I've been a ham since 1982 and progressed from Novice to General and finally to Extra with the 5, 13 & 20 WPM CW tests that were each required at the time. CW is like riding a bike, you never really forget it. I haven't used it much in a while and in the last year started using it again. It is really like riding a bike, it takes practice to do it well! In March 2004 I built a RockMite-40 and had lots of fun with it, but it just gave met the QRP bug. Since then, in early 2005 I built an Elecraft K2 and ham having fun working lots of stations, stateside and DX. So far I think my three top QSOs include Greece on 160m, Fiji Islands on 40m during greyline and recently the Antarctica on 40m, all using CW at 5W. My XYL, Ede, bought me an Elecraft KX1 for Christmas in 2006 so I've enjoyed taking it out on some hikes and operating portable with other guys from the EPA QRP Club and a splinter group that we call ourselves Polar Bears. We like to go out on or near the full moon late in the afternoon and operate for a few hours, until after dark, watching the full moon come up. This activity is generally between the months of October and March, we dress to stay warm, not like that other Polar Bear group that gets undressed to get cold! Lots of fun enjoying nature in the winter and playing a bit of radio besides!
I also enjoy running HF mobile and primarily start out at 18.150 MHz if the band is open. Too bad I don't keep a log of my mobile QSOs as I must be well on my way to DXCC by now! I use an FT100 and ATAS120 on my Chevy Blazer. The ATAS120 works quite well on the higher frequencies but is not so efficient as some out there on 40m, although I have made some QSOs on 40m as well. Lately I've been using my HF mobile during my lunch breaks with CW as well while I'm parked somewhere hopefully peaceful. Along came a bunch of lawn mowers at the park one day though and then it wasn't so peaceful anymore. Generally it works, though!
I'm not a big contester, but do enjoy a few, just for fun. Of course ARRL Field Day with the QCWA Chapter 17 group is a standard for me and reminds me of my early starts in radio back in 1982 and 1983 when I did Field Day with the Saginaw Valley Amateur Radio Association in Michigan. I also enjoy going out somewhere for the PA QSO Party in October. I've operated from Potter County a couple of times and in 2007 from Mifflin County where I broke the previous county record. Generally I enjoy the ARRL November Sweepstakes as well and have achieved 1st Place Atlantic Division QRP Phone in 2005. Most 160m contests are quite a challenge as well, especially since I run QRP! There must be some awesome Rx antennas out there that people use!
If you work me while I'm mobile, please drop me a QSL card. I do QSL 100% (although I have a few to catch up on yet, but generally I'm pretty good).
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