I don't do a lot of amateur radio operating over the summer months with the exception of Field Day or the occasional Straight Key Sprint. At some point in the early summer before Field Day I like to set up my portable station and do a shakedown operating session to make sure everything is working properly with my gear.
In past years I have set up at my father's place up on the shores of Lake Erie or even simply out in my backyard. This year I drug my station to the RoadQueen's house and we threw up a wire antenna to a big tree in the yard. I set up the transceiver and telegraph key on her coffee table.
That weekend a special event called the Museum Ships Weekend Event was going on and I hoped to log a contact with one or more stations participating. I enjoy WW2 history and this event is full of it. As a history buff and radio enthusiast I find it a very unique experience to communicate with other amateur operators aboard these old naval vessels sometimes even using the ship's original radio equipment.
My first contact was WW2IND. Unfortunately the U.S.S. Indianapolis was sunk during the war so the club operating the event was set up near the ship's memorial in the town the ship was named after. It took a while to receive the QSL card in the mail that confirmed our radio contact but eventually it showed up as a pleasant surprise in my mail box.
How the second contact came about was a real thrill. After searching around the band a while listening for ship stations to call and not finding any I settled on a clear frequency to call CQ myself hoping to make contact with any ham station. After my first call I was promptly answered by a loud and clear signal with the call sign WW2DEM. Holy Cow! A World War Two destroyer had just answered my CQ call!
Maybe the operator Stan had been calling earlier on the frequency and was taking a break or something and then heard my call coming across the receiver. As is proper procedure I had listened for a couple minutes when I first arrived on 7.114 MHz to make sure the frequency was not in use so I was surprised when the ship station answered my call so suddenly.