Saturday, October 13, 2007

A solar powered entry to the Bill Windle QSO Party

The First Class Operators' Club organise a 'Bill Windle QSO Party' twice a year. The idea is to encourage operators to use Morse, and to some extent, I think, to showcase the club. Bill Windle, G8VG was a real influencial character in the club some years ago, and the QSO party has been named in his honour. Though there are a lot of very nice people in FOC, there's a sense that the club has perhaps lost its' way somewhat, which is a shame. Perhaps that's for another day.

Anyway, I thought I'd get on and make a few QSOs in the event. I decided rather than use the FT1000MP main station, I'd use the solar powered setup, so I ran the IC706 powered from the solar charged batteries. By and large, I ran about 50 to 60 watts, but upped the power to 80 watts if someone seemed to be having problems hearing me. I only had to do that a couple of times.

In a relaxed hour or so of operating, I made around 30 QSOs, mostly on 20m, many with US stations. The best DX, which I think turns out to be the best Solar Powered DX yet, was W7QC in Washington state. There were several others at good distance in the W5 (Texas/Oklahoma) area that I worked, as well as the 'usual' East coasters - which are nice DX on solar power anyway.

I was pleased to find 15m open as well and worked Puck, W4PM in Virginia which was nice. Also heard, though not worked on 15 was Brian, 9J2BO from Zambia, coming through with a good signal.

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