So for Mother’s Day, I went home to see my 90+ Mother and Father like a “good son”. They are doing well and have many stories to tell. I guess I do not fall far from the tree, do I?
Saturday morning I could not sleep so I got up at 5:30am and looked out of the window and saw this beautiful sunrise. What better time in the peace and quiet to check out the used Elecraft KX2 that I had bought. I had prepared a go kit of an A123 battery (LiFePO4) that has about 2.5 Amp Hours in it. A KX2 QRP (low power) 10 watt HF rig, an extendable antenna on a small tripod with a ground wire of about 12 feet. A CW (Morse) Key on the front of the rig and the cables to connect it to my Mac laptop running MacLoggerDx software. I had not tried this out just yet and wanted to see if this worked.
The antenna was assembled and placed on the dining room table. The rig was hooked up to the antenna and the power supply (12v battery). The USB cable plugs into the rig and the computer passing the information from the rig to the Mac as well as the audio and the control signals. In the software, I could see the frequency, the signal meter, and the decoded CW message coming over from the KX2 and showing up in a “Keyer” window on the Mac. The keyer window also had Macros that would send perfect CW code to the rig and then sent out the airwaves. This was like having a NEW DIGITAL MODE where the signal was decoded by the radio automatically and the computer would send out your message in perfect code. (Yeah, I’m lousy at understanding the morse code signal and get tied up missing the meaning of the message so I have to use a technology “crutch” like this to get around my brain handicap.) The Mac looks up the call sign on the internet and logs the contact. WOW!
So looking around on 20 meters, not many signals at 7am but people are starting to wake up and get on the air. I suddenly hear a “10 over 9” signal and catch the call sign K1RX. now I am ready, my macros are loaded and I know who I want to talk to. He ends his CW QSO with the previous station and I then send out the call twice. He comes back and we have a short QSO on CW. I am putting out 10 watts CW and he has a big tower with Yagis etc. Obviously he is making the distance with his tall radio tower but he could still hear my little signal “579”. Ooo boy was I pumped! My first CW contact with the KX2 at very low power with a micro sized antenna sitting on the dining room table inside! This is like climbing Mt Everest barefoot! I now understand the thrill of QRP operating. It is not how many contacts you make but the fact that on the most minimal of equipment, at the bottom of the Solar cycle without sunspots and with only 10 watts, I made it up to New Hampshire from Maryland. Thank you Mark K1RX for your patience with a newbie! Thank you Elecraft Radio founders Eric & Wayne for making such a well designed radio by hams for hams.
Oh yeah, my XYL cooked Eggs Benedict with Salmon for breakfast after that. A breakfast of champions right? What a start to Mother’s day. 73 Peter.
(PS: Mom had a great day after that.)