Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Went down to the hamshack last night, just cleaning up a bit and "reading the mail," which means idly tuning around for ongoing conversations (in Morse) and eavesdropping. It's a part of the hobby from Day One and helps keep one's code skills sharp.

Found myself at the little Corona Four typewriter, copying about 70% of a fairly rote conversation between a couple of guys zipping along in excess of 20 words a minute. Touch-typing and reading code go together like chocolate and peanut butter and when it's working well, your ears and your fingers seem to be directly connected!

Couldn't leave well enough alone; after they were done, the low end of 40 meters was pretty quiet. I picked a frequency, called CQ and shazam! A VA3-prefix (up Canada way) replied. We chatted a bit before our signals faded away. Ontario's not exactly distant but I was running less power than an old-fashioned desk lamp and his power was even lower: about like talking across the length of a football field by clicking a ballpoint pen.


  1. Very good.... a European and then a Canadian; must have a very good antenna (3 element wire beam pointed NE) ?


  2. I've a couple of QRP rigs that I dust off occasionally. One, a four-band xcvr from Oak Hills Research has a built-in keyer and digi read-out. The other is a 30M monoband xcvr home-brew. Both have a 1 watt output.

    Need to do some maintenance on my vertical. The SWR has gone high and either I've a short in the coax or my radials have been broken by the mower.

  3. Anon: My antenna is a G5RV (or double zepp) slung up over the house, not quite in a straight line, ESE to WNW, from fence to tree to fence to chimney to another tree. Fed with open wire line into an unbalance tuner, which is cheating but it works.

    Varney ran a balanced tuner on his, a Z match, I believe, instead of the usual long hunk of coax most antenna mfrs. suggest.

    Crucis: radials will self-bury if given a little help. I need to put up a vertical for 20m at least, possibly 10, too.

  4. Been enjoying the Es season, I'm hard core vhf and up.
    But every so often I fire up the HB ssb radios I have for 10 or 20 or the revived HW101 or Tempo One and prowl the
    the bands closer to DC. Par EF40/20/10, for QRP or low power and a HF2V for when 75M calls. Gotta bury more radials for the Butternut though.

  5. Sorry I missed your comment back on the second; I have it set so comments on older posts get moderated but it seems I have it set a little too early!

    My thing about VHF and up has long been -- I do that for money. ;)