By Trippy Brown, WD8OEP
"Qrz, is the frequency in use?" I asked, then unkeyed the transmitter. I heard nothing so, I gave a cq call on 20 meters.
First time, no response back. So, I sent another cq call and unkeyed the transmitter.
I wondered, "is this thing even getting out?"
Then, to my amazement, I heard, visky delta 8, Oscar echo papa, these is victor united 3 victor quebec united, you copy?"
Did I copy him? He was 5 and 9, plus, and no qrm, no qsb either! I had worked my first dx qso from India! Never worked India since I got my ticket in 1977!
His name, Mrinal, and his qth, Calcutta!
Folks, I was in ham radio nirvana! Where did I do this wonderful qso at? On something that many hams say is not radio, but for people who live where they can'thave any hf antennas up, or, for people going mobile or portable using a laptop computer, and who have an internet connection, either through dialup, broadband, orwireless, it sure is to all of us, and that place? Cq100, of course!
In a time when HF band conditions are absolutely horrible, and folks are getting out of our glorious hobby because of it, and in a time when folks are sick and tiredof talking local on 2 meters, and in a time when band conditions on hf are so bad, with contesters not being able to hear each other, and still wanting to participate incontests, I, this ham who lives in an apartment building where I have tried every HF antenna known to mankind and none of them worked, was now sitting here,working the world!
I could have sent him a qsl card and gotten one back, but I don't get into qsl cards.
I also participated in the Michigan qso party, and worked 7 contacts, 1 after the other, too! I also worked the cqm international dx contest, the weekend of May10, and made 24 qs in that contest! So much for not being able to participate in contesting any more, now I could again!
Cq100 is a wonderful program that lets licensed hams use their desktop, or laptop computer as an hf rig, virtually! You read that right. Folks, I don't have to worryabout sunspots, or band conditions being terrible. They never are! qrm? It never exists, because of digital tuning. Every time you press the right or left arrow key,you go up or down 1 kc at a time, and if there is a station a kc below or above you, you don't hear that station! So much for splatter! As a contester, I can contestall I want, and I don't cause interference to any other station, because of that same digital tuning, because stations above me or below me cannot hear me, so nosplatter, so interference from contesters is not a problem, so folks can have their qsos or run nets.
On old fashion HF, people can't hear stations because of powerful stronger stations below or above them, whereas on cq100, I don't have problems with strongerstations splattering me so I can't hear the other station (or stations), that I'm talking with.
Qsb? What qsb. No stations fade on my receiver, none at all!
Oh, and let's talk about fluttering signals, like happens on old fashioned HF. On cq100, there is no such thing as fluttering signals that you can't hear when auroralpropagation happens, because cq100 is not affected by any propogation problems, like auroras, sunspot cycles, etc.
So, if you haven't tried cq100, please, do me a favor, go and try it, and you'll be hooked like I am!
I'm not getting paid for this article either, but I know a good thing when I use it!
Now I've been a ham, who is an avid contester, and rag chewer, since 1977, and to be honest, I was going to let my license expire this time. I couldn't work hf,and that's my bread and butter, that's where I have all my fun! I was going to sell all my equipment and just get out of the hobby.
Then, a ham told me about cq100. So, I thought to myself, what do I have to lose? If it doesn't work, I'll just get out of the hobby, no big deal.
So, I went to:
Then I downloaded and installed it on my windows xp laptop. Now I'm a blind ham, so, I had to find a work around because my screen reader, (the piece ofsoftware that reads the screen to me), wouldn't read the checkbox to accept the license agreement. But then, another blind friend of mine who is a computer geek,more than I am, told me how to check the box and agree to it, using some key strokes I didn't know about!
So, I installed it, and since I already had an account set up with Doug, ve3efc, the inventor and author of cq100, I clicked on the cq100 icon on my desktop, and abox came up for me to type my password. It knew my call sign already, since Doug strictly enforces the rule that hams must send a copy of their license to him, orthey don't get to use the software.
So, I made that cq call on 20 meters, and I began a qso with my new Indian ham friend!
It's even better than echo link, because of no ports or routers to configure. You just go to the web site, set up your account, then download and install it, andyou're up and running with a free trial for 3 months! If you like it, it's $32 a year, that's it!
Anyway, back to my qso with vu3vqu! We had about a 30 minute qso. Then, in the middle of it, another ham, kb8rwi, Mike in Cadillac, Michigan, broke in, so,now we had a round table!
But Trippy, people say, this isn't real hf, you don't have an antenna up! Oh I know that, and I also don't have any swr issues, and I don't have to worry abouttuning rigs, and I don't have to worry about tubes blowing up on old rigs, and I don't worry about weather problems causing my antenna to blow down, or wetconnections, making my swr go through the roof, either!
Yes, my friends, that's the joy of it. Now, I can just be a ham and have my contesting or rag chewing fun, and none of those above things to worry about!
Yes, I've got my ham radio hobby back, and now, I can say, I am in it to stay!
I can go mobile, or portable, too.
Right now though, I've been using it from my home location.
So, if you contesters are looking for a place to make your qs, there it is!
You rag chewers out there, if you're tired of qrm and qsb and bad band conditions, download and install the cq100 software, you'll be saying, "man, I got myhobby back!"
There are over 200000 hams who use it, world wide, and now it's heading toward 300000!
Now that I've got my contesting fever again, I subscribed to Bruce Horn's contest calendar, which you can get via email. Bruce, wa7bnm, is an avid contester, likemyself.
Now that I had my hobby back, I couldn't wait to fire up my computer and get on the hf bands, and my first chance would come April 18, 2009, working theMichigan qso party. I absolutely love that contest!
So, on Saturday evening, I fired up the laptop, and went on 20 meters. I worked 7 stations in a row! These folks were new to contesting, but they wanted to learn,so, I told them about the contest, and they gave me the exchange that I needed! I worked 3 states, and 2 dx countries that night!
The West Virginia station told me, "I'm going to have to use this when our qso party comes up in June." I worked a station in California, who told me he was acontester, and would use it to work the California qso party in October.
Now, I can't wait to get Bruce's emailed contest calendar each week, because now, I will be able to work different contests I'm interested in!
More and more hams will not be able to put up antennas, because we're all getting older now, and apartment buildings and condos, and nursing homes don't let youput them up. But now, every ham has an hf alternative.
With cq100, you can run phone, cw, and psk31.
I've worked the world, and had many qsos and many round tables!
I have no antenna problems any more, and I get on hf any time I feel like! Oh, is it liberating!
I can work 10, 15, 20, 40, 75, and 80 meters!
My antenna is the Internet, and by the way, any of you folks out there having TVI problems? I have no more TVI problems with neighbors!
I don't have problems hearing stations through static crashes, as well!
I can work HF anytime and anywhere, that I want!
In a time when our ham radio hobby is declining, and young people like computers and voice chat, more than putting up antennas for hf, and all the problems wehams face, such as antenna restrictions, etc., let's give these youngsters something about ham radio they can relate too, and they can relate to computers and theinternet, right?
You can even use vox, or ptt, your choice!
For cw, cq100 lets you use your keyer, a straight key, or the built in keyboard on your computer, to send anywhere from 5 to 100 words per minute!
So, if you're a contester, I hope to work you, real soon, on the hf bands. If you're a rag chewer, I hope to have a nice qso with you, very soon!
Where will I be contesting and rag chewing in my shack? I'll be doing it on cq100!
73, and I'll see you on the air, real soon!