I was tuning around on 20 meters Monday night and came across a nice signal from VP8LP out of the Falkland Islands off the coast of South America. Having never worked this rare DX, and eager to add a new entity to my log, I started throwing my call into the pile-up. Propagation seemed strong, and I felt like my chances of making a contact would be good, albeit challenging with the pile-up and changing band conditions.
In the next room my wife was running an electric carpet cleaner. All the doors were closed, so the roaring noise didn’t bother me.
I tossed my call into the mix and got a response: “The KK4 … sierra delta station?” Close enough — I called again. He came back to me again, one letter off my call. I was just about to repeat my call when my wife cranked up the floor cleaner again. An angry buzzing sound erupted from my speaker as I heard the DX station repeating my call. The buzzing continued, apparently electrical interference from the carpet cleaner. It was like a power line hum, but louder and harsher. I tried to respond to the Falkland station, but all I could hear was that electrical hum.
I sighed. Went to speak to my wife. She agreed to turn it off for a few minutes. When I came back to the radio, the DX station was shutting down — somewhat ironically, because he was concerned he was transmitting on top of another DX station on the frequency. I tuned around but never discovered where he QSYed to.
Last night I was tuning around 40 meters and came across a very loud, very clear and distinct familiar voice. Even before I heard his call, I recognized Bob Heil, K9EID. I don’t have a Heil mic but he obviously builds nice gear because he sounded amazing. I’m sold.
Naturally, being a celebrity of sorts (after all, he is the host of Ham Nation…), he had a nice pile-up going. Randoms hams asking him technical questions about audio and their how to set their rigs up. It was like an on-air help desk.