Outer Banks Round 2

I was back down in the Outer Banks of North Carolina for a few days this week. Since I was there for a family function, there wasn’t much time for ham radio. I did, however, get on the air for a bit one morning with a haphazard antenna.

We were staying with family in a rental house just down the road from the one we were in last month. Like the previous house, it had a beautiful view of Currituck Sound.

One morning, everyone went over to the beach for some surf fishing. Since I’m still dealing with my knee issues, I stayed behind and broke out the radio.

I took my KX3 out to a small, 3rd story deck and broke out two 25-foot pieces of speaker wire for an antenna. I wrapped one around the deck railing for the radiator. For a counterpose, I tossed the other wire off the deck. I used a BNC-to-binding post adapter to connect up to the KX3.

Operating from the deck in Corolla, North Carolina, on the Outer Banks
Operating from the deck in Corolla, North Carolina, on the Outer Banks

Frankly, I wasn’t expecting much from this antenna with 5 watts. When I turned on the rig, though, I heard some very loud signals on the 40M band. After calling CQ a few times, I saw a dozen spots on the Reverse Beacon Network (RBN).

Over the next forty-five minutes, I had a couple of rag chews with stations in New York and New Jersey. I also logged a Parks of the Air (POTA) station in Connecticut.

My KX3 out on the deck. You can see the two pieces of speaker I used for an antenna.
My KX3 out on the deck. You can see the two pieces of speaker wire I used for an antenna.

Before packing up, I moved up to 20M and heard a French station calling CQ. I threw out my call and heard, “WB3?.” My 5 watts and the thrown-together antenna made it to France. Unfortunately, a loud, low-pitched version of my CW was coming from somewhere down below. As it turns out, the wire hanging off the deck was right next to an outdoor speaker. I didn’t complete the contact for fear of creating too much of a racket.

By this time, I was losing my shade anyway, and it was getting hot out there. So, I took down my makeshift antenna and packed up the radio. This brief—but fun—session was the only opportunity I had on this trip for ham radio.

It never ceases to amaze me what you can do with 5 watts and a couple of pieces of wire.

72, Craig WB3GCK

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