I did go out to the Jeep during lunch today, and no, the bands were NOT dead. But before I go there, I must digress.
I was involved in a 2X QRP QSO on 14.060 MHz with Tom, KC9RXI in WI. He was about a 449 to me; and I'm sure I was no better to him, but we were having a QSO. I'm sure at times, that to people who may have been listening to the frequency, that it sounded like it was dead.
All of a sudden, out of the blue, another QRPer started calling CQ/QRP on frequency! The call will be omitted to prevent embarrassment (but it is forever burned into my brain). Not so much as a single, solitary "QRL?"
Yes, I am sure that both Tom and I were weak, but we WERE in the middle of a QSO. Coming on to a frequency, plopping yourself down and commencing to call CQ without asking is just - arrgh! And to top it off, the CQer was calling CQ DE WXXXX/QRP !!!! I'm sorry, but QRPers, above all Amateur Radio ops, should know better. No excuse - period. If he had sent "QRL?" waited for a bit AND THEN had started calling CQ on top of us, I may still have been annoyed, but I would have thought to myself, "Well, he just didn't hear us."
Unfortunately, while Tom was trying to talk to me, I had to transmit "QRL. PSE QSY". He immediately QSYed (so he was able to hear me!), but at that point I had lost what Tom was trying to say. Shortly after that the QSB went off the Richter scale and the QSO came to a premature end. The "meat" that I could have copied was drowned out forever by needless QRM.
A bit after that debacle, I went to 12 Meters and tuned around for a bit. I heard 7QAA in Malawi quite loudly. He was loud enough to work - even QRP. I don't think I broke the pile up, as again there was a lot of QSB. If I had more time (lunch hour was running out) I'm pretty darn certain I would have worked him. This time I had the patience - I ran out of minutes.
So , even with the G4 geomagnetic disturbance, Malawi was coming in the best I've heard them so far. Go figure. Luckily, the station will be on the air until early April and I'm taking a vacation day on Friday. I just may make it into their logbook yet!
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!