Operating Notes

Here are some miscellaneous observations from my operations over the past week or so:

  • W1MX Turns 100. The MIT Radio Society, whose callsign is W1MX turned 100 on April 30, 2009. There was a great article on the history of the club in the April 2009 issue of QST. I had just read that article last Sunday, when I got an e-mail from KA8WFC, saying that he was going to be operating W1MX that evening. I got him on his cellphone around 8:30, and we made contact a short time later.

    It was a great thrill to work a station with such a cool history. And to think that I used to live in Somerville, MA, probably only five miles from W1MX, and never thought to visit the station.

  • Short Skip. I’ve noticed lately that the skip on 40m can be very short right around sundown. A week ago, I worked WA8JNM, near Cleveland, less than 150 miles away from me at 8:30pm (0030Z). Tonight, I worked KZ9H, near Indianapolis, not more than 230 miles away, at 9:00pm (0100Z). Both stations were 599 here. Can any of you propagation experts explain this to me?
  • Long Skip. I’m also working DX on 40m. Last night, I got on just after 10pm (0200Z). The band was kind of quiet, so I started calling CQ on 7033 kHz. After a couple of CQs, Alex, SP8ERY called. I quickly looked him up on QRZ.Com, and found a very interesting Web page that included a picture of his grandfather (right). Alex writes, “He was a radio operator during I World War. He worked on simple crystal RX and spark TX and in 1960′s when I was a young boy, he taught me first few letters of Morse code.” Since it was apparent that he knew quite a bit of English, we had a nice chat, not the usual 599/599 TU kind of DX contact.
    After working Alex, I heard IY8GM booming at 10 dB over S9. He was an easy catch. I then tuned upband again and called CQ around 7027. There, I got a call from another SP station. When we finished our short QSO, I got a call from OM3CDR. Juraj, as it turned out, also knew some English, so I was able to tell him that I am Slovak-American and had visited his home town, Bratislava.
    All in all, it was quite a good night for DX


  1. Dan,

    Thanks for the post, especially the comments under “Long Skip”. I love those DX QSOs that are actually QSOs and not “cookie cutter” 559 TX ES GUD DX type of QSOs. I remember a few years back being on 20 Meters with a German op who was operating QRP portable from Italy while he was on vacation. That QSO must have lasted close to half an hour and was my best DX QSO ever.

    73 de Larry W2LJ

  2. Dan KB6NU says:

    I just had a remarkable short skip QSO on 30m with Brian, W9BRE. At first, I thought he was just out of his call district, but his QTH in Wonewoc, WI, about 340 miles away, according to QRZ.Com. His signal was peaking at 20 dB over S9, and he gave me a similar report.

    The really remarkable thing is that the signals held up for more than a half hour. Usually, these kinds of short skip contacts last for only a very short time, and the change in conditions is quite rapid.

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