Getting my kicks on Route 66

I’ve been incredibly slack on the radio lately. It took me a while to recover from Dragon*Con, and with my teaching schedule cranking up, in addition to normal duties at work, it’s been hard to make time to get on the radio, aside from checking into the local net.

I had some free time tonight, so I decided to turn the rig on and work some SSB phone. I scanned the cluster and noticed many of these W6 stations. Ah yes, the Route 66 special event! I recall hearing about it on a ham radio podcast a week or so ago.

The first station I attempted to work was W6A out of Santa Monica. It was a popular one and I never managed to break through the pile-up. Plus, his signal was wavering a bit, so I doubt I was coming in very loud on his end. The next three stations were all fairly easy grabs: W6E out of Barstow, W6J and  W6K, both out of Oklahoma. All three had booming signals on 20 meters. I tried my luck on 40 meters, and caught W6K again, just as he QSYed and started calling CQ. Didn’t throw my call out though.

20 meters started crapping out around 10:30 p.m., so I switched to digital modes for some weak signal work. No luck there either, mainly because some very loud stations were blanking the frequency. I must get some filters one day.

All in all, a decent evening on the radio. It was nice to get back on phone, as I’ve mainly been antisocial lurking around on JT65. Anyway, I needed to key up the mic and get some practice before Saturday, when I hope to participate in the South Carolina QSO Party. I admit I’m nervous, as I’ve never tried to juggle any sort of phone contest. Maybe I should setup my PSK macros and hide behind my monitor and audio interface!

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