CW Contact

So I’ve been learning Morse Code throughout the summer and felt comfortable (or daring) enough to try my hand at making some contacts. Now, when I acquired my radio (a 2nd hand Kenwood TS-570S that is treating me real nice), it didn’t come with a paddle or key, so I decided to make my own.

My DIY paddle
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QSL

Note: I realized I made some mistakes on my QSL cards, which might be important for those who are working towards awards. If you happen to be one of them, leave a comment and I’ll get a card with the proper info to you soon. I’ve had lots of irons in the fire the past few months which means little time to actually post about it. Last night, I was able to hop on to my first amateur radio net hosted by the 3905 century club. A net – I learned – is an on-the-air gathering of ham operators, and this one was intended for making contacts with operators in other states. Apparently – and I don’t know all the ‘rules’ – operators get extra points for making contact with a noob (can we use [inter]net lingo with the [amateur radio]net?). I turned out to be very busy with 17 contacts from 12 different states.

First batch of QSL cards to send out.

Conditions were good for 40-m. Earlier in the summer, I tried to make contact with my Dad (WA1ITU) in RI and we were barely able to hear one another. It also helped that I was able to get a new antenna (23-m end fed wire with a coil) tossed into the highest trees surrounding my property and I recently visited my Dad and helped him tweak his antennas (yes, plural). In any case, we could hear each other loud and clear (59) and apparently, a good number of other operators could hear me as well.

If you look closely, you’ll see that the cards have different stamps on them. My grandfather passed recently, and we inherited a chunk of his vast stamp collection. My wife decided to match the operator’s home state with a relevant state stamp (we have a bunch of those). Sending out the QSL cards gives us an opportunity to share in one another’s hobbies. If you’re on the receiving end of one of those cards, and you happened to notice the stamps, let me know!

So, I’m hooked on another hobby. Not sure when I’ll find time to actually do work. If someone is willing to pay me to retire early, please leave message in the comments.