first QSO in 22 Years

I’ve got my amateur radio license when I was in high school. even though I fully understand the science behind it, being able to hear those week sounds that originate from a far away place, might be even a different continent,  walks magic on me. but for way to many years I wasn’t really active with this hobby.

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One of the main reasons is the space needed to set up an HF antenna. for most of my adult life I’ve been living in apartment buildings. a simple dipole would require hanging 10 meters of wire would mean getting permission to access to the roof and a running a long coax. putting a beam antenna was really out of the question. so I started looking for some small antenna and found out about magnetic loops. these antenna are about 1 meter in diameter and would fit nicely in my balcony. the disadvantages are the narrow bandwidth that requires you to re-tune every frequency change, and the air-gap tuning capacitor which limits the amount of power you can use.

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being limited to using low power transmission (also known as QRP), I opted on using digital modes and not voice.I could use morse code (CW) which have the best results, but after so many year, my skills are quite extinct. so I found out about JT65 which have a very good weak signal propagation. JT65 is something like the twitter of ham radio. every message takes about 1 minute to transfer, and is limited to 13 characters (most of them are the callsigns) so you need to chose your words carefully….

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Last weekend I had the time to setup my shack. I blow off the dust from my trusty old TS-440 (might give you a hint on how old I am) and started connecting everything together. I took some time to get all the cables needed, learn how to tune the antenna and dial all the knobs on my transceiver for best conditions. but in the end, I had everything up and running.

It didn’t took long before I started answering CQ calls. and to my amazement they answered back ! WOW ! In no time I had contacts with Slovakia, Ukraine, Italy, Poland, Hungary, Germany, Estonia and even India. WOW indeed !

Thanks  Alex for building such a nice antenna, and OM4RJ for being the first to hear me calling.

73 DE 4X6UB

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