Monday, September 6, 2021

Part time radio weekend.

In Canada and the U.S. this is a long weekend (Labour Day Weekend) with Monday being a holiday.  I was able to spend a little time on the radio in the late afternoon a few days of the long weekend. I was able to spend a few hours on both Saturday and Sunday.  For the most part I spent my time on 20m CW and both days the bands seemed to not be too busy. As I spent some time on the radio I found the bands were not that quiet. It was deep QSB that was working its magic to drop an S9 signal just at or below the noise floor. 

Having a radio with a waterfall is a great advantage and my Icom 7610's waterfall came in very handy showing me a signal before they would fade away to nothingness. I heard 4X6FR from Israel calling CQ and I was surprised he did not have a pile up. I gave him a few calls but he answered other stations.  Not a problem I would just wait it out. This is where the QSB kicked in and within a very short time I found only static and no 4X6FR!  The 7610 has 2 independent receivers which is a great advantage. In this case with my headphones I listened for a reappearance of 4X6FR in my left ear or VFO B. The right ear VFO A was scanning other signals that appeared on the waterfall. Needless to say, the station from Israel never again showed up on the waterfall, but he was still out there as he was being spotted by U.S. stations on DX Summit. 

As time went on the best way to describe what I saw on the waterfall was "now you see them and now you don't" When I did tune on some DX and made contact it was touch and go to make a fast and simple RST exchange and if I felt lucky I added my name and location. I was pleased with my radio time and made contact with 4O4T in Montenegro, R5AF, SP6AEG, LZ305AI, IK5OPR and finally TZ4AM from Mali which was a new one for me. I saw him being spotted on 17meters and I decided to venture there as 20m was getting a bit slow. 

The spot indicated "up 1" which meant there was a pile up and he was operating split. I skipped over to 17 meters and then landing myself on his calling frequency just to make sure I could hear him before I got too excited. There he was at S6 and I knew I had to move fast as the deep QSB had robbed me a few times from catching nice DX. I set my radio to split and dual watch which allows me to hear the DX and those who are calling him. BUT strange thing no one was calling him and my waterfall was void of signals. It could be the QSB playing games with me. So when I heard him call CQ I put my call out and he came back to me on my first call. TZ4AM was in the log and I was happy. Very shortly after the contact the deep QSB took the signal from the waterfall. 

It's Monday today and I was busy getting some household chores done throughout the day. Maybe this evening I will be back on the radio and see how 40m treats me. 


PE4BAS, Bas said...

Great story Mike, I guess we all have to deal with QSB and disappearing DX. But at least you worked Mali which is a very nice one. Why there was no one calling? I guess that's because many are getting lazy being on FT8. 73, Bas

MadDogMcQ said...

I AM SO ENVIOUS of people who have mastered CW! As a QRP operator, I feel I'm at such a disadvantage. I love phone of course, but on those days when it's a real struggle, I always end up visiting the CW end of the bands and listening to people make contact after contact with such ease.

At 62yrs old, I don't feel I've got it in me to learn a new language - I can barely remember my own LOL.

Glad you enjoyed your Labour Day Weekend Mike.

Kind regards, Tom, M7MCQ.

VE9KK said...

Good morning Bas very nice to hear from you, yes I was shocked to hear that Mali was spotted and no action once I got to the frequency. But as for 4X6FR the QSB was the winner there. If there was no factors like QSB at times, the solar issues and antenna position and type then you may as well just pick up the phone and call them. The mix (just mentioning a few factors) in ham radio with making the contact makes it fun and exciting.

VE9KK said...

Good morning Tom and it was very nice to read your post of a nice relaxing vacation, I took the code up in my early 20's. You are correct it is an advantage and I am not as fast at it as I would like to be BUT I should just be happy that I know it. I will agree that age is a factor but only to how long it may take to master the code. I know there are some out there that may had learned the code in more advanced years that you and I BUT that is not the norm. My advice would be if you would like an adventure give it a go!
73 and thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.