Sometimes you just can’t go by what the propagation numbers tell you. Last fall when we were seeing sunspot counts topping 200 and solar flux counts near 200 I just wasn’t able to contact Australia nor New Zealand though they were blasting into SoCal clear into the early evening hours. So imagine the shock I received Saturday afternoon as I’m sitting in the Kmart parking lot and I hear a VK4 station calling CQ, I answer his call and on the first attempt I get this…

Yes, that is a stock FT-817 I’m using, barely 5-Watts out. Antenna used was an ATX Walkabout mounted on the roof using a MFJ BNC magnetic mount. For power a fold-up 15W solar panel, 10A solar charger and a 9Ah Solid Lead Acid (SLA) battery. The entire system is completely portable and stores neatly in my backpack.

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