QRP Radio from KP4 – Puerto Rico
On Thursday, October 17, 2019 I found myself gazing out across acres of green lawn washed by the early morning sunlight at Castillo San Felipe del Morro.
I had come to Old San Juan Puerto Rico to visit my youngest daughter and re-enact some of my youth when I used to be able to imbibe vast quantities of liquid courage.
I set up my Elecraft KX2 using a 3 Ah BioennoPower LFP battery, a 9:1 unun, a 17-foot counterpoise and a 29-foot wire that was drooping down from a nearby palm tree.
Palm trees are the worst possible choice when using a wire antenna held up by a string halyard. The palm leaves have little saw teeth edges and they want to grab onto the string not allowing the water bottle to fall to the ground. I almost lost my water bottle up in the tree.
My plan was to start out on 20 meters, even though it was not yet 7:30 am in the morning. That’s somewhat early for the band to be open, but I thought I’d see what might happen.
Spinning the VFO knob produces few results. With the assist from modern cellphone technology, I texted my mentor Jim Cluett, W1PID, back in New Hampshire to see if he could hear me. I could barely hear him calling me, but he couldn’t hear me.
We switched to 40 meters and got the same exact result.
Moments later Jim texted, “Go to 10.110.”
Victory. Jim was a solid 559 into me and I got an identical signal report.
He told me about the rainy and windy weather back in NH where a bomb cyclone was pummeling the Northeast.
After signing off with Jim, I texted another radio buddy who lives in Massachusetts and he also heard me calling CQ on 18.079.
While I only logged Jim, I felt it was a victory to be able to make a contact with such a poor antenna.