Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The proud, the few, the difficult

Since becoming an even more die hard QRPer a few years ago, I decided to re-do the Worked All States thing. I originally earned it in 1995 in my 17th year as a Ham. I never really paid much attention to chasing paper.

However, over the past two years; for some reason, the bug has bitten again. This time WAS is to be earned exclusively using CW at QRP power levels. Since I began keeping track, I have succeeded in working 44 states. Number 45 came Monday night, during the ARS Spartan Sprint. I heard and worked KO7X, Alan in Wyoming. That leaves the proud, the few, and the difficult 5 remaining: Hawaii, Alaska, Nevada, Oregon and Montana. The remaining Continental states should come without too much difficulty. I just have to be at the right place at the right time. Alaska and Hawaii are hard enough as it is from New Jersey using QRO. QRP should make it all that more interesting.

Tonight's operating yielded two interesting QSOs. The first was with AD5A, Mike in Boerne, TX. I worked Mike on 20 Meters. Now that we're back in Daylight Savings Time, and summer is coming, 20 Meters has been staying open later into the evening. I called CQ on 14.058 and Mike came back to me with a fine 569-579 signal. He was using a NorCal 20 at 3 Watts. I don't know what kind of antenna he was using; but whatever it was, it sure was doing the job!

The other interesting QSO came later on 40 Meters. I managed to work Alex EW3EW from Belarus on 7.009 MHz. Not the most exotic DX in the world; but not bad for the K2 and 5 Watts - reaching all the way just past the home country of my grandparents - Poland.

The very thought of radio and working DX boggles my mind and is only reinforced each time I visit the New Jersey shore. When you stand on the beach, looking out at all that water you tend to feel so very insignificant. When you think of your radio signal crossing that vastness with less power than it takes to light up your kid's night light ..... well, now that really fills you with a sense of wonder.

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