Well I finally did it. It has only been ten years, probably closer to eleven. I am looking for my log book to confirm this and add a new CW contact. About an hour and a half ago I heard a reasonably slow signal calling CQ on 7.050 MHz. To my surprise I turned on the keyer and tuned-up just up the band a bit. The signal was still there when I returned and although I felt rather nervous I answered.
The contact was between Carthage, Missouri and here, near Nashville, Tennessee. He gave me a 589 and I gave him a 599. The signal did drop out on the second go round a bit, but I was able to copy just fine. My contact had a bit more trouble due to QRM and after that we said 73 and signed off. I think he was also running QRP?
There has been some thought given to operating QRP Field Day two weeks from today. I think that had a lot to do with me getting on and making a contact. Of course hearing a very nice slow, steady fist helped a lot as well.
In regard to field day I have been thinking about just how to go about doing it. Even though I am planning on just operating out in the back yard, I do want to operate in full emergency mode. I have considered purchasing a solar panel to charge a deep cycle battery. This should be pretty easy running only five watts and a light bulb. I am currently thinking that I will skip the computer aided logging and just do it the old fashion way.
Solar panel prices do not seem to be too bad. I have been looking online for both panels and information on how others have done it. We will see how it goes. The solar aspect would be nice, but if it does not work out this year I think I still want to operate with battery power. Maybe I can get by with just daytime operation or LED lighting.