Saturday, February 24, 2018

Good Day for CW

What a rainy day, we've been getting drenched now for two solid days.  Mud everywhere, temps run from the 30's to the 50's every day...the BUG has been getting passed around at work and at home.  Welcome to Indiana in the late winter. 

So I was sitting at home working on some projects for work, and noticing my station had been neglected all month.  So I decided to take a quick break and see if anything was hopping on 40m before the big RTTY Party got started. 

I tuned to 7053 and called CQ a few times and heard nothing, so I started calling CQ SKCC and that must have been the right bait.   I managed three QSOs in a row on that frequency and it was good to work the straight key.

First up was Jeff KC3HWU out in Maryland.  I was his first QSO with his new straight key and his fist was great.  We had some QSB to overcome but it was manageable.  Jeff is a frequent NTS operator and has quite a collection of ham gear, including a end fed wire up 30 feet and a pile of Kenwood rigs.  I enjoyed the QSO and we traded SKCC numbers.  Thanks Jeff.

Next up was Mark AA4AX down in Pauline, South Carolina. .Mark has a fairly new SKCC number and his fist was great.  He was running about 100 watts and was a solid 599 here near Indianapolis. He's using an Icom 7600 and an OCF antenna to make the trip.  He had my K2 at 5 watts as a booming 579, so I was happy to hear that!  According to Wikipedia, the most exctiing thing about Pauline SC is they have a Redbox movie rental machine, and their own Post Office. 

Fun Fact: When they built the post office in 1890, the town was named Stribling....but there was already a Stribling post offic in South they changed the name of the town to Pauline...who was Pauline?  She was the Postmasters eldest daughter! 

Thanks for the QSO Mark! 

1955 Speed-X Straight Key
My last one of the afternoon was Carroll W4PCA down in Maryville TN.  Carroll was also an SKCC contact and we traded numbers.  He's been in SKCC a long time with 1590T as his SKCC digits...he's been a ham since 1955 when he was first licensed at age 17. he has a Speed-X Straight Key that he has been using since 1955 and his fist is smooth copy. 

Maryville is in Blount County, located in the Great Smoky Mountains. The family of Sam Houston moved to Maryville from Virginia in 1808, when Houston was 15. His older brothers put him to work as a clerk in a store they established in town, but he ran away. Houston lived for a few years with the Cherokee at Hiwassee Island, on the Hiwassee River, where he became fluent in their language and appreciative of their culture. 

After his return to Maryville about 1811, Houston started a one-room schoolhouse. He signed up for the army during the War of 1812 and rose rapidly in rank, beginning his military and political career. The schoolhouse still stands just off US-411 near the community of Wildwood.  Sam later went on to become the governor of Tennesee, and then the first governor of Texas where he  fought against Santa Anna of Mexico.

Sam Houston Schoolhouse in Maryville TN

Thanks for all the QSO's today! 


Saturday, February 3, 2018

It's been a while...

Seems like a month or two has gone by since I got to spend much time on the air.  The band conditions have been challenging to say the least.  Today I was able to get on the air for a bit and managed to work Bill Etter AG4EA down in Pelzer SC.  We traded 599's when we got started on the QSO but the QSB increased rapidly and we had to call it quits after about 10 minutes or so.  To show how small this world is getting, Bill mentioned that he knew a friend of mine, Ivin W9ILF (Now N9IVI), and we had also worked each before, a couple years ago.  How cool is it to just be QSOing on 40m and run into another ham that knows your friends.  We could have talked longer but the conditions were heading south fast. 

Bill was running 50w on this Ten Tec Corsair into a G5RV, I was pushing 10w out of my K2 into the infamous attic dipole.  Things were going great, until they weren't. 

KE1LA Joel at FDIM 2002
This week I learned of the passing of an old QRP friend, Joel Denison KE1LA.  Joel lived up in Strong Maine with his wife Grace and had been battling pancreatic cancer for about a year.   He was a "Po' ole displaced Cajun lad" originally from Louisiana and was a frequent contributor to the club newsletter "The Bacon Bits" and to the QRP ARCI "QRP Quarterly".  

His signature was well known, "Up here in Maine - freezin" and his wit will certainly be missed.   In 2002 Mike WB8ICN and I picked "Doc" Joel up at the Dayton airport and took him to Four Days In May.  They still talk about that FDIM to this day.   

Joel loved to play with wire antennas, and was somewhat known for his wire beams in the trees up there, aimed at Europe and Asia, he was a good QRPer and had a fine fist.  I'm sorry we won't hear his call anymore.   Best 72 es OO to you KE1LA... you were a good piggie. 

Best 73 de KB9BVN