I was amazed to have my first CQ on 20 October at 21:31 answered by VU2ABS. OK, he came back with a -27dB signal report (!!!) but I called on low power and I later shoved it up to about 50 watts for the end of the QSO. I gave him -13dB and the QSO went according to plan. By this I mean it took the standard JT65 mode minimum of 4 minutes, plus an extra minute each for him to request a QSL and for me to thank him for a new DXCC on 40m. No need to repeat any detail and signals were perfectly stable.
Now when I report something like that I am not trying to "big" myself up. I did nothing special. I am just reporting that I am surprised how well a low dipole is doing for me. Everything else might be fancy beams and towers, but the 40m set up is just two bits of wire. To say that I was taken aback would be an understatement. Yes, I have been heard regularly further away on WSPR, but WSPR is a beacon mode and takes 2 minutes to send a very limited amount of information. This was a proper QSO.
So I was pleased with 8349km on 40m, and next night netted UA9CR (MO06 3762km) and AI4VR (EM64 6608), which made me pleased too.
Surprise is certainly my reaction. A local OM heard of what was going on here and said that he did not take up 40m at present as he would not have room for an efficient antenna. I know what you mean, but it looks like an inefficient antenna does good work too.
Of course, any antenna (however inefficient) has an infinite gain figure over no antenna at all. So I suppose it all proves that just getting on and doing something is always better than not doing anything.
GI4DOH posted here a few days ago that the solar flux index looked to stay above my magic 100 level for a while. So I decided to test out his predictive powers. With the official forecast for 10m propagation as "poor" I set up WSPR to run early on 23 October. Was the official view right that it would be poor, or was Richard right that there was hope of DX?
Make up your own mind from the table below, but I have to admit that I know who I am going to have to listen to in future, Richard ...
Time Stn Freq Rpt Locator Pwr dBm/W Heard by Locator km
WSPR is not a QSO mode, but a report of -1dB means that an easy QSO would have been possible.
Since then I have gone on to make quite a few QSOs across the Atlantic but VK is always hard to beat. Thanks for that piece of wisdom.