Hello all. Have you read all those wonderful quality articles I wrote for AmateurRadio.com lately? I guess not, because they are all still in my head and you will probably never be able to read them. Utter lack of energy due to the new teaching schedule was the main culprit. By the time work was done, the kids and the house taken care of, I was usually too tired to even switch on the rig, let alone write something worthwhile reading. Not that I totally abandoned radio, but have you ever tried a Morse code QSO when you are tired? It doesn’t work, believe me. I guess we’ve all been there, or will be (again).
My father’s passing away also added some stress and despair, but I know it a phase and that this will pass in time. May 16th would have been his birthday and after I phoned my mother I went to my shack (a.k.a. office, work shop and storage room) and out of habit switched on my TS-440S. Only J-stations in CW, so I went to the RTTY hang-out on 15 meters. That turned out to be a good choice: first of all I am an ex-army telex operator, so RTTY always makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Secondly I saw XV2W on the waterfall. He is a rag chew buddy who visits his family in Vietnam every year and I only caught him once up till now. So I called him and we did have a very nice QSO as usual, even though our signal path wasn’t the best.
After talking to my wife on the phone (away on business, again) and putting the kids to bed I returned to the radio, which was still tuned to 15 meters around 21.084 kHz. There were quite a few RTTY signals around which is unusual, because RTTY is not so popular here in East Asia. When I checked one of the signals out I found it to be a ham from the eastern parts of the States. Propagation wise that is weird, because 15 meters in early evening is usually for local Asian or European contacts. But I wasn’t complaining because the eastern USA is usually hard to work, especially with strong and decent signals. For a change I started calling CQ and within an hour I had worked stations from Mississippi, Georgia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas all with good signals. Feels good to do RTTY again and work some real DX. I wonder if it was some sort of ionospheric duct, because after the last US station faded out I heard the usual bunch of Ukrainian and Russian stations coming up. Very interesting.
Yesterday I also took delivery of the Hi-Per-Mite CW filter. It looks very good, especially the PCB: quality stuff. I think I can get it assembled this weekend as it doesn’t look too complicated. The one thing I am still contemplating is whether or not to change the centre frequency of the bandpass from 700 to 800 Hz in order to better match my Kenwood rigs.