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Saturday Morning Amateur Radio

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Brunswick – Yesterday morning after getting breakfast and taking a walk in the lovely low-60 degree weather as the sun began to rise above the pines, I did something I haven’t done in a while. I fired up the mobile HF station and disturbed some electrons. Everything didn’t work beautifully, but I still had fun.

Saturday morning's sunrise; I fired up the mobile station and disturbed some electrons not long after this photo was taken

Saturday morning’s sunrise; I fired up the mobile station and disturbed some electrons not long after this photo was taken

First the issues… for some time now, the FT-857’s main tuning knob has been acting up. It spins physically but it doesn’t tune the radio. I can still tune it using the secondary tuning knob and the buttons on the microphone, but I’ll eventually have to take it out of the car and send it off to Yaesu. I’ve tried both a soft and hard reset on the rig but the tuning knob still refuses to cooperate. I also noticed that I was getting a big voltage drop on transmit, especially if the car’s ignition was off. I suspect this is probably a car battery issue as the car is now five years old and still has the original battery.

Despite those inconveniences I still had some radio fun. 20 Meters wasn’t very cooperative; I heard a few stations but I was never able to break through to them so I switched over to 15 Meters and made a few contacts. When I first switched over to 15 Meters around 1230 UTC, the band was a bit wobbly, but it soon stabilized and a few QSOs resulted. The highlights were two European stations: OZ90IARU and G4JCZ. I found OZ90IARU, a Danish special event station celebrating the 90th Anniversary of the International Amateur Radio Union on 21.311 USB and after a number of tries got through to the op, Palle, and put them in the logbook. I love to “collect” unusual callsigns – those that don’t fit the normal callsign structure for country – so I was very happy to put OZ90IARU in the log. I found Tony, G4JCZ in Birmingham, England on 21.287.7 and had a short but good QSO with him; it was nice to exchange more than just a callsign and signal report for a change.

Next weekend is the CQWW DX SSB contest weekend. Since the home HF station is still out of service, I’ll probably delay taking the FT-857 out of the car until at least then and try to log some DX in the contest on Sunday. Friday evening and Saturdays are usually too busy for the little mobile station to get through but on Sundays the big guns are usually looking for a few more points and it’s a good time for me to get some DX in the log.


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