September Outing to the Pemi

September 2009

Hanz, W1JSB, and I rode our bikes down
to the Pemigewasset River today. We worked
Hungary, Colorado, Ukraine, and England
with 2 1/2 watts.

The ride is about a mile and a half along an old
dirt road that runs through fields and trees along
the river. It's beautiful.

We brought two rigs with us, but only used Hanz's FT-817
with the internal batteries. The antenna was a half wave
wire on 20 meters using the Par Electronics tuner. We set
up on top of an embankment about 30 feet above the water
under a maple tree.

We passed the rig back and forth, taking turns making
contacts. Hanz had the first turn.

His first contact was with Ukraine for a quick exchange.
Hanz received a 559 report and sent 599. Then he worked
three Colorado stations in a row. They were all operating
in the Colorado QSO party.

My first contact was with Hungary. Tony, HA8IH sent me
a 559.

We operated a little over an hour. I worked a few of the
Colorado stations and then worked two stations in the
UK. The first one was with Dez, G3WW. He gave me a
559 and sent, "Congratulations - UR QRP doing nice
job."  The second English QSO was even more exciting.
Tom, G3HGE gave me a 569. I told him I was running
4 watts, but he copied 40 watts.  When I corrected the
power, he sent, "Boy, oh boy!" and wanted to know every
detail of our setup. What was our exact location? Were we
moving or fixed? And what antenna were we using? I
promised to send him some pictures. "Pix most welcome."
he sent back.

With that we packed up our equipment and walked along the
river before starting back.

It was a glorious day... the colors, sounds and smells reflecting
the last joys of summer. We inhaled it all on the ride back.
But the best was yet to come.

I sent Tom the pictures and received a wonderful email back.
"Dear Jim , Many thanks for the two pictures.  What a magical
hobby we have. I am sitting in my little shack and I am in contact
with someone thousands of miles away who is enjoying the
peace and quiet of a riverside setting. I have been a ham
for 59 years but still marvel at what can be done with a
modest antenna and very low power."

A magical hobby indeed.