Last night, I had the good fortune to work Ray Beliveau K1EJA who lives in Biddeford, Maine. One of the reasons the QSO was so enjoyable was the great signal that Ray had into New Jersey. Ray was between 589 and 599 depending on the QSB. What is absolutely amazing is that Ray's antenna is a dipole that's only 10 feet up! In addition to that, Ray had turned down his Kenwood TS-570 to 25 Watts out for the the night, to insure that there would be no RFI complaints from any of his neighbors.
So all of you folks out there with difficult antenna situations, take heart! 25 Watts out to a dipole practically on the ground; and Ray had a walloping signal into NJ. Just goes to show you that the old adage, "A compromise antenna is better than no antenna" is truer than true. Get whatever wire you can, up as high as you can. Be patient and you'll get out! No reason that you can't enjoy Amateur Radio even if you're stuck using attic antennas.
Then to make an otherwise nice evening even better; I got an e-mail from Ray a few minutes after our QSO. It was just a follow-up as the band changed and we both disappeared into the dust. In his e-mail, Ray mentioned how my fist was easy to copy. I was using my Bug !!!!!
I guess I'm getting halfway decent using a speed key; and not making people's ears bleed anymore! As a side note, I am finding myself using the Bug more and more. I use it pretty exclusively in ragchews and conversational CW now. About the only time I resort to the paddles and keyer are for the ARS and Flying Pig and QRP-ARCI Sprints. For the NAQCC Sprints, I still use a straight key.
73 de Larry W2LJ