So last night, I honestly was trying to build a J-Pole, I even got new razors for cutting insulation off twinlead, but alas, it was not to be, several things worked together for the greater good. I needed the J-Pole so that I can check into the ARES net tonite from work, my lil' rubberduck just ain't got the ERP* necessary to facilitate communication. I don't have a J-Pole, but I do have a new logged contact in the log book! Let me tell you what happened.
It's summertime, and you know what that means, summertime thunderstorms that shatter all hopes of reasonable HF propagation below 10MHz. Well, not exactly, not all the time. When I turned on The Killer Watt Radio**, the band was noisy, but not nearly as noisy as it's been the last few nights. I also didn't hear a lot of activity. That's not entirely unexpected, I mean, it's one in the morning local time on a weekday. Plus, the Space Weather Guessers were talking about some solar flares, and geomagnetic storms. Things looked like a total downer.
Then I heard a loud clear CQ, it was David, WD8CW in Huntington, WV. His sig was strong, but there was some QSB, I decided to call him back and we had a reasonable QSO given the conditions. After we signed, I spun the dial again, there was some digital activity, but no one was calling CQ at that point in time. I looked at the clock, and found out it was after 2am. time for bed! so no atenna, but I did get a 359 from WV with a 1 watt transmission feeding a dipole during a time of crummy conditions.
That, my friends, is why I love ham radio, crazy is perfectly acceptable here.
* ERP = Effective Radiated Power
** "The Killer Watt Radio" is a Small Wonders Labs SW-40+. It transmits 1 watt of blazing power, but it's one killer watt!