Radio Day

You wouldn’t think this would be my first ever confirmed QSO, but yet here it is.

I spent ten years as a category 4 amateur, never getting around to actually going through with the full license, so I couldn’t have shortwave contacts. On VHF/UHF, confirmed contacts are an exception rather than the norm, you only bother to do that when you do something spectacular. Now that I got a full CEPT-compatible license, I can actually call beyond my own backyard.

With the quarantine, with my radio suffering from old age, and with not having a proper shortwave antenna, six months passed between me renewing the license and finally clocking in a contact.

But earlier this summer, I finally set up a permanent antenna. Which happens to be a piece of magnet wire selected for its stealth properties in dense urban jungle, rather than something actually nice, but you get what you can where you can.

WSPR shows remarkable results for what this “antenna” is.

WSPR shows remarkable results for what this "antenna" is.

WSPR is a digital protocol which is basically used to test propagation and whether your antenna works, and is generally not manned – it’s a network of automated receivers siphoning data about what they have heard off into the net. And even though robots seem to hear me just fine, it took a while before a human responded:

The first QSL card I got. Electronic, of course.

Might not be worth much for anyone else, but for me it’s a bit of a milestone.