Twenty meters was quiet last night. It was empty as usual. RBN told me it had been open to both NA and Eu at the same time, though. Having repeated calling CQ for 2 or 3 times, I was called by several statessides in a row. Mostly old friends.
Among them, a QSO with Frank K0EJ was most impressive to me. He told he had moved to Fla where he could put up a small tribander on the roof. With barefoot, he seems to believe he is running only a tiny station. I could feel how excited he was being able to work with a JA with his set up. He seemed to quit as soon as he had finished sending a series of messages stereotyped as a rubber stamp to me. I told him his small set up was doing fine and I could read him perfect. Then he told me he had worked me many times as KA0GGI when he was in Missouri, I was not sure of his former QTH. Yes, this call sign sounded familiar and, since my PC log won't cover QSOs that long time ago, I looked it up in my index notebook. It told me we had first met in 1990. A long time ago. We were pleased to have this reunion after that long hiatus. In the end of the QSO, his signal was with deep and fast QSB and QRM, which made it a bit tough to read him. Until the very last moment of the QSO, I could understand what he had felt with this QSO. A really rare occasion of pleasure on CW nowadays.
The other QSOs with those like K4DGJ, W2MV or W9AC etc were as impressive as this one with Frank. It is always good to know how they are doing and to renew our friendship. It was a bit funny that most of them complained of lowered activity of CW. No exception. Yes, FT8 has brought some activity of CW into it. No competetion nor dislike with/for this new mode. Those who has been interested in this new mode must have operated CW in order to get as many entities as possible. They are not those interested in conversational CW.
Last month, I knew Erik SM0AGD had gone SK. He used to be active from various rare ones between 1970s and early 2000s. It was always fun for me to chase him those days. He sometimes added a few words to stereotypic report even from those rare countries. I have met him on the air only once or twice when he operated from his aprtment in SM0 land. I still respected him for his proficiency of operation and his personality. I have met him in person at a DX convention in Tokyo around 1990. He was what I had imagine about. A real great person. Hearing this sad news of his SK, I realized again most great operators like him those days had gone SK or inactive now. Like VK9NS, ZL1AMO, DK7PE or G3SXW etc. The latter two are still alive, I know. But the good old days have gone away now.
Treasuring every QSO last night, I was thinking of this declining of CW or even of ham radio. The great days have been going away.