My son and his family are at a campground 70 miles east of here. We figured the old wire over the tree trick and 40 meters would suffice for us to make a quick contact or two. But between thunderstorms and band conditions we’ve had no such luck. After failing to work him last night, I stayed on 40 but went looking for some Phone Fray activity.

Nothing but static crashes and crickets…

In that moment I was tempted to say that 40 meters had become unreliable during this long solar minimum. But ‘unreliable’ isn’t the right word. ‘Unpredictable’ better describes what we’ve been experiencing. The band goes long much earlier than it used to. And let’s face it, that weird, rapid fading is making the band a lot tougher to love…

Closing in on midnight (my local time) I saw a crowd near the bottom of the band. It was 1A0C working the pile at 7.004. He was operating split, so I set things up to give him a call. But this was the first time I’ve used the new IC-7610 in split and I ended up calling him on his frequency, and not just once, but several times.

I kept hearing “someone” being called a LID. Turns out, it was me. That snafu corrected, I finally started calling him UP as he requested but he never seemed to hear me despite his solid signal.

Ashamed and tired, I was about to pull the plug and hit the rack when I tuned across HA8RM calling CQ on 7.009. Peter is in my log several times. He’s got a great fist and a fantastic station. If you can’t work him or F6HKA then you just can’t work Europe.

I chatted a moment with Peter, his friendly fist was salve for my LID embarrassment and it didn’t take long to repent and admit that while 40 meters has been acting odd lately, I still really like it.