Whoa! SSB DX from the Pemigewasset

This afternoon I rode my bicycle along the Pemigewasset River. Today I brought a microphone along! I worked Italy, Svalbard Island and Estonia using five watts and SSB. This was a first for me.


Judy and I rode down to the old bridge to Hill. It’s right near the spot where Knox Brook flows into the Pemi. We stopped in a small grassy spot, and I set up the KX3 under an oak tree.


I tossed a 33 foot wire over the branch and sat directly under it, so the wire was vertical. I started out on 17M CW. Right away I worked S50R in Slovenia. Leo gave me a 599 and I gave him the same. When I told him I was QRP, he sent, “FB FOR UR 5W NICE.” Next I worked the Canary Islands. EC8AFM gave me a 559. He was a solid 599. Then I switched to SSB.


Right away I heard ES3AX in Estonia calling CQ. August gave me a 58. He was 59. I remembered his call and mentioned that we had worked before on CW. He also remembered. What a thrill. Tuning up a bit I heard Flavio
IZ1JLG calling CQ from Italy. He gave me a 55 and we chatted for a moment. Then I worked JW9JKA in Svalbard Island, Arctic Norway. Svein was on a DXpedition to Bear Island EU-027 and had a rough time getting my call but we completed the exchange and he gave me a 52. I didn’t realize this was a rare catch until I received an email from Dave W0CH who suggested I check closer…. Not just Norway, but Svalbard.

Next was another Italian station. IK6SNR, Lucio gave me a 59. When I told him I was QRP, he said that copy was easy and audio was excellent. I was really excited and equally surprised that I could make contacts so easily using 5W on voice.

I went back to CW to calm down a bit… Pavel OK4RQ gave me a 599 and when I told him I was QRP, he sent, “FB UR QRP S-9.” What more could I ask for? I packed up and headed back downstream toward the car. On the way, I rode alongside a beaver! The swimmer was so long, I thought it was an otter. But when it caught a glimpse of me, there was a loud splash of his tail as he dove beneath the water. As the sun started falling behind the trees, I stopped and took another snapshot of the river.


Jim Cluett, W1PID, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New Hampshire, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

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