Inspired by the QSO365 Challenge I learned about on a Practical Amateur Radio Podcast in December, I began the New Year making a qso a day everyday I was in town (I had to relax the strict rule a little as I travel a bit on business and do not yet have a good, reliable portable radio setup) and managed it 103 days (minus travel days as discussed), but today I was busted.
I was returning from out of town and at first I didn’t think I’d even get back to the shack by 8pm EDT (2400Z) in time to even attempt a qso for April 12, but I did arrive abt 7:20pm. After unloading, I was on the air by 7:35, in plenty of time, I thought. But, Murphy conspired against me and I couldn’t hit anyone. Tried a couple of Titanic commemorative stations (this wk is the 100th anniversary) but too much QRM and competition from stronger stations. Finally, I heard K9KU calling CQ on 40m CW with a strong signal abt 7:58pm. I answered him twice but he didn’t come back! 😦 At 8:01 I heard W8VLN a KHz up and answered him but to be honest with myself, it was after midnight UTC so it was the next day.
However, my reward was one of the best CW qso’s I’ve had in quite a while. Larry, who lives west of Dayton, has been a ham for 57 years and been to Dayton 55 years! However, he said he may not go this year. He was very nice about QRS for me, which I needed as my CW is just plain lame right now. We went on and talked about Dayton; he told me they had like 44,000 attendees 15 yrs ago but in recent yrs has been more like 18,000. I went last yr for the first time (and will go agn this yr), and I thought it was plenty crowded at 18,000! He told me (I think; my copy is ragged) they have 1,000 dealers this yr and 3,500 spaces outside. Not sure if I copied that rt, tho.
As I received 599 from him, I lowered pwr to 50w and still got 599. Lowered it agn to 25w and got 579. Interesting thing to try in mid-qso. I raised it back to 50w for remainder of qso, just for his ease of copy.
QSO356: will I go back to it or not? It has been both a liberation and a burden. A liberation as it has made me get on the air with diligence, and as a result, I have learned a lot more abt the many buttons and features on my rig. A burden in that sometimes I am tired and returning fm an evening event at 10 or later in the evening and still feel the need to make that qso. Often, just to make that qso for the log, I have found a DX station and done a quick 599 TU and got it over in a matter of seconds, which frankly is not that satisfying to me.
I think I’ll go back to attempting a qso a day but not be obsessive about it, and stress quality qso’s, like tonight’s, over just getting one in the log.