The CW version of the North America QSO Party took place yesterday. I’ve always enjoyed the NAQP because of the 100 watt power limit and the easy exchange. But at this particular moment in the transition state of my shack and antenna garden, there’s nary an aerial installed on my property right now. Nada. Zip.
So while I was aware that the contest was taking place, I busied myself with other tasks. But then I got to thinking that I do have the new portable AX1 antenna for the KX3. It’s a short and stubby little fellow that covers 20/17 and with the addition of the AXE1 extender, it’s supposed to cover 40 as well. Hmmmm…
Out comes the KX3 from the protective pouched I stored it in a few months ago. The 12V/6Ah (LiFePO4) battery from Bioenno had held its last charge. I unpacked the AX1 and extender, stretched a single counterpoise wire across the floor from the kitchen into the living room. Things setup on the kitchen table and with the telescoping antenna fully extended and the KX3 on the table, the antenna was just a few inches from the ceiling.
I turned the transceiver on, fairly certain that I would be able to hear stations using an indoor antenna, but had very low-expectations of being heard. Fifteen minutes later I had five stations in the log. All on 40 CW with just 5 watts out using the small antenna. An hour or so later I went back to the well and worked five more. Later in the evening I went back a final time hoping to work another five and call it quits. But signals were much weaker now and I only managed three more.
I ended the day with 13 stations in the log. Six different states (PA, FL, MD, VA, NC, MN) plus one Canadian (ON). The SFI was 73 and I thought conditions on 40 were a little better than normal.
And mind you, this wasn’t an effort where I had to call and call to be heard. All told I had less than an hour of time at the table. Most answered my first call, only a few required a single repeat.
I’m still grinning about the performance of the AX1 with the extender for 40 meters. Surely a wire antenna would easily outperform it, but I bought it specifically for those times when I just want to walk into a park or the backyard, plop the KX3 on a picnic table and make a few contacts without having to install another antenna.
This combo sure seemed to work admirably, from inside my house and now I’m anxious to get it outside to see if it can drop my jaw again. Maybe on Winter Field Day…