditions were so poor that I worried if I would be able to continue my string of daily DX contacts.

The weather in the Caribbean, Southern Florida, and upward along the Eastern coast is horrible this week. True, the propagation is dismal, which might explain why I hear very few stations on the air, but I can’t help but think that most hams in these areas have unplugged their stations and unhooked their antennas because of the accompanying thunderstorms, high winds, and storm surges.

I worked another Oklahoma station last night (W5WIL) which was just a few miles from where that tremendously destructive tornado rumbled through last week. Within a weeks time, there’s been two tornadoes touch down in this area with 300 mph winds. (482 kph) I don’t know what word to use to describe that other than “devastating”.  Fortunately, they touched down in empty fields this time.

We were on the 40 meter QRP frequency (7040) and had the possibility of a nice QSO; but were interrupted by a careless operator who decided “his” frequency was a good place to  “tune up”. It was an inexcusable and  thoughtless action by a “four” station, who obviously “didn’t give a hoot who was on the frequency”. I continue to find this behavior a “big”  problem on this band and sadly find myself avoiding it out of frustration.

I imagine the thousands of “rock bound QRP kit builders” experience the same frustration. They don’t have the option of “moving somewhere else”.  In essence, their “kits” have become nothing more that paperweights and conversation items.

I don’t know what the answer is to this continuing problem since “common courtesy” doesn’t seem to be in their vocabulary.

John Smithson, Jr., N8ZYA, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from West Virginia, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

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