Judy and I went to Hawaii for 10 days for our daughter’s wedding. The wedding was fantastic… and there was even a little ham radio. I brought the HB-1B and worked PA, Mexico, AR and AZ. Conditions were pretty awful… but the view was the best!
The HB-1B was powered by 8 AA cells. I used the little QRP Par End Fed trail model antenna. 40 meters was just noise every time I tried. 20 meters was only barely better. I set up a few times at our daughter’s house in the hills. I only made one QSO… with N3RS, Ron in Pennsylvania. He was booming in, but he could just copy my callsign and RST. He gave me a 349. I was discouraged.
For the wedding we moved down to a cottage on Kepuhi Beach on the west end of the island. I only operated once because of the busy schedule. I made more QSOs from the beach, but still didn’t get any good signal reports. I strung the End Fed to a near by sea grape tree (I think) and ran it as a sloper from the porch of the cottage. Myna birds called out from the branches and the waves and wind provided plenty of background noise.
From here I worked Mexico, Arkansas and Arizona. Here’s my log:
16 May-16 0234 14.005 XE2MVY CW 559 599 Mexico
16 May-16 0243 14.060 K5EDM CW 229 579 AR Greg
16 May-16 0303 14.024 K7HP CW 449 599 AZ Hank
After the QSO with Greg K5EDM, I sent him an email to let him know I was in Hawaii. He sent back that he’d never worked Hawaii before. “Your signal was right in my noise. I copied your call sign but only because you sent it several times. ” He was running 25 watts with a dipole at 35 feet.
Operating from Hawaii with QRP is really challenging. It’s thousands of miles to the nearest land mass, and the propagation is often fickle. The timing and conditions have to be just right. I had the best luck late in the afternoon Hawaii time.
While I was there I worked the EARCHI net (on Oahu) on VHF with a handie talkie. From the west end, I could see Oahu rising above the water in the distance. So it was fun to work them on 2 meters. I told them I use the 9:1 unun all the time from home and thanked them for that successful project.