FT8 QSOs from Utah!

Working HF from my current base location has been a bit difficult due to the available locations for antennas being rather limited and all indoors. (I live in a tiny apartment.)

However, last week I spent a few days in Utah for a wedding in the family and had the opportunity to make quite a number of HF contacts on FT8 from a park in Ogden, a church lawn in Orem, and even from the roof of my parked car outside my hotel!

I logged contacts from Canada, California, Washington, Mexico, Oregon, to name a few.

But my favorite one was made with a station (K7NWF) here in Arizona that I just can’t hit from Arizona due to the bounce distance being about 500 miles on 20m. We sail right over each other’s heads normally, and we had unsuccessfully been trying to make a FT8 or FT4 contact for 4 days, but Saturday night as the sun was going down, we watched our signals shorten, hitting closer and closer till we finally popped up on each other’s digital signal reports.

WSJT-X QSO Window with K7NWF
PSKReporter – KJ7DJR Signal Received by K7NWF
Daylight almost gone when we finally made contact on 20m

I was using my Comet HFJ-350M compact multi-band antenna planted on the roof of my car right outside my hotel room and my radio in the trunk. The radio I was using was a Xiegu G90, along with a SignaLink USB Soundcard.

Operating out of the “Ham Shack in the Trunk” earlier in the week

Other QSO’s over those few days also used a Wolf River Coil Screwdriver antenna where space permitted a pretty large radial ground plane footprint, but that really wasn’t possible to set up at the hotel since the space is tight in the parking lot and there is not much lawn. (I really didn’t want anyone running over my radial wires or antenna!)

All in all it was very rewarding to finally be on my way to my first award (I’m within 5 confirmed contacts of the QRZ.com World Radio Friendship Award) and it’s terrific to finally be working HF.

Thank you to Norm, Don, and all my other Elmers who’ve helped me graduate into the Skywave arena.