I don’t make it to the mailboxes as often as I should, the HOA having moved them from down the road to a few miles out of my way. When I eventually do get a Round Tuit, I’ll occasionally find a surprise – that’s not a bill. This week, QSL cards from my first ever HF radio contact with my own callsign.
A little while ago, I stumbled upon a Facebook group called the Band Hoppers, in a post on another Ham Radio group. Curious, I joined and found a great group of people. It’s a no-nonsense group, strictly amateur radio operations on HF. They set up nets every week called “Battle of the Bands”, usually between 40 and 80 meters, it seems. Several net controls operate around the country, and they post their logs on their website, for live and future reference. It’s quite a setup.
Thursday night, a couple of weeks ago, I saw a post that they’d be operating 80m and I hopped on to listen. My uBitx radio kit still not fully assembled, and connected to a best-effort 80m dipole strung through the woods suspended from an old cable dog lead. I had strung the 120 feet of speaker wire antenna for CQ Santa for Jordan to listen to, and have since upgraded my license to operate on that range of frequencies when he was very let down that he couldn’t talk with Santa himself.
I didn’t expect much more than listening to happen. The antenna isn’t tuned, the mic is a simple headphone cable with electret mic sensor and a switch attached. N3YUG called CQ on 3.845 MHz. I waited for a pause and called a couple of times. When I heard him reply back “JMH station?”, my jaw hit the floor. Jason in Maryland had heard me on my mess of parts in Maine!
We chatted a bit. Evidently, I’m not the only one sporting the uBitx 10W radio, and they’ve heard only good things. I’m impressed, I’m proud, and I have my first QSL cards for HF! …my first QSL card was for World Amateur Radio Day on April 18th, which I picked up via EchoLink from work. I felt like I had somehow cheated. Now, I feel legit. 🙂