Its that time of year again and despite the annual flu jab (which I sometimes think I’m strangely immune too) I’ve spent the last week with my body being used as a big theme park to nasty bugs. All the usual activities that require me to walk around and be coherent at the same time go out the window but happily that still leaves plenty of options for passing the time.
Sitting down and only making the simplest of movements fits well for playing radio and thankfully data modes save other hams the trouble of trying to work out what I’m saying with a voice that’s operating at 10% of normal.
I did have a few half arsed attempts at getting some electronic construction done, but just couldn’t make my hands go precisely where my eyes were trying to focus and gave up after realizing a soldering iron burn was probably on the cards.
Getting Serious About QRP
I once read somewhere that one radio hams practice was to reduce power output if they received a strong signal while playing QRP radio (sorry cant remember where, maybe someone will fill in this gap?). Always one to stay around the 5 to 10 watt range (depending on the band) I thought it was worth having a blast with PSK.
With a careful eye on PSKReporter its surprising how far a 1 watt signal will reach when the bands are on the quiet side and have made a mental note to get outside this year to routinely operate portable with this sort of power level.
40 meters is a nice band for me as the signal band dipole outside the house does a great job when run though my beautiful little LDG Z817 autotuner. 20 meters is a little more challenging at the moment as the homemade dipole for that band is pretty low to the ground and needs to be raised up a bit (waiting for a decent dry day before attempting that one, don’t want to get the lurgy again!).
All the usual ‘local’ stuff (mostly Europe) has been easy enough on 40 meters with the 1 watt output even if there are times when the other station will ask me to repeat the initial call a few times then give up on the QSO completely 🙂
Pirate Radio Soundtrack
With no need to listen to the audio while using PSK I’ve made use of the SDR feeds over at WebSDR.org to log more hours listening to European pirate radio in a week than was spent all of last year.
Its also been nice to have a good amount of time to listen to the ham bands from the other side (so to speak) and have had fun hunting for European transmissions while listening to SDR feeds in the USA.
Back to the Grind
Its nice to be back on my feet and able to go out in public without people backing away from me because I looked like death warmed up on the odd occasion there was no alternative to popping out for much needed supplies (one of the few drawbacks of living on your own).
Even with the brain fog that rides along with the Flu I’ve had time to think and have made a huge list of projects and ideas that will be attempted in 2018 🙂