delara newsDelaware Amateur Radio Association, Delaware OH VOL 36 NUMBER 3
Dan Romanchik KB6NU
Operating Notes: 20m on Sunday afternoon, new key, shack reorg
Yesterday afternoon, I was tuning around on 30m, but the band sounded dead. For some reason, I decided to give 20 m a try. I don’t know what possessed me to do that, because a) If 30 m is dead, 20 m will be, too; b) I’m not a big fan of 20m.Nevertheless, one of the first signals I heard on 20m was CT1BQH calling CQ DX on 14044 kHz. He had a reasonably strong signal, so I figured that I had a good chance of working him. Sure enough, he replied to my call and gave me a 559. It turns out he has a six-element Yagi, so no wonder he was so strong.Next, I tuned down the band, found a quiet spot on 14032 and started calling CQ myself. F5TIL responded to my second call. I love it when DX stations answer my CQ. He was using only a three-element Yagi, but signals were still 559.Right after I signed with F5TIL, I got a call from Mike, K8XF, my friend down in Florida. We had a short, but nice chat. I always like working Mike because he’s such a good operator. He’s been playing around with a bug lately. It was funny to hear him send with a bug because he slowed it way down.New keyOne of the things that Mike and I chatted about are our Begali paddles. Mike recently bought a Signature, while I recently added a Begali Magnetic Pro to my operating desk.I love this paddle. It’s the first paddle that I’ve used with magnetic tension. It really does feel different from my Begali Simplex, which uses spring tension. It’s hard do describe.Another thing that I like about it is that you can adjust the space between the paddles. You can’t do this with most paddles.The one regret is that I didn’t also get the aluminum finger pieces. The plastic finger pieces—as show in the photo—feel kind of cheap to me. I’ll be buying some aluminum ones at Dayton.Shack reorgI inherited some furniture from my mother-in-law, including a computer desk and chest of drawers. The computer desk replaced the homemade workbench that I was using as an operating desk, the chest of drawers replaced the small desk that I was mainly using for storage, and the homemade workbench is now actually my workbench, replacing a folding table that I was using for building things.The previous setup had served me well for the past 15 years, so this new arrangement was a bit difficult to get used to. The computer desk, for example, is a foot narrower than the workbench, so I had to move things around, and the workbench is not as deep as the folding table, so I’m still getting used to that.I think it’s a good thing to mix things up once in a while, though. Maybe the reorganization will help me break out of some of the bad habits I’ve fallen into.