Thankful for propagation…

I reckon the title of my post is sarcastic, considering I spent most of the evening chasing DX and never really heard anything past about 6:30 p.m. tonight. 20 meters seemed to be in bad shape and noise levels on 40 meters were actually better.

Since I arrived home before sundown this evening, I heard some decent signals on 17 meters. Nothing worth chasing though, except a guy out in Barbados and he was fairly low in the background noise. I had a decent shot at a gentleman on 20 meters operating out of Panama, but the band conditions degraded and within minutes of joining the pile-up, I could barely hear him.

I decided to try JT65 and switched rigs. I’ve been away from the radios for so long I almost had trouble remembering the JT65 QSO sequences (Dang… has it been that long?). I made a single contact with N1ILZ in Massachusetts and no one responded to my CQ after that.

8:30 rolls around and the local club repeater crackled to life for the Wednesday evening net. I checked in, so with it being Thanksgiving Eve and all, I gave thanks for ham radio and the local club after my turn for comments came around.

My buddy Ronnie mentioned he was going to hang out on 10 meters a bit after the net, so a few of us dropped down to 28.450 for a quick ragchew. I hadn’t fooled around on that band since the spring, when propagation was booming one Saturday and I made a slew of DX contacts up and down the phone portion of the band.

I heard Ronnie and some of the other guys really clearly — and loudly — despite low-ish meter readings of S3-S5. Someone told me I was +20 over S9  and asked how much power I was running — 100 watts as always. Not terribly surprising, seeing as how we all live in the northeast portion of the county. My receiver was deaf to folks closer to the city though.

Hopefully the bands will open a bit over the next two days, as I’ll have the rest of the week off from work. The Buddistick and some QRP operation in 70-degree weather on the back deck (perhaps with an adult beverage or two), will hit the spot.

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