For the first time in years I got on the air on New Year's eve. I fired up the HT-37 and Drake 2-B on 20 meters last night right at 0001 UTC (well, with these rigs I should say GMT!). There was a moment of stress when, as I was trying to adjust the key, the whole thing fell apart and the little ball bearings spilled out. Yikes! It was as if the radio gods were trying to tell me something. It took me a few minutes to re-assemble my straight key, then I called CQ. The HT-37 puts out a lot more power than I normally emit, and it caused the Carbon Monoxide detector to go off, sparking a minor panic among family members. (See, this never happens with QRP!) With that resolved I had nice QSOs with K5KFK in Texas, W6VNR in California, and N1WPU in Maine. This morning I worked WA0ZDE in Missouri. The old HT-37 was drifting a bit, but Rick said he kind of liked that. (I put a muffin fan on top of the transmitter -- that should settle it down a bit). By the way, my key is a bit unusual: it is just a cheapo key, but I have it mounted on the base from a Vibroplex bug. I never mastered the Vibroplex, and ended up giving the bug parts to HI8G in Santo Domingo -- Gustavo planned on using them to fix another bug that had been given to him years before by Fred Laun (K3ZO).
Rick, WA0ZDE ( who I talked to on 20 this morning) sent me a VERY SKN photo collage (see below). I see that Rick also tends to hold onto his gear for a long time.
HNY to all! GL in 14. 73!
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