Fantastic weekend for radio

My QRP operating position on Saturday. (My buddy is in the background retrieving his R/C airplane)

My QRP operating position on Saturday. (My buddy is in the background retrieving his R/C airplane)

Saturday was one of the best days of radio I’ve had since starting my HF journey last year. A buddy and I headed out to a large field near my home where folks often gather to fly model airplanes. My friend planned to fly his, and I intended to operate QRP, backpack portable, with the Buddistick and FT-817.

There was a large, unused pipe sticking up in the middle of the field, so I lashed the Buddistick to it, connected some coax and tuned the antenna for 20 meters. The North American QSO Party (SSB) was in full swing with stations up and down the band, so I figured I’d have an above-average chance to make contacts with 5 watts.

After tuning around a bit I heard Bob, AC1Z, out of New Hampshire. He managed to hear my calls and we made a successful exchange. I spun the dial and caught Mitch, W1SJ, out of Vermont. Wow! That was two new states for me in the span of a few minutes, and both on QRP! I was feeling confident.

I managed to log stations from Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Massachusetts and Iowa (I believe that was a new state for me as well), before I broke down and headed off to run some errands. I could have easily kept working stations, as the battery on the rig was holding up just fine and it was amazing, warm, clear weather to boot.

I returned home a bit later and hopped on the FT-847 and knocked out more than a dozen contacts on 40 meters, including stations from Ohio, Virginia, Georgia, Maryland, Maine, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Ontario and Pennsylvania.

I capped off the weekend Sunday with a quick contact on 17 meters with Carl, PJ4/KP2L, operating from Bonaire.

Looking forward to SPAR Winter Field Day this weekend. I’m planning to build a ladder line dipole I may use instead of the vertical. I ordered some parts from DX Engineering last week to build a nice antenna, including a 4:1 balun so I can connect my ladder line to the antenna tuner with ease.

There’s also a new Heil headset on the way!

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