I have to hand to the SKCC crowd. When the band is dead, and no one seems to be there, you can move to an SKCC frequency and usually find a operator willing and ready to QSO. Reminds me of the FISTS organization 10-15 years ago. Making CW QSO's is fun.
Today I started out on 40m, this weekend is the Weekend Sprint for SKCC, and I am SKCC 2076T, the T means I have worked a bunch of SKCC contacts since becoming a member many years ago. I think they are on number 20,000 or close to it now.
SKCC means Straight Key Century Club and you make contacts using a straight key, or a bug...no paddles, no keyboards, no computers.
In 20 minutes I had worked five stations on 40m. KA2KGP in NY, K3SEW in PA, K4ZGB in AL, K0FD in MO, and W0UY in KS. The band was weak but the K2 was working great today. After about 20 minutes I was invaded by my herd of grandchildren, well most of the herd, so I had to QRT for a bit and play with this them for a few hours.
I got back on the air close to 5PM and worked 5 more in about an hour. K3EW in MD, NM1W in NH, KD8DD in MI, K2MD in NJ, and last but not least K4CRD in NC. So I managed to work the Great Plains, New England, and Coastal Carolinas...not too bad.
Now folks, that was running 5 watts to a attic dipole in terrible band conditions. If you ask me the band was doing fine...yes it was noisy, yes there was QSB galore, yes bugs are harder for me to copy than paddles and keyers....but it can be done. Turn on your radios and just give it some time and enjoy the hunt.
Here is my straight key for today:
I'm glad I don't have to use that all the time, It is very tiny. About 2 inches long and a half inch wide.
Best 73 de KB9BVN