Having set up the new portable antenna in the backyard on Monday evening, I left it in place so I could take it for another spin on Tuesday morning. I had few expectations though a ham radio friend here in town had been telling me of his recent morning DX success on 15 meters. That was enough to have me curious and a ground mounted vertical was just off the patio…

There was another motivation — hunting POTA action. I had come to enjoy that during the lock-down days of the pandemic and though I got off to a good start in this New Year, the calculus has changed a bit for me and I haven’t been engaged lately. The thought of operators using trail-friendly equipment to make radio contacts from the woods is pretty compelling.

More recently the practice seems to have evolved into a less primitive form of radio than in earlier days. I suppose this was to be expected as the popularity of this activity skyrocketed and signs of famine has come to a place where CW enthusiasts once feasted with FT8 now accounting for more of the activity.

I visited the POTA spot page and saw that there were twenty-three activations underway and applying the CW filter that number shrunk to four. Good enough, I began hunting them using the KX3 at ten watts into the CHA-MPAS Lite antenna in the vertical configuration. In less than thirty-minutes I had bagged three stations before moving on to checkout 15 meters.

40M	KD9FM	WI	Harrington Beach State Park	K-1454
20M	WC1N	MA	Massasoit State Park 	K-2446
40M	WW4N	TN	Manhattan Project (Oak Ridge) K-4376

It was chilly with enough of a breeze on the patio that I wasn’t looking for a long session. One scan up and down the band would sate my desire to visit 21 MHz. I was surprised to find several QSOs already in progress. I tuned across these but stopped at a really big signal calling CQ that turned out to be Frank, DL5UZ.

I gave him a call and we chatted. Really chatted. This was not the typical “599 TU” contact. It was my first actual rag chew with a DX station in at least two years and I couldn’t have been more delighted. I felt bad that it was me who finally brought our QSO to a close due to it being nearly time to meet a friend for lunch.

That simple 15 meter CW contact with a fellow ham across the Atlantic was enough to keep a smile on my face for the rest of the day. I can’t explain it. In some ways it is magic and it’s what has kept me in this hobby for more than forty-years…