Tonight I worked WB3AAI/QRP. He was running an Elecraft K1 at 5 watt into a St. Louis Vertical, made from wire and a fiberglass fishing pole. Lou was on a mountaintop in the Allegheny mountains of Pennsylvania, and was a nice contact. It’s amazing what can be done with a very small radio and a very simple antenna, even on a night like tonight where the atmospheric noise and static was very high. I need to get back on QRP more this summer. QRP is low power, less than 5 watts, by the way. Most large modern radios are rated at 100 watts. I run most of mine at 50 watts for day-to-day operation.
Well the band is noisy and I’m sleepy, so enough for tonight. 73

Radios and radios

Tonight there are multiple lines of storms moving through the area, so not a good radio night. That makes it a good time to update the blog.

Unfortunately, summer is often tough for HF radio, too much static. Although I’m listening on 40 meters and hearing quite a bit above the noise level

I promised to talk about radios a little. In the last 10 years I’ve been active in radio again, I’ve found myself buying and selling a lot of radios.

Here are a couple of my favorites, that I’m running these days. The Icom 765 was a high-end rig when it was new in the early 90s. The receiver is as good as any I’ve ever listened to, and it’s just a nice big radio to operate. Lots of knobs and buttons, so no menus to scroll through to set things up. If you want to adjust something, turn the knob. It’s got a big, heavily weighted tuning knob, so it’s just nice to use. I dont’ know how else to describe it. I like it so much, I sold my number one rig, an Icom 756Pro III a month ago. I liked it, but just didn’t use it much so I got rid of it before the price started dropping on it.

Notice the paddles in front of the radio. On the left is a Begali — the best. Made in Italy, it just has the nicest touch of any paddle I’ve ever used. My second favorite is the Kent next to it. I’ve had it about 10 years, and it was my everyday paddle until I picked up the Begali last year.

My shack

I have a wide collection of gear, most of it I’ve picked up used the past few years. More details later. I’m a cw operator, with 99 percent of my activity on cw. I’ve been a ham for 43 of my 55 years, and was a good cw op as a youngster, so it came easy back then. Through the years I’ve built up my speed to where I can copy in the 40 word per minute range in my head, but most of the time I’m conversational rag chewer at 25 wpm.

In this blog, I’m going to log my activity, and a few highlights of what I hear, what I do, and what I find interesting.

An example is last night. I started out with a lower-speed contact with K3OXG, Lou, in Waynesburg, PA. We chatted a while, and when I signed out I was called by F3NB, Andy in Toulouse, France. He had a good readable 569 signal, which was unusual for 8 p.m. on 40 meters from Chicago. We actually had a nice little QSO. It’s always neat to have the DX call you.

I was running my Icom 765 to the SteppIR vertical. More on that later.