Since my last entry I've continued to listen and try to make QSOs on HF almost every day. The last 24 hours have given me a couple of great DX contacts, including a new personal record for distance!
Last night at around 11:30pm I suddenly heard a Hawaii station on 40m. Turns out it's the same station I worked once before, back in December. I answered his CQ and he responded right away. We just exchanged signal reports rather than having a long conversation – Hawaii is a rare contact for almost anyone so stations there are usually swamped with contacts.
I had the day off today, but Catherine had to work, so I was looking forward to some uninterrupted radio time (in between chores, of course…). At around 11am I saw a LOUD PSK31 signal on 20m. I was going to contact him and tell him to turn his power down, but then I saw that it was a Hawaiian club station. We had a brief QSO (and he did reduce power after his initial transmission), so that was Hawaii twice in 12 hours!
Then later this afternoon I saw that 15m looked open, so I switched down there to see what I could hear. There seemed to be a fair number of faint DX stations, and after awhile I heard someone in Russia, on the Kamchatka Peninsula. On a whim I decided to reply because my luck had been good so far in the past day. It held out, and RA0FLP, Leo, heard me! That smashes my previous distance record of 2537 miles – Leo was 4586 miles from me.
I chat with many hams on the #hamradio IRC channel (irc.freenode.net), and I've read many ham blogs as well. I think a lot of hams are afflicted with "perfect setup" syndrome. Rather than improvising or making do with what they have, they operate rarely or not at all while chasing the ideal antenna, rig, interface, morse speed, etc. Meanwhile I've been making great DX contacts with 5 watts, a pretty sub-par antenna, and living in the middle of a city! Of course, luck has a lot to do with it, and if I had a better setup I'd probably be making many MORE DX contacts… but for such a modest setup, I'm really pleased with what I've been able to accomplish.
Now, if you've read this far, I have a question: who are you? Tell me in the comments!