I woke up at about 3:00 AM and was unable to fall back asleep, for whatever reason. So I decided to quietly head down to the shack to hear what I could hear. At about 0700 UTC, I was able to hear Australia VK2BJ and a ZL1 station down at the bottom of the band. Both were loud enough to make out callsigns; or partial callsigns, and that was about it.
I tried calling the VK2 station a couple of times; but there just wasn't enough oomph in my 5 Watts to make it "Down under". Forever being the optimist, though, I am thinking that if I heard them this well with no sunspots; then in a year or two, they should be easy enough to snare with 5 Watts. We have to come out of this prolonged minimum sometime; and when that time happens there will be a lot of happy QRPers.
I finished my operating session last evening with a nice QSO with Brian KB9BVN. I have known Brian for a few years now through the Flying Pigs and have worked him several times before. We also trade e-mails from time to time; and I consider him a good friend. He had an exceptionally fine signal into NJ last night; and we were able to enjoy somewhat of a rag chew for about 20 minutes or so.
When you hook up with a good friend on the air and are able to have a nice chat - these are the "magic" moments of Ham Radio.
73 de Larry W2LJ