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My First-Ever QSO -- 50 Years After Passing Ham Test

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by G3EDM, Aug 27, 2021.

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  1. G3EDM

    G3EDM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Things definitely picked up today. Hope it lasts. Seven QSOs in one day: this ties my previous record, which was set last month.

    However in this case it was achieved at the expense of many hours of operation. The previous record was set in a few hours with a chain of QSOs one after the other.


    73 de Martin, G2EDM
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  2. G3EDM

    G3EDM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm eyeing some award "wallpaper". With my modest rig and QSO count, the first award I can realistically aspire to is the IARU Region 1, Class Three certificate issued via RSGB. This recognizes making contact with hams from 40 Region 1 countries. Note that these are not "entities" so for example, all United Kingdom callsigns count as only one.

    I've been on the air for 4½ months and have 122 QSOs as of this afternoon. I have already made contact with 20 countries but only 15 of them are "confirmed" with paper QSLs or LOTW:
    • 9A Croatia
    • DL Germany
    • EA Spain
    • EI Ireland
    • F France
    • G United Kingdom
    • HA Hungary
    • I Italy
    • OE Austria
    • OH Finland
    • OK Czech Republic
    • ON Belgium
    • OZ Denmark
    • PA Netherlands
    • SM Sweden
    These are the other ones that I "have" but don't yet have QSL confirmation:
    • CT Portugal
    • HB Switzerland
    • LY Lithuania
    • SP Poland
    • UR Ukraine
    For as long as I am using my 7-watt crystal-controlled TX and regenerative RX, we can assume that it will take quite a long time to qualify for this 40-country award! OTOH being based in Europe does make it much easier to chalk up the countries than it might be in some other parts of the world. There are particularly rich pickings in Eastern Europe and the Balkans, typically in the early morning hours.

    In any case, there will be rig improvements as soon as possible: higher power, a better receiver; eventually, a VFO. Antenna tweaks. The list is endless.

    Example certificate:


    Spreadsheet in progress:


    73 de Martin, G3EDM
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  3. G3EDM

    G3EDM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Today started on a bit of a downer. QSO with ham in central Europe, 40m CW, as usual.

    To keep the story short, he repeatedly asked me to repeat information I had sent. The signal report from him was 579 and he was coming in 599, very easy to copy. After I had complied several times with his request for NAME? he sent the following:

    OM OM UR QSD QSD GO TO LEARN QSD GO TO LEARN 73 (followed by sign-off).

    I must confess I had to look up "QSD" which means:

    "Your keying is defective".

    Which explains the "go to learn".

    I'm aware that my Morse sending is very "novice" at this point, so I'm going to work some more on my sending skills with a code oscillator and mentoring from CW experts....

    Edited to add: OTOH I don't want to exaggerate this. I have something like 124 QSOs in the past nearly five months, and this is only the second time anyone has complained about my code. (The number of complaints is much smaller than the number of compliments. But then, CW ops are almost unfailingly polite!).

    73 de Martin, G3EDM
  4. N0NC

    N0NC Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Maybe his computer couldn't read your hand key sending. ;)

    73, Chuck
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  5. G3EDM

    G3EDM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, someone else has suggested that! I mean, even with atrocious sending, how hard can it be to copy MARTIN at 10wpm (I deliberately slowed it down because he kept asking for a re-send). After the umpteenth request for a repeat, I was sending it four or five times....

    Edited to add: It's also true that his code was beautiful. Perhaps it emanated from a keyboard....

    73 de Martin, G3EDM
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  6. N0NC

    N0NC Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Perhaps it emanated from a keyboard....
    Bingo :)

    73, Chuck
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  7. G3EDM

    G3EDM Ham Member QRZ Page

    My other Novice moment, since the Zed seems to be in "confessional" mode: A few days ago I answered a CQ from a ham in Serbia, a country I don't yet "have".

    The answer:

    SRI NA? NA? NA?

    Not understanding him, I ploughed on as if this were the start of a QSO and he came back again:

    SRI NA? NA? NA?

    Eventually he got tired of me and QSY'd several kHz down.

    That is when I realised that he must have been sending "CQ CQ CQ NA NA NA" (for North America). It was the first time I had heard this kind of CQ. Until now I had only heard "CQ USA" in similar situations.

    Anyway, that was my LID moment for the week. I'm sure there were others, but if there were, I wasn't notified of them!

    73 de Martin, G3EDM
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  8. W0PV

    W0PV Ham Member QRZ Page

    There's been several posts in other discussion threads recently promoting and touting "Morse code CW" as being a "character building" aspect and therefore a necessary component for future amateur radio licensing.

    I would never say it is not a great idea to learn and use it. However, incidents like this refute the concept that manual message encoding skills or modulation mode has much to do with that proposition.

    When really it is just being immersed and active in any to all aspects of ham radio that aside from educational can be an exercise in building social tolerance, "thick skin", and demonstrating or testing nobility and propriety.

    Keep calm and carry on. :)

    73, John, WØPV
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2022 at 9:40 PM
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  9. G3EDM

    G3EDM Ham Member QRZ Page


    QSO with OM George, @SY8CDV, in Greece, on Syros Island, 2,424kms (1,506 miles) away.

    That is not only a new country, but also my second-farthest QSO and was a several-minute chat including HNY and KALISPERA. (The farthest QSOs have been with John, @W0PV, in Florida, and were really bare-bones).

    It looks like I am increasingly leaning toward "quality over quantity" as my motto for CW QSOs. Of course, I would say that, given how low-yielding my 7-watt rig and regenerative receiver have been.

    In this case, I was unusually patient. I heard George calling CQ and answered his CQ. Several times, another ham would get ahead of me, so I just waited, monitoring the QSOs in progress. About four QSOs later, he did hear my answer to his CQ although we did have several exchanges back and forth as he fastened on my callsign.

    He gave me an RST of 119!!! I gave him 339.

    I now "have" 21 countries with 15 already confirmed via QSLs.

    73 de Martin, G3EDM
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  10. G3EDM

    G3EDM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm on the air, doggedly calling CQ 40m because this is the best time of day for North American openings.

    My signal is not showing up on RBN yet. Nada. But that was also the case last night when I had the QSO with George, @SY8CDV, at the other end of Europe So sometimes, RBN's network of skimmers can't hear you at all but hams with good "ears" can. Mind you, he gave me RST 119....

    73 de Martin, G3EDM
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