QRV again

It was almost a year away from ham radio due to work commitments but today I finally managed to take a day off and enjoy some QRP mobile work while driving to Kennedy Space Centre to see ULA launch to ISS. And what a day it was!

On the way to Cape Canaveral, while driving on I95 and checking APRS.fi, I noticed John K2ZA driving a few miles behind me. When he got closer, I called him on 146.520 and he responded instantly. Then, W4UDP also joined the chat from his QTH and we had a great small group until we drove too far away from him. Thank you for your great company, gentlemen!

Then, on the way back from Cape Canaveral, I put my trusty MFJ-1620 7′ long fibreglass 20m hamstick whip on the roof and Yaesu FT-817ND on the passenger seat, and started calling CQ using 5 watts.

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Except later I discovered that it was actually 2.5 watts (!) but nevertheless that was sufficient to complete a short QSO with Virgil N9TMU in Illinois who were about 1,000 miles away as I was driving just south of Vero Beach, FL on I95 which made it almost 2,500 miles per watt!

Then I realized that my power output was set to 2.5 watts only… Switched it to proper 5W and started calling CQ on 14.061:

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Much better! Doubling the power helped and the RST reports I received have improved.

More great Qs followed: two on CW – K3SEW, VE3EYI, and two nice Qs on SSB: Christian FG5DHF in Guadeloupe (1380 miles), and Christopher W8/SP4RF (?) in Michigan.

Thank you all for your patience. It is fascinating how far a little power and great operator’s skills can go when operating QRP.

I hope, I wrote down the callsigns correctly – it was challenging to make notes while driving and keeping eyes on the road!! All Qs are now in QRZ.COM logbook.

Very 73’s!
DE Paul WA4PAW / M / QRP