First QSOs in the Coronavirus Ham Challenge

After getting a very simple ham station built, I was back on the air to spend sometime on the radio during the Coronavirus life shutdown.  I mentioned in my previous post that I’d been active on the radio for years, so far I’d always come back but this had been my longest absence.  I am not sure if this new rapprochement with the hobby that I once loved would be a period of rebirth of my interest or just a farewell tour.

Previously, I looked back at all that time I spent on the radio as wasted time. But I’m not sure that was totally true.  On one hand, I hadn’t made any lifelong relationships that stood the test of time.  That was on me, I had come close but didn’t put the effort in and/or ruined them. But I had still met a lot of interesting and did some things that were quite interesting (one lasting memory is of running pile-ups as N1SNB/CYO and watching the travesty of the Tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, 2011).

But back to today – –

I used the Reverse Beacon Network to confirm that my signal was getting out there.  I got spotted on 40m in Hungary, the Czech Republic, France, Austria and Germany.  Good sign – even though the signals were weak I was happy to see some distance with such an inferior antenna (63′ Long Wire at an average height of about 15’0.  On 30m, I showed up in Uruguay and in Germany.  On 20m, I was making it all the way across the pond.  Only a skimmer in Iceland was hearing me.

I made a few quick contacts.  OM8CW was very loud 40m CW and we connected at 2230.  I had a nice, but brief, QSO with Ayman, N9SES on 30m CW. Not long after, I connected with LZ5DB on 40m SSB.  Transatlantic contacts on 40m SSB always give me a sense of accomplishment.

It was a good start.  I was going to back on the air around 0000z for the WPX SSB contest.  SSB contests in a no sunspot situation with just 100w and a weak wire antenna are not fun.  As a small station, you’re really just making it more fun for other people.  But, who knows, maybe I’d have some fun too.

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