Amateur Radio is lot like other areas in life. There highs and there are lows – there are valleys and there are peaks. Often, the journey from one extreme to the other takes places within minutes of each other.
This evening, I was tooling around 10 Meters late. It was after 7:00 PM local time. The sun was already down, but sometimes – just sometimes, this is when the good ones can be heard. Twiddling the dial, I heard a very weak BY5WJ. China! So I turned up the power, as I’ve never worked China and started tapping out my call, Woo hoo! Success! “W2LJ UR 579 TNX LARRY DE JOSH”.
Josh? In China? Me, 579? Can’t be! Then I realized it was 6Y5WJ – not BY5WJ. It was Josh in Jamaica, and we have worked a few times before. Obviously, being in his log, my info popped up and that’s why he answered me by name. After a few minutes, the band changed, and he became “normally loud” for what I would have expected a Jamaican station to sound like in New Jersey. So in a few seconds, I raced around the globe from the exotic Far East to the warm shores of the Caribbean. A bit of a disappointment, to say the least (no offense, Josh!).
At that point I started switching bands. 12 Meters – not much. 15 Meters – W1AW/5 in New Mexico is coming in strong. 17 Meters – not much. 20 Meters – OK, a lot more signals than the other bands (as we all know, 20 Meters is usually open to somewhere). What’s that? VU2what? A few more seconds of listening – it was VU2PHD, Mat in India. Wow! I very rarely ever hear India on the air. Still set at 75 Watts from my failed China QSO, I tapped out my call. Holy crow – I hear “W2?” coming back. I sent out my call a few more times, following up with my suffix twice, “W2LJ W2LJ LJ LJ”. I got a “W2LJ UR 559 QSB. UR CALL AGN?” I immediately sent back “DE W2LJ W2LJ UR 579 579 IN NJ NJ. OP LARRY LARRY”. Or something like that, I’m so exhilarated right now, I can’t even remember the exact exchange. All I know is that this was my first QSO with the Indian sub-continent, and is only about the second or third time I have even heard them on the air! And I’m in his log!
I immediately ran over to my e-mail program to send a quick note to my buddy Bob W3BBO in Erie, PA. Bob is my friend, my DX Guru, and is the only person I actually know who is on the DXCC Honor Roll. To my surprise he had already written me, “Did I hear what I think I heard on 20 Meters?”
I was able to answer in the affirmative and asked him how he happened to be listening. He had worked Mat earlier in the week and was going to make another attempt, as he wasn’t sure that Mat got his call correctly the first time. He had heard Mat come back to me and sent a quick e-mail to confirm. Whatever the reason, one of my best friends was on the scene to hear me work a new one. It just doesn’t get much better than that!
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP – When you care to send the very least!