So there I was weeks later of getting my station on air and to show for it less than a hand full of HF contacts of local stations. When I say local, I mean all within 1 to 30 miles. However, before then it was just static… pure static – nothing but hiss. My thoughts of how I will commute around the US and maybe the world were crushed. Did I buy the wrong gear? Did I hook something up wrong?
The answer is was – yes you knuckle head you jacked up the config!
Long story short, today I made my FIRST TRUE CONTACT on HF all by myself!!
So there I was (yes in the garage… man cave… laundry room) on the 10 meter band 28.120 USB. Then low and behold I heard a banging signal on CW… so I answered back and NOTHING! I tried again and NOTHING. So I thought OK OK what am I missing?
I have everything connected but then … oh wait! When I key in the linear amplifier is not kicking in! What! Why! Come on! I know this works! So I sat there and thought. Then finally I realized I am not in DIGI(tal) mode – maybe that would help.
A push of the button there, a turn here and self doubt here….. and then a resend. The amp kicked in! I am now broadcasting at 60W vs the 5W. But still nothing. Did the other station leave? Did this propagation thing change? Is the configuration of my station still bad?
So as any good stubborn person does I pushed forward and broadcasted over PSK31.
CQ CQ CQ KK6AKN
Then out of no where I see
KK6AKN DE K9KEA
I stop… I look… I wonder why the font is different. Did I press something? Now what? Then all of the sudden KK6AKN DE K9KEA appears again… HOLY CRAP!! Someone heard me! I wondered where in Los Angeles are they from? Again you have to remember my only contacts have been in Los Angeles on top of a mountain when I tried miserably to do a SOTA. As K9KEA is typing and I see characters fill my screen. I immediately open my web browser and go to QRZ.com… I must find out out where K9KEA is. I hope that he is in central or northern California. As his stations information fills my browsers screen I race to see his address!
Then I can’t believe what I see in front of my eyes…KENOSHA, WI…. WISCONSIN! HOLY SH*T WISCONSIN. My first real QSO was from WISCONSIN! If you remember the movie The Jerk with Steve Martin with the following scene I embedded from YouTube… “I am somebody now!”
If that wasn’t enough! Then all of a sudden someone else replies.
Needless to say I am now happy as a clam! KL7IWC from Juneau, Alaska made contact! HELL YES!! All on my first attempt with my station FINALLY correct! (I think). But if that wasn’t enough on his heals comes KL7RL MANLEY HOT SPRINGS, ALASKA!!
WHAT A DAY! WHAT A DAY!!!
Then to wrap things up I make contact N8FL… WEST VIRGINIA!! I think to myself how is this happening and all I can think is “I DONT KNOW!” Then sadly the band starts to close down on itself this “propagation” thing starts to go away. Nevertheless I am happy! I am not reassured my purchases were correct (at this point) and it now makes me hungry to see whom else I can contact vs listen too.
CQ CQ CQ KK6AKN (some cricket noises but there are voices in the distance)