Sunday, 22 March 2015

Reminiscing - first CW QSO

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.

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