As a Ham who did the "QSO a Day" thing successfully for an entire year, a few years ago; it's frustrating when I'm not able to get on the air for extended periods of time.
That's why last night was such a treat. My wife came home early from work; and after a nice dinner that I prepared for both of us, I was able to get down to the shack to operate for a while. While she was relaxing, going over her e-mail and surfing the Web, I was able to pound some brass on 80 Meters. And boy, did that feel great!
My first CQ resulted in a call from an old friend, Dave W1DV. Dave lives in Upstate New York and had a solid 599 signal into New Jersey. Dave is a fellow SKCC member and we chewed the rag for a bit. I found out that he's out of retirement and back to teaching high school. It's nice when you can go into the logbook and read notes from past QSOs and carry on a nice conversation, rather than just exchange tidbits about rig, antenna, weather, etc.
After wrapping things up with Dave, I heard a loud CQ coming from a few KHz down the band. The caller was K3OXG, who turned out to be Lou from Waynesburg, PA. This was a fun QSO which I really enjoyed. Dave was using a K1 that he had bought used to a homebrew Inverted Vee. His really solid 599 signal was a joy to copy. What made it even better was finding out that he's just recently licensed (2007). He handled the key like a seasoned veteran! He was easy copy and it was heartwarming to see that a relative newcomer had really embraced CW; and was really enjoying it, too. Looking up Lou on QRZ, I see that he's active with the North American QRP CW Club, FISTS and the Straight Key Century Club - three organizations that I hold near and dear.
After the QSO with Lou, I turned the big switch and shut the station down, after being back on the air for about an hour. After all, it was St Valentine's Day and I didn't want to ignore my wife, the love of my life! A Ham is supposed to be balanced ...... right?
73 de Larry W2LJ