Monday, November 30, 2015

Getting chilly

This time of year it's typical to feel like you're on a rollercoaster ride in New Jersey. For a few days it will feel like Fall or even late Summer, and then you wake up the next morning and it feels like Winter. And today is a Winter "feels like" day. When I went out to the Jeep at lunchtime, it was only 43F (6C) and there was a slight bit of a breeze to make it feel even cooler. It was sunny, however, so at least it was pleasant to be outside, albeit chilly..

The Buddistick goes together in under a minute and is on the car roof in just a few seconds more, so antenna assembly is not something dreaded, even in the cold weather. Interestingly, how the coax behaves is a good indicator of what the ambient temperature is - a kind of pseudo thermometer. When the coil becomes stubborn and doesn't want to undo itself easily, you know it's below 50F (10C).

I heard PZ5W on 18 Meters again. This was the band where I unsuccessfully tried working them last week. There's just something about a pileup that draws me like a moth to a flame! I don't know what it is, but it's like trying to look away from a train wreck, or trying to eat just one Lays potato chip (remember that TV commercial, fellow oldsters?)  Even though I have them in the log via QRP - that was 20 Meters ..... and there's this pile-up ...... it's like a siren's call.

And this time I was successful! On about my third try, I got in their log book for the second time. This time they were working simplex, which adds to the challenge. You really have to time throwing your call out at just the right moment. Lady Luck was with me today.

There didn't seem to be much else doing on 17 Meters that I was able to hear, so I ventured down to 20 Meters and called CQ near the watering hole. I was treated to a short, but very pleasant QSO with Jim AF5BA in Arkansas. Jim was using his Yaesu FT-817 to and MFJ vertical, which was doing a good job for him. Unfortunately, the outside temperature wasn't the only item on the rollercoaster - QSB seemed to hop on for the ride. Jim was 359 at QSB peaks and about 579 on QSB lulls. What a treat to weary eardrums! But it was fun completing the 2X QRP QSO with Jim. 

Unfortunately, time flies when you're having fun and it was time to tear down and go back inside to work. The next two days are looking rainy, weather-wise, so they may not end up being lunchtime QRP days. But then again, today was "supposed" to be overcast and cloudy ..... so you never know.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

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