I was looking through the small stack of QSL cards I have received over the past few years and found the card from the first QSO I ever had. I have only ever operated CW on HF and I remember practicing my code with the G4FON program. It was 2006 and didn't want to spend a lot of money to get on HF. My elmer at the time sold me a partially functioning HW-8 for $30 to see if I could get it going. I got it working and listened to 20M calling CQ but I was very nervous that anyone would actually answer my call. Lucky for me, I was only transmitting about 800mW on 20M so I knew the chances of being heard were small. I wanted to get a QSO but was afraid of not being able to keep up with my code.
One Sunday afternoon in Dec of 2006 I heard the band open as I had never heard it before. Looking back I don't even remember if he answered my call or the other way around but Dean, W7VVW, and I had a nice QSO. It was my very first CW QSO and he didn't send too fast for me which was always my biggest fear.
I sent a QSL card the next day in hopes of receiving his. When I received that card in the mail I was so proud of it that I had it on the fridge with a magnet for some time afterwards. He also included a nice note with the card since he knew it was my first.
Little did I know at the time that not only had I made my first contact at QRPp levels but I had also achieved 2609 Miles Per Watt. I was totally hooked on QRP and now I can't even imagine owning a QRO station. It is still my favourite QSL card and my favourite QSO ever. I still have that HW-8 in a box somewhere. I have since upgraded to the FT-817 but may pull that old girl out one of these days. It was a lot of fun.