Last Saturday, I made two QSOs (a quiet day, then!) but what interested me was the difference between them. Both highly enjoyable, but of very different natures.
Sitting out in the sun, before breakfast I was listening to my IC-E92ED handheld, monitoring the local 2m repeater, GB3WH and the D-STAR reflector REF005A. Tyler, WX4TX from Knoxville, TN popped up on D-STAR and we had a great chat. Tyler was some distance from his local D-STAR gateway, but was running 50W and a beam antenna pointing at the gateway. The connection was solid, with a few moments of R2-D2 audio as the propagation went up and down. We had a good relaxed chat about the different styles of breakfast in our respective countries – Tyler was planning a Buttermilk and Cornbread breakfast!
A few hours later, I was briefly in the shack, doing some work on the computer – monitoring 70.200. I heard a little SSB a little LF of the calling frequency. It turned out to be a Spanish station operating from the coastal area near Alicante. He was using 10w to a small beam and I was surprised to work him with my small station. Interestingly it sounded like propagation was favouring the Oxfordshire area as he was hearing the GB3RAL beacon at Harwell, me and not much else! Shortly after our QSO he faded out and I’m sure that the propagation moved to favour another area of the country.
Two different types of contact – but both very enjoyable. Diversity is one of amateur radio’s strengths!