2012 started out on a good note, with Straight Key Night being a total blast!
Right off the bat, you know the year will be a good one as far as QRP matters go, when your first QSO for the New Year is with Jim W1PID. When you start off the year working one of QRP's best, how can things go bad?
I had a great QSO with Grant AA9LC who was using a homebrewed TAK-40 that he built after seeing the article in an issue of QST. Grant was running 40 Watts to an Inverted Vee and his rig sounded so sweet! The fact that he was using a WWII vintage British Mark III Straight Key was like icing on the cake.
On New Year's Eve, I also had the pleasure of working K3Y/8, Dave in West Virginia. K3Y is the Special Event station held every January to commemorate the founding of the SKCC, Straight Key Century Club. You will find them active in each USA call district; so if you hear them, give them a shout.
Today, during New Year's day, I had several more nice QSOs including one with FM/F6AUS who is currently in Martinique. This QSO was on 12 Meters, so the higher bands were open during the afternoon. A little later in the day, I had a delightful rag chew with Ron W3GIS who lives in Maryland. Ron is retired from the Federal Government; but still lives in the DC suburbs. Our chat was on 40 Meters and was really nice. As I've said so many times, there's nothing like a great rag chew.
Later this evening, I was calling CQ on 40 Meters and was answered by Ken WA8REI. Ken was loud into NJ tonight. But just to show how volatile the bands can be, Ken went from a loud 589 to a mere ESP 229 in the span of less than 10 minutes. That's almost the blink of an eye, and Ken was using 50 Watts to my 5 Watts. So in turn, I went from 559 to NIL in the same amount of time. I sure hope Ken was able to copy my final "73 ES HNY".
But all in all, it was a relaxing day behind the radio; and in honor of SKN, all my QSOs were made using my Vibroplex Original bug that I restored a few years ago. Even though I haven't practiced with it all that much lately, I fell into a good rhythm with it and it was a nice change of pace from the keyer and paddles. I will try to use it a lot this year.
Rich WB9LPU's, BugNapper makes it a joy to use, even at such "slow speeds" (for a bug) like 20 WPM.
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!