One thing leads to another…..

…and another….and another.

My first ever serious outdoor QRP operation yielded two additional firsts, namely first Trans Pacific QRP QSO and first US CW QSO on 12 meters. KZ5OM a.k.a. K6III was the one who made it possible, and my “thank you” QSL card was mailed to him directly. I didn’t know that Jerry is very active within the SKCC or the Straight Key Century Club. So in his e-mail back he suggested me to join the SKCC, get on the sked page and have another QSO with him. Also because I would be very welcome there.

Always being obedient I filled out the form on the SKCC web site and a couple of hours later K9JP mailed me my life long SKCC number: 12107.
skcc-membership-certificateOnly after logging on to the sked page did I understand what Jerry meant by being welcomed. Immediately some ops wanted a QSO with me and I got mail asking for skeds. I hadn’t even hooked up my J37 yet, so on Saturday I did and my first every SKCC QSO was with VK4TJ, another very active SKCC member. On Sunday Jerry was also on line and we had our second QSO, although this time not QRP.

Chatting with others on the sked page is lots of fun and the atmosphere is very relaxed there. For now I am only one of three SKCC members in Taiwan and I know the others aren’t very active, so it’s no surprise I am so popular. The SKCC is also very popular, something I did not know. I became member on March 27, with number 12107. As I write this it is March 31 and already 23 other hams have joined after me, brining the total to 12130 members (minus a handful of SKs). Adding almost 5 members a day is quite impressive for a club dealing with such an old communication system.

The SKCC is about straight keys. I have two: my trusted J37 and a Junker NATO issue key. Never liked the latter because of the clicking sound it makes when you release the handle. It is German quality though, and if I don’t start using it I will probably never start liking it. So off came the banana connectors and on went a 5.25 mm jack. Four years of postponing, but done in 15 minutes. But I do like my various paddles and switching between paddles and a straight key meant switching jacks on the back of my IC-7200. Not convenient at all. So on Sunday afternoon took out the materials I had already prepared a long while back and finally made the switching box I had in mind. A year late, but an hour of drilling, fitting and soldering later I had the job done.

So thank you Jerry, it’s all your fault. Because of our QSO I am now member of the SKCC, had a lot of fun on air, started using my Junker key and finished a project.

Hans "Fong" van den Boogert, BX2ABT, is a regular contributor to and writes from Taiwan. Contact him at [email protected].

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