Colorado’s first week to host the W1AW/Ø portable station in celebration of the ARRL Centennial events has come and gone. This particular week was a busy week for me both at work and in the hobby of amateur radio. In addition to working two shifts operating W1AW/Ø, I also presented the Summits on the Air program presentation to two area amateur radio clubs. Yes…I also managed to keep my streak of at least one QSO a day alive.
As Colorado began hosting the W1AW/Ø portable operations, we also fell right into the middle of a weather pattern which almost like clockwork the heavy storms would roll into the Denver area from the west. These storms produced all your typical spring storm weather scenarios including rain (lots of rain in some areas), hail (enough to bring out the snow plows), thunder bolts and lightning (all very, very frightening) and yes…tornados. Tornados are somewhat rare in the metro Denver area, but this particular week we had sightings just about every day.
My first shift to operate W1AW/Ø was scheduled to begin at 0000z on Friday, (Thursday evening local). The storms rolled through Denver right on cue with tornado sirens and flashing of lightning around the area. Below radar image captured about two hours before my shift would start.
Thankfully the clouds parted just before the start of my shift.
On time, I began calling CQ on 20m. There had been a short gap between operators and our fellow hams were ready to attempt to work Colorado. Quickly I built a small pileup and began operating the strongest stations I could hear. I’m really glad I spent many evenings operating just as my own callsign and sharpening my skills in working small pileups.
If you’ve been listening to the HF bands in the past week or two, you certainly know conditions have been poor with noise levels very high on the bands. Of course the storms which had moved through Colorado certainly were not helping with overall conditions.
My friend Martin, W3MLK was my first contact and he was kind enough to run a few minutes of video/audio and posted on YouTube. Martin’s QTH is in Delaware. Thank you Martin for recording my audio.
Statistically speaking, my Thursday shift was far easier and a lot more enjoyable as band conditions were stronger. I managed 348 QSO’s during my three hour shift compared to only 156 on Sunday morning (1500 – 1800z). While I’m not sure how this compares with other operators, I enjoyed my time operating W1AW/Ø and representing the Centennial State of Colorado in the ARRL Centennial Event. It was a lot of fun!
OK….it’s now time to get back to work. My lunch break is over and this is another busy week in the office.
Until next time…
73 de KDØBIK