I took advantage of this sunny Spring day to get in my first bike ride of the year. The Straight Key Century Club’s Weekend Sprintathon (WES) was in progress, I figured I would stop along the way to make a few contacts.
I rode a few miles down the Schuylkill River and Perkiomen Trails and set up in a park. I’ve operated from this spot on many occasions. The ground was still muddy from recent rains but, fortunately, there’s a convenient bench there.
My antenna launching arm was a bit rusty. It took a few tries to get my line over the tree branch I was aiming for. I set up the radio on the park bench and tuned around. The bands seemed a bit quiet for a contest weekend.
I alternated between calling, “CQ WES,” and searching around for other SKCC stations. I wasn’t having much luck. I got my phone out and checked a couple of propagation sites and wasn’t encouraged by what I saw. I checked RBN and saw that I wasn’t getting many spots. I was also getting an S4 noise level on 40 meters. There was a park building about 100 yards away from me. I’m guessing that something over there was causing the noise. All-in-all, this wasn’t shaping up to be a memorable day for QRP operating.
Fortunately, W8IQ heard me in Ohio and rescued me from getting skunked today. Sometimes there are days when it would have been more productive to pack a fishing rod instead of a radio.
Anyway, it was a great day to get back out on the bike and loosen up these old knees of mine.
72, Craig WB3GCK