First Pile-up! July 16, 2011

I’ve heard about pile-ups, but had not run across any until Saturday morning, July 16; around 1430 or 1500 Universal time (7:30 or 8am here on the West coast USA).

Woman Lounging on Sofa listening to a radio with headphones

I was dialing slowly through the 20 meter band and came across a pretty clear voice with an accent I didn’t recognize. This was on frequency 14.197.7MHz. His call ended quickly and right away two other guys tried to call him. He replied to one of them. Again their call was very brief, giving signal reports mostly. This time there were four or five guys trying to call him. I’ve never heard more than two or three people trying to call someone at the same time and even when I’ve heard that it was mostly on Field Day a month ago. I heard the highly-in-demand voice say he was in KOREA! That is 5000 miles away and is the furthest ham I’ve ever picked up. I didn’t get his call sign nor what power or antenna he was using. After his next call, there were more voices than I could count, all at different volume levels and all trying to reach the Korean contact. This is what hams call a “pile-up”. I’ve not heard one before. It was exciting to have been one of the earlier people to hear this Korean ham – before the “pile-up” really got going. It was exciting to hear someone so far away. Up until now, I had picked up Hawaii twice and Japan once and Australia once, though those last two were two years ago when I first got a ham radio and got my operator’s license.

Some of the guys I heard very clearly calling the Korean ham, were: K1QS from Maine – 2500 miles East of here! (He was the greatest distance continental ham I’ve ever picked up. He did manage to connect with Korea – and those two are about 7500 miles apart! Also, I clearly heard AC0O (alpha charley zero oscar) New Mexico at 1100 miles from me. W6KM in San Jose California came in loud and clear; that’s 475 miles. Finally, KY7W from Tempe Arizona, a distance of 950 miles.

Obviously radio propagation conditions were better than I’ve encountered to date. There have been about 3 days in May June and July so far which were pretty good for longer distance radio signals. Two years ago in Spring 2009, when I first started, I had one good day in about three months.

I will admit that I thought about trying to contact Mr Korea. (I’ve never transmitted with my radio yet). I didn’t though because I have not finished working on the quality microphone with amplifier project that I’ve been putting together. At the moment all I have working is the stock hand microphone that comes with the ICOM 730 radio. I’m fussy about audio quality so I am holding back on making my first transmission/contact until I have the better microphone/audio system working.

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3 pings

  1. Gino Mcwilliams says:

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  2. Bobette N5IS says:

    I am enjoying your website! I am a science teacher, too, and teach math as it is needed (which is often). I don’t get on the air much, but my husband Jerome K5IS and I launch weather balloons to the edge of space and get them back (most of the time). When you do get on the air, there are YL nets out there, one on Thursday, and it is fun talking to other women!
    The picture is great, and I look forward to seeing what else you add to your site.


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