I’m happy to report that I’m now on 17m. I don’t know really what took me so long—especially since I enjoy working 30m so much—but I finally put together a dipole for 17m and hung it up yesterday.
Yesterday evening, the band seemed to be hopping. The first station I copied was CE3FZ at about an S5. I tried calling him a couple of times, but after no response, I went hunting. I found PY7WC pounding in at S9. After a couple of calls, he became my first 17m contact.
I tried calling a couple other stations, but without success. This led me to believe that my antenna was far from optimal. It is kind of low, but so is my 40m dipole. The 40m dipole works pretty well, and I was hoping the 17m dipole would work well, too.
This morning, however, I had a quite different experience. Even though it was quite early in the morning (1230Z), I punched the 17m button on the IC-746PRO. There wasn’t much activity, and what I could hear was kind of weak, but I tuned around until I heard EA1ARV calling CQ. He was barely moving the meter, but I gave him a call anyway. Not only did he hear me, but we had a decent contact.
So, I guess the upshot of all this is that the dipole is not in an optimal position (which I knew anyway), but it does work, and I can make contacts. I’ll have to play around with getting it up higher, maybe in an inverted-V configuration. It seems like a fun band to operate, though.