“Oops” – a reminder of how awesome VARA is

A snowy day, and I’m farting around with my gadgets, putting off the inevitable task of snow blowing heavy wet snow, while the boy plays Roblox with his friend over video chat several towns away.

Look closely at the middle of the left half of the photo and you can see the antenna.

I figured I should check my radio mail with Winlink since I haven’t in a few days. I fired up the software and connected to the station in Nova Scotia, VE1YZ; much like we used to dial up a friend, BBS or ISP over the phone lines before broadband internet became so pervasive.

Apparently, I had forgotten to turn the power back up on the radio from 5 watts after my last experiment, but the VARA HF software modem trucked along despite the antenna being caked in snow and the dial reading 3+ SWR (reflected power), with or without the tuner.

I didn’t notice until it was signing off and disconnecting, but it still connected with the station 346 miles away, at maybe 3 watts emitted from my frozen wire antenna.


Contact made on 40m
at 5 watts and over 3:1 SWR

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *