Half a watt of fun

I apologize to anyone (all two of you) reading, if I go on and on about random elementary Morse code stuff that most hams already know. But I’ve recently discovered the Reverse Beacon Network, and man, this site is fun and useful too.

I’ve known of RBN for a while, but I’ve typically used PSKReporter in the past to see where my digital mode signals are being heard. I recently read a report from a SOTA mountain-topper who mentioned he would check RBN to see who was hearing his code.

Last night I hooked up the 817 to the paddles and tossed out a CQ on 40 meter CW. Within a minute, I’d been spotted by a dozen stations from the northeast to the west coast. That was running at 5 watts.

Tonight, I was feeling froggy and decided to call CQ again, but this time I lowered the rig’s power to  half a watt. In a matter of seconds, stations as far west as Ohio and as far north as Pennsylvania had spotted me, and the signal reports were not bad either.

My main take-away from tonight is this: CW is frickin’ awesome; a little power goes a long way. Sure, I knew that already, but it’s nice to see it in action.

This has me thinking about the little Splinter kit radio. It has about a half watt output. That’s plenty of power for a CW newbie like me. I look forward to using it once I get a more permanent solution in place for connecting my antenna.

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