This weekend there were several state QSO parties running — Michigan, Ontario and South Dakota, plus a DX contest centered in South America. Saturday night I came down to the shack to see what I could do in the three, but when I started messing with the K3, the AF gain (volume) knob broke. I was thinking about running the contests by using the shaft with no knob, but that looked like an exercise in pain so I turned on the KX1 QRP (low power) radio.
I heard a station calling from Bolivia on 40 meters, and thought “why not try” and worked him on the first call — with 4 watts and my Steppir vertical. Cool.
I switched to the Michigan QSO party and started working everyone I could find. It often took three or four calls, and a couple guys had to really work to hear my report, but I kept working stations. By the end of the evening I’d worked 30 stations in Michigan, 10 in Ontario, and 5 in South America, mostly on 40 meters with a few contacts on 20 and 80. For 80 I switched to the K2 at 5 watts, but most of my contacts were made with the KX1.
This is much different from my normal contesting mode of running 500 watts and seeing how high a rate — how many contacts per hour — I can reach. But it was just as much fun, I used a lot less power, and it was much lower key than most contests I run.
For any hams out there who think “life is too short for QRP,” you are missing a big part of the hobby. To work Boliva and Brazil with 4 watts — that is exciting.
So that was my hamming for the weekend. I’ll go into more detail on my broken knob on the K3 later.