Last night I had been using the Drake TR-7 again on the bands and decided to try calling CQ on 17m SSB. The band was empty but a few spots existed on the cluster from some big station in Europe. I was surprised to be calling CQ for only a moment when K7PN came back to the call from California. I wish I had been on a radio that allowed me to turn down the power for QRP.
Being quite pleased I carried on and was called by a few other stations and the weak spot in the Drake was easily seen, the lack of a preamp made some of the signals too weak on the vertical antenna, it was quite clear I was transmitting enough but the Drake could just not keep up. I may have to check over its alignment again.
This led me to start altering around the shack again to allow me to get the Drake on the test bench to get it aligned up. For the time being I pressed the FT-1000MP Mark V back into service and sat the FT-847 up on top of it. I forgot how wonderful the RX on the FT-1000 can be and it can be turned down very low on output power. I will have a play with it over the next few days until I have some of that precious spare time to spend a few hours on the Drake with all the test gear set up.
In other news I still had no need to use the amplifier even for some substantial DX with a vertical ground mounted antenna.