When last Friday Bob VA3RKM sent a message reminding the OV-QRP group about the imminence of the BERU Contest (Thank you Bob!), I did not have high expectations of being able to participate. However, having operated recently as VK2/VE3DTI from Armidale, NSW, the possibility of hearing a VK call in Ottawa prompted an early wake-up call to see what could be buzzing in the 40-meter band. In spite of current vagaries in propagation, with the Sun’s vertical mid-way between Oceania and the Americas, there was the possibility of a favourable bounce in the lower bands. The real challenge was the antenna. With the long wire end-fed having been brought down by a major snow storm, the only possibility was a small mag-loop indoors: the AlexLoop WalkHam by Alex PY1AHD fed with the KX3 at 5W output. However, lo and behold, at 7:13am local time (12:13z) a CQ was clearly heard (no preamp needed) from station VK2WIA. Though no reply was ever sent, just hearing it was enough excitement. Leaving aside any discussion regarding the nature of this station (the address provided in QRZ.com is in Bayswater, VI, which would turn it into a VK3), I couldn’t but reflect how much longer it took for an Air Canada Boeing 777 to bridge the same distance, a month ago…
Later, in 20M I was able to log Clyde VA1MM in the southern tip of Nova Scotia; Todd VE5MX in Weyburn, South of Regina in Saskatchewan; Keith GM4YXI North of Aberdeen in Scotland (a QRP DX QSO!); and the final broach: a 20M local QSO with Bob VE3OSZ: Bob was the RAC examiner who fifteen years ago gave me access to the HF bands by certifying my 5 wpm Morse code reception. Always a pleasure to hear your perfect CW Bob, TU es VY 73.
Not a blasting performance, but a nice return to the bands and to CW from the Ottawa QTH in spite of challenging conditions.
And yes, as seen through the window on the picture above (with the Alexloop in its actual operating location), Saturday was a most beautiful Ottawa Winter day…!