The FT-817ND arrived today, just a day after I ordered it, so I wasted no time in getting it wired to my power supply and connecting the OCF dipole. Propagation was SICK Wednesday night on 20 meters, as stations from all over the globe were audible: Russia, eastern Europe, western Europe, the Caribbean, and stations from across North America. It seemed like every time I spun the VFO knob I was hearing some faraway station at S8-S9+
What better time to work some DX QRP right? Well, when it comes to 5 watts, just because you can hear ’em doesn’t mean you can work ’em. Not with my antenna at least. There were stations calling CQ and just hanging out with no takers. I was barking into my mic over and over again. No response. The strongest station of the night, a German club station in Curacao, was LOUD and I couldn’t work it. But to be honest, there were a lot of alligators on frequency getting in my way.
Sure, the 817 isn’t the KX3, but I’m taking a little solace in knowing that my chances wouldn’t have been any better using a KX3. This 817 is a sweet little rig and I can understand why some folks are in love with it. I’m looking forward to really getting in there and tweaking the settings and learning all the various functions. I couldn’t even use the antenna tuner with it tonight because I couldn’t find enough AA batteries in the house to power it. Even so, the SWR meter on the 817 was showing a very low SWR, which is what I’ve come to expect with my dipole.
Once the Buddipole arrives, I’m off to Little Mountain!