Airborne swine

My wife came in the shack tonight and found me cackling as I stared at my log. The FT-817 was the only radio on.

“Why are you only using the little one,” she asked, referring to the tiny 817 sitting atop my big rig. The 847 was looking a bit forlorn with it’s LCD screen dark and the mic placed to the side.

“Because I get a certain masochistic thrill in knowing that I’m only using 2.5 watts to work the world.”

Indeed, I found more success tonight on half power than I typically have on 100 watts SSB. I spent the evening working JT65, and finally dipped my feet into PSK31 beyond simply reading the waterfall.

I began the afternoon with what could have been a decent QSO to Britain on 20 meters PSK, but I screwed up and hit the wrong macro “or something” and lost the station. He could have been obliterated by adjacent splatter also; there were a few guys just blowing up all the bandwidth on the waterfall with distorted signals.

At any rate, a few moments later I scored my first PSK31 QSO with W2WC, and got a 599 report, along with compliments on my signal after I mentioned to him I was only running 2.5W. The QSO was far from perfect, and I had to apologize repeatedly for my lid behavior. Fortunately, W2WC was understanding.

I hopped over to JT65 and managed a single QSO, KC0OUZ (Minnesota), before I broke for dinner.  However, this QSO represented something new for me: It was the result of me calling CQ.

When I returned, I switched down to the less-crowded 40 meter JT65 frequency and parked there to call CQ. The strategy worked, as I returned calls from three stations in a row, K4PJO (Tennessee), ND2K (New Jersey), and AE5UV (Texas).

So two firsts for me tonight: A PSK31 QSO, and a successful CQ QSO.

On an unrelated note, my volunteer examiner credential finally arrived from the ARRL. I feel like the circle is complete!

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