A few months ago I acquired a used IC-735 from my boss, and other than getting it hooked up and using it for the occasional bit of RX, I haven’t actually powered it up and done any QSOs with it. Part of the reason is my inherent “mic-fright”, but I also know that my impossibly low and decrepit 40m dipole is simply the wrong thing to use. I’ve been thinking of making a better antenna for the higher bands (20m, 17m, 15m, and 10m) but I haven’t gotten around to it.
But today, I was spinning around on 15m, and heard the T32C station calling. I’ve been reading a lot about how easy they were to work, so I thought I’d give it a try. I summoned up some courage and responded to the call for CQ. “Kilo Six Hotel X-Ray”. No dice. I gave it a couple of more tries. It was obvious he wasn’t hearing me.
After 10 minutes, I spun the dial down to 17m and hunted to see if I could find him there. I heard him calling on 18.145, operating split and listening 5khz up. A few minutes of fumbling made me figure out how to operate split on the IC-735, and I called him.
Bam. Immediate success. We exchanged 5-9 signal reports, and he goes in the log book.
This was also my first contact logged on 17m.
When the QSO was done, I tried to remember exactly where Christmas Island was. I was initially confused, because it turns out there are two islands known as Christmas Island. The first (and the one where T32C is operating from) is Kiritimati, in the mid-Pacific. The other Christmas Island is an Australian territory, and lies north west of Australia in the Indian Ocean.
I should really pay more attention to geography.
Here’s a picture Kiritimati, taken from the ISS: