Being in the right place at the right time

I happened to look at my emails and noticed that someone had posted to an email reflector I’m a member of that 5I3W (Tanzania) was on 20m SSB. The post had been made just a few minutes earlier so I switched on the wireless and tuned to the appropriate frequency.

I was just in time to hear Nuria say she was going QRT and switching to FT8. I had no idea what band she’d be on or whether she’d be operating in the normal segment or on a different frequency using the Fox/Hound mode of operation.

I took a punt, I tuned down to 14,074.000 kHz and quickly added 14,090.000 kHz to the frequencies in WSJT-X, enabled ‘hound’ mode and switched over to that frequency. This process took me around a minute and a half.

Thirty seconds after doing this, a single solitary signal appeared at the bottom of my waterfall. It wasn’t 5I3W but instead it was 5I3B, her husband Josep.

I double clicked his callsign and waited for any response… Had he heard me or not? The reply came back and yes, he sent me a signal report of +15 which is really quite strong for FT8 especially considering I didn’t have the amplifier on.

I replied, he sent me an RR73 and that was it, the QSO was complete. I have Tanzania in the log already so this wasn’t an all time new one but it was a welcome new mode slot.

The waterfall lit up after that with other stations calling.

I like it when everything comes together like this.

Here’s the screen capture of the QSO where you can clearly see how quickly this all happened. You can clearly see where I fired up the software on the initial frequency, when I changed over to where I guessed they’d be operating and where we completed the contact.

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