K0GKJ – Just Another Ham
The New QTH – A Floating Shack

First Non-US Contact… Lots ‘a Listenin’, Some Talkin’ !

With filters and chokes hopefully doing their job, preventing interference with my neighbors on the other side of the steel and concrete wall of our condo, I made my first voice transmission at about one third RF power (~30 watts) with Mike (W2YP) in new Rochelle, NY, just north of New York City at 1059 EST on 14.200 Mhz (twenty meter) USB (upper sideband).

Mike is running a cubical quad antenna up a whopping 19 meters (62 feet), pushing just 80 watts of power.

My antenna was still parked at due north (sort of aimed at NY) at the time, although he was aimed at Europe, not Florida, and I was timidly running only about one-third power (~30W) for now, he still gave me a report of 3×3 (somewhat readable, not very strong). More importantly, I listened to him work many stations in Europe, learned a good bit about workin’ DX in the last half hour. Things that enabled him to achieve many long distance contacts in a fun and efficient manner. Great job, Mike!

His tag line, “a great pleasure to hear your booming signal this time, every time, and until next time, bye bye!”. Can’t wait to hear him say that about my signal one day soon! Maybe once I feel confident about crankin’ up my RF (radio frequency) output power and learn how to properly aim my beam!

Stations that I listened to Mike work (and could hear both sides of the conversation quite clearly), especially since I started easing the beam from due north to a more easterly direction (more toward Europe):

  •  Several stations (individuals) in the U.K. (not too distinct since I was still aimed at the north pole at the time!)
  • as I started swinging the beam more easterly, clearly heard (with a good deal of background noise):
    • Jean (F1DWI) in Eloyes, France
    • Rudolf (DK9VX) in Neunkirchen, Germany
    • Jean-Paul (ON4KBZ) in Molenstraat, Belgium
    • Eric (F5NBK) in ARTIGUELOUVE, France
    • AP (GI4VKS) from STRABANE, Northern Ireland, who did a fine job speaking through a voice box surgically implanted in his throat

With my antenna still aimed north, and power eased up to about 60% (60 whole watts! 🙂 ), I just completed a solid and interesting contact with the Maritime Mobile Service Network (see www.mmsn.org for more info on this emergency communications organizations, specializing in serving maritime (offshore boat and ship) mobile and deployed military radio traffic. Connected with Tom (VE3II) in suburban Toronto, Ontario (grid location FN044) before he relinquished net control to Rooney in Portmore, Jamaica. Tom gave me a 5/7 to 5/9 signal report (best readability, almost best quality signal!) and asked if anyone had any traffic for Punta Gorda, Florida that I could relay. No traffic, but my first participant in a potential communication traffic relay at this QTH (radio station location) in Burnt Store Marina South Shore. On our way, kids!

I monitored a dozen or so other US and non-US contacts (both sides of each) before I needed to shut down the rig and move on to working on the boat (see www.oursojourn.wordpress.com if interested)

A humble start from this location to the fascinating DX side of amateur, but like any new tool, learning its proper use before plunging is the first significant & reasonable step.

So far, I’m quite impressed with this antenna and this location (near salt water shore, relatively clean elevation, a darn good signal launch platform!)

73

de Gene K0GKJ

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