Rewind back. The year is 1996. I was a sophmore in high school. The radio was a Yaesu FT-101ee. It put out a 100w and in retrospect I really loved the radio. My mother had given me $200 the year before to be able to purchase it (although in a kick myself moment, I threw it in a dorm room dumpster after my senior year in college after buying a Yaesu FT1000).
My antenna was a homemade vertical that worked on 3 bands (40-20-15). I’ll need to look it up again someday in the ARRL handbook, it was base fed with 75 ohm cable that I had bought at Radio Shack (it was all I could afford) with a modest radial network underneath it. Picture a backyard about 30 feet wide and 60 feet long with one tree.
Anyways, I’d come home from school and fire up the FT-101ee. I only had a general license then so I lurked around 7025-7035. I can now admit I would chase DX below 7025 but never CQ there.
I’d start CQing. And usually right away, I’d get callers and many were in Eastern Europe. My favorites were the OKs, YOs, LZ, that wild signals chirping, sparking and drifting their way out of the Eastern Bloc.
I miss those home-brew signals now, I rarely hear them now.