On Saturday night I was trolling around the old Novice portion of the 40 meter band (7.100-7.125) trying to avoid the RTTY contest with loud signals that appeared in the waterfall like an invading army. I’ve enjoyed more than a handful of interesting QSO’s in this part of the band lately and tonight was no exception.

I answered a CQ that turned out to be K3RLL calling.

Over the next 45 minutes I learned that Don was in Florida for the Winter. He lives in Pennsylvania when there’s no chance of snow. He was using an old TS-520 that he had sold to a friend long ago. When that friend became a Silent Key some years later, Don got it back. He was using it with a 1944 Telegraph Apparatus CP-810 bug that’s been modified to get it down below 20 WPM.

After our enjoyable QSO I kept thinking his call seemed familiar, but it wasn’t until later, when I added him to my electronic log, that I noticed we had worked once before, in the Leaf Peepers QRP event last Fall.

I’ve since learned that Don is an active QRPer and his exploits appear from time-to-time in the NAQCC newsletter. I sent him an email to let him know about our previous QSO and I told him again how much I enjoyed our conversation. He replied quickly and included photos of the 520 and the old bug he was using.

As far as I’m concerned, that’s as good as ham radio gets. Kinship, shared experiences, camaraderie and friendships. I worked him on Saturday and look at me, still smiling about it on Wednesday morning.

Radio isn’t always magic, but when it is, it’s good for the soul.