Well… after months of listening on HF and participating in a few local area HF nets I finally made my first real HF QSL. I took time to make my first contact because I really wanted it to be memorable. Knowing I want to earn the ARRL Worked All States award, and since Colorado has a really special place in my heart, I wanted my first contact to be in Colorado. Last night the opportunity presented itself and on August 10, 2011 at 00:52 UTC I worked NA0L in Boulder, Colorado on 40m SSB (7.178 MHz). This was done with my Icom IC-7000 and my home made wire dipole antenna operating with only 50w of power. From Lafayette, LA to Boulder, CO is approximately 1008 miles. Not too bad.
For those that don’t know, a QSL is what is referred to when two radio operators make a contact and confirm the contact with each other. This usually involves confirming each others call sign, as well as at a minimum a signal report (RST) which each operator confirms with the other.
This is significant for a variety of reasons. The first is just personal in nature I believe. For me it confirmed that my studying for my license finally paid off. It confirmed that all my listening and making sure I understood proper procedures paid off. It confirmed that I am getting the hang of my radio and it showed me what a home made wire antenna is capable of. In amateur radio there are many awards you can earn through the ARRL (Amateur Radio Relay League), one is the “WAS – Worked All States”. This one is pretty self explanatory, you have to log a confirmed QSL / contact with at least one operator in all 50 states. This is what I believe many US operators first try to earn, and it is what I am working towards now.
Looks like my next order of business is going to be to make me some QSL cards to send out as I start making each contact. I have a some what ulterior motive in sending out QSL cards of my own, I just really want to get my first QSL cards in return. I’d love to get one from each of my contacts I make towards my WAS award. Many don’t seem to do the QSL cards these days due to all the electronic alternatives and cost of the cards and stamps but I’m hopeful I can still accomplish this. Such a great old tradition that I hope continues to survive along with amateur radio.