WIIGII! Tonight I had my first QSOs with the new station! I was considering CW but I was feeling a bit sheepish about trying because I'm so out of practice right now. So I dragged out my homebrew sound card interface and homebrew CI-V level converter and hooked them up to the IC-718. A bit of fussing got everything working correctly (why is sound still so hard to get right in Linux?). 80 seemed like my best bet at 0200 local, so I fired up fldigi and double-clicked on the 3580 kHz line in the rig control window. I did a bit of tuning up on 3581, then fired off a PSK31 CQ. Right off the bat I got an answer from N4YZ in North Carolina. Not bad for 20 watts into a 70-foot piece of wire tossed up into the tree! It was especially nice since I can't even remember the last time I had a QSO on 80. The QSB was really bad, so Tommie would be S9 at some intervals and completely gone at others. After a short QSO, I QSYed up to 40 meters and tried again. After a handful of CQs, I got a reply from K5DEY in Bedford, Texas. He had a very strong signal, but there was still some QSB on 40. We still managed to have a nice chat for about 20 minutes before Baxter woke up and started harassing me.
It was a great morning for ham radio and I'm as pleased as punch. Later this weekend I'm going to have to try a few CW QSOs...perhaps I'll try some SKCC contacts since I haven't racked up any of those in quite a while either. Since fldigi has a ton of digimodes built-in, I'm tempted to try some others as well. I guess I should also get my fill of operating and try some SSB as well. What madness!