Bob Jameson, N3LNP
(formerly WN2SDI, 1965)
A little after 5 AM on a bitterly cold Sunday in February, Rondo, our family dog, decided he needed to go out. I did my best to ignore him, but he persisted and I finally gave in. Unwillingly, I rose from my warm bed and let him out the back door. Rondo disappeared into the darkness. If true to form, he wouldn’t be back for at least a half hour, so I decided to fire up the shack while I waited for him to return.
I’d been licensed for three weeks and didn’t have a single QSO to show for my efforts. I answered lots of stations calling CQ, only to hear them come back to someone else. I tried calling CQ, but that didn’t work, either. The problem was obvious. My homebrew xmtr was good for just four watts so my signal was simply buried by higher powered stations.During the evening the 80 meter Novice band was “wall to wall” signals, but at this hour there wasn’t a station to be heard. I sent a series of CQs, anyway. As expected, no replies. More listening, more CQs, still nothing. It seemed futile, but I needed to wait for Rondo’s return, so I continued. Eventually, a lone signal emerged from my headphones; a WN1 was calling me. The exchange was brief. I was 559 in Hartford CT, about a 70 mile distance from my QTH on Long Island’s south shore. Not bad for four watts. Many hams tell of intense nervousness during their first QSO; I was too dazed by the event for that reaction. I heard our dog scratching at the back door. I let him in, he curled up by a radiator in our kitchen and I curled up in my bed.
By the way, thanks, Rondo.