A recent trip to Texas to visit my family coincided with the arrival of my DSW-20 kit from Small Wonder Labs . As part of my visit, I also wanted to camp out on land near Henderson, Texas that's been in our family for a century and a half or so, and do a little target shooting, listen to the coyotes and, of course, break in my new QRP rig. And perhaps welcome a visit or two from any old family ghosts that might still be around. With plenty of land and a lot of tall pine trees, I made vague plans for a full-wave loop for 40 meters, fed with twin lead, which I could tune to use on 20 meters. Or maybe a 1/4 wave vertical with 100 or 200 radials up on the hilltop.
But plans sometimes go awry and this was one of those times. Due to a late start getting everything together and packed, I only had time to put up a 40 meter dipole by the time twilight settled in. The dipole was unique, my target shooting skills need work, the coyotes are loud and haunting, and my new DSW works like a charm.
Our property is located near the small town of Henderson, Texas - population 11,000. I had all the
On The Air
Darkness comes early this time of year but at least the temperature was mild. The rain fly was on the tent, more for wind protection that for rain, for the forecast called for a clear, cool evening with a low of 40F. A candle lantern suspended from the tent's ceiling and a Mini-Mag flashlight provided light. I set the DSW on top of the Norcal 40A and remembered how, when I first built the 40A, I thought it was small. But sitting beneath the new DSW, it looked a bit clunky. A battery pack of 10 "C" cells provided power, MK-33 paddles from Whiterook did the keying and Radio Shack Nova 71 headphones provided audio. I wasn't backpacking and my pickup (aka 12VDC supply) was parked right outside the tent, but I wanted to use "C" cells in order to learn more about operating QRP with them.
Coyotes Calling CQ
Around 8pm local time, I switched to the Norcal 40A. I really wanted to work some DX on 40
I awoke the next morning at 6:30 am. It was still dark and the 40-meter rig was still hooked up so I flipped up the ON switch and put on the phones. VKs, ZLs and JAs! And loud! I called several VKs to no avail and then answered a CQ from a JE1. Tomi gave me a 569 from Tokyo. He was 599+ in my tent. Two California stations and then I go outside to cook breakfast. That's all the QRPing I would do and I was a happy camper. Both rigs worked great, I worked DX on both bands, coyotes serenaded me and I learned some interesting and useful information about cow bones. But no old ghosts came to visit.