Topband: frustration

K4RO Kirk Pickering k4ro at
Tue Oct 30 16:15:40 EST 2007

On Mon, Oct 29, 2007 at 07:19:36PM -0400, Tom McAlee wrote:
> Until you operate down here, it is hard to understand why
> stations thousands of miles away can hear you but stations
> in the Caribbean cannot.

I remember my first time ever at the key as DX from the Caribbean.
We were just barely off the plane, and I sat down at the VP5B 
station on 160m CW. It was a few nights before the CQWW SSB 2003
contest. I had a Bencher padle with one of the plastic paddles 
broken off.  Sending "dahs" was well, interesting at best.

After calling CQ around 1831 kHz or so, I soon had a little pileup.
The static was beyond horrendus.  I worked W4AN, and after our QSO,
Bill spotted VP5/K4RO. The pileup grew bigger, but almost NONE of 
the calls could be pulled through the static. It was unbelievable. 
The guy who wrote the book on 160m operating sent a packet message
to us saying something like "Stop transmitting, you're not hearing
your callers."  Well, I'm sure I wasn't hearing all of the folks 
HE was hearing, but there WERE call signs going into the log, one
character at a time. So I just kept on operating until it was
someone else's turn. 

It sounds like this CQWW SSB weekend was particularly bad. Brave are 
the souls who pound the static in search of another QSO in the mud.
That's the kind of operator I want at the other end, especially when 
I have a message (or multiplier) that I desperately need to confirm.  


-Kirk  K4RO

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