Yesterday, while on a vacation to Cincinnati, OH with my wife, I operated from a serene limestone bench at the Cincinnati Nature Center. Joining us were my oldest daughter Meghan and her husband Brent.
Twenty years ago, maybe more, Kathy and I used to take our kids here for hikes through the woods in this rare piece of terra firma that still has some old growth forest on it. Believe it or not, we had similar 300-400 year-old trees behind our own home located in Amberley Village, a suburb of Cincinnati.
Kathy and I had traveled a few days earlier from New Hampshire to visit her aging father. The trip was planned to also take advantage of our oldest daughter Meghan and her husband Brent being in town. We hadn’t see either of them in over a year since they had moved to California.
The weather was splendid. High thin clouds allowed the sun to bless us with a high temperature of 61 F. The trees had shed all their leaves, so the warm rays of the sun had no trouble finding us down in the forest.
After hiking for about 45 minutes, Kathy, Meghan and Brent sat on a wooden bench while I set up my HB-1B QRP radio. I decided to put up my resonant 20-meter center-fed dipole antenna. There was a perfect tree next to the limestone branch that would allow the antenna to hang vertically.
I decided to hang out around 14.060 MhZ to see if I could find any other QRP operators.
It didn’t take long to find George, K2WO.
He was in Orlando, FL, so my 4 watts of power and the vertical dipole were doing a great job on this day. I gave him a 459 signal report and he gave me the same one back. I was happy with that.
Next up was W3ZMN, Conrad coming to me from Bethlehem, PA. His signal was really pretty strong and he had heard me finishing up my QSO with George.
I had a huge grin on my face when he called out to me, “W3ATB DE W3ZMN.”
I gave him a 599 because of his crystal-clear signal. I received a 579 RST signal report from him.
A few minutes later I was able to work K9OSC, Bob up in Friedley, MN. His signal was so strong I thought he was in the Nature Center parking lot. I gave him a 599 and he gave me a 579 report.
I mentioned to Bob where I was and he wished me good luck on the rest of our hike.
A cold front was approaching from the West that would bring wind and rain to Cincinnati in just a few hours.
Winter is coming and there are just not that many days you can get out and operate comfortably. Yesterday was one of the handful of days left.
I was beaming to have completed three QSOs on my own at one outing. Each time out I can see improvement in my skills. It’s really gratifying.
If you’ve never done outdoor low-powered operation, I encourage you to try.