Got home late from work so I didn't get on the air until about 7PM, just in time for the shortwave broadcast interference. It was a religious station out of Florida I think. So I started calling around and the RBN was showing me in double digits between 10db and 20db on most of the skimmers. It was a little weird but about every 15 minutes the signal rating would drop below 10db and then come back up...the A index was 10 and climbing. (SSN:19 SFI:83 A:10 K:1)
My first one tonight was Mike K5MP down in Florida. We traded SKCC and RST and then the QRN/QRM pretty much swallowed us up. The band was noisy tonight again, and I think I may borrow a SCAF audio filter from Ivin W9ILF to help with the noise. Mike K5MP is a long time SKCC operator and he's very good at it as his SKCC number shows, it's 1537S and that S means he's made hundreds of SKCC contacts. Mike made this cool Cootie Key from a hacksaw blade!
|K5MP - Homebrew Cootie Key|
The more I use my straight key (A Nye Viking Master Key) the more I think I like it. I have an adapter on order so I can plug my Norcal Keyer in and use my paddles...but maybe not.
|Nye Viking Master Key - Straight Key KB9BVN Uses|
The next one I worked was Roger W9BZ from Indiana, he lives about 12 miles from my house! He was plugging away on his Johnson Ranger at 50w tonight, in 29 years of hamming I had never worked an op using a Johnson Ranger...until this week, when I have now worked two of them. I don't know much about them but they sound great on the air. Roger is 79 and has been pounding brass for 64 years. His fist was great copy and I found out we are both in the same radio club, Midstate Amateur Radio Club.
|E.F. Johnson Ranger Transmitter|
Well that's it for tonight. I am going to try and increase my chances by using the VOACAP point to point propagation predictor. Stay tuned!