I just had my first QSO with my ZIA transceiver! Contact was with W8ERN in Brighton Michigan, which is approximately 300 miles from my QTH in Nashville Indiana. W8ERN said I was barely audible and was surprised that he could hear me at all. Especially when he found out that I was running less than 5W on an end-fed wire. From what I heard, band conditions were pretty poor due to a magnetic storm.
Sorry I didn't get any video of the QSO. I heard him calling CQ and just answered. I didn't expect him to return my call. Btw, this was my first QSO as an amateur. I was a bit nervous, I don't know why. I plan on installing a 40M dipole before winter sets in so, hopefully my signal will get out a little further.
I have one other question. I am considering purchasing a used rig in the next few months. What would either one of you recommend? I am not abandoning my home-brewing but it would be nice to have a back up rig when conditions are bad. My budget is around $200 or so, and I don't mind something that might need some repairs. There is a hamfest in Fort Wayne(my hometown) next month, so I might go up there and do some shopping.
Thanks again for all of your encouragement and knowledge.
Congratulations on your first contact on the TIA AND your 1st contact as a ham. Bravo. Time to have a real celebration. Get cracking on that antenna before you have snow on the ground!!!
W8ERN, Angelo is an outstanding amateur and and a real gentleman. He has a very interesting past life. I think he worked for Multi Elmac and Central Electronics. During the 1940’s to 1960’s these companies produced some of the best ham gear. The AF-67 Transciter and the PMR8 were used mobile and of course the CE 100V and 200V were the first No Tune vacuum tube transmitters. So you were talking to one of the radio gods.
Again Congratulations Dean --- Bravo.
Wow that's great. Indeed the band conditions are about as bad as they get. So bad that they are seeing Northern Lights (Aurora) far south into the USA. Give it a few days and you will find much better conditions.
My advice on a commercial rig: DON'T! You may think that they'd do better when conditions are poor, but they really won't. If you want a bit more power, build an amp for the TIA.
You are off to such an amazing start as a true homebrew ham. Stay on the homebrew path. Build a completely homebrew station! Congrats!