I made my 50,000th QSO as a licenced radio amateur today. Recently, I had noticed that my QSO count was steadily increasing from 45,000, and then 46,000, and so on. As of Thursday, I had reached 49,990. Yesterday, I made another nine QSOs to bring the total to 49,999. I wanted to wait until something special came along for the 50,000th contact.
I was unable to spend long in the shack this morning as I was heading out to play music. In the ten minutes I was at the radio, I watched the DX clusters to see if there was anything interesting to work. Seeing nothing special, I decided to "spin the VFO" on my Icom IC-7300.
On the 12 metre band, I listened on the SSB portion and spun the dial to find out if I could hear anything that might make a good 50,000th QSO. I looked at the spectrum scope and could see some activity around 24.940Mhz. I tuned in to the station and could quickly hear that someone was calling CQ. But who?
"CQ CQ, CQ 12 metres, this is Echo Alpha Five Bravo Romeo Echo, Echo Alpha Five Bravo Romeo Echo, CQ, Q ..."
I recognised the callsign immediately. Luis, EA5BRE, gave me my very first QSO on HF the day I got my ham licence, way back in October 2009. On that day, I received my new callsign af around 4.45pm on what was a Friday evening. I had just left work and was heading home. I worked my good friend, the late EI4DIB (Tony) on the Dundalk 2m repeater (on 145.675) on the way home. My callsign back then was EI8GHB. When I got home, I found the higher bands all dead and there was very little activity on the phone sections of 40 metres and 80 metres. Back then, I did not know CW (something I learned in the winter of 2009-2010 and, having passed my morse test in February 2010, I got my new callsign EI2KC in early March 2010).
There are only two callsigns in my log for the evening of 30th October 2009, the day I got my licence. They are EI4DIB and EA5BRE. I worked Luis on 7.121 Mhz LSB, my first HF contact as a licenced ham! It was 23:17 UTC, so quite late in the evening.
Luis and I have had only one other QSO in the intervening years - a 17m SSB QSO in June 2017. Luis lives in Alicante and is an active DXer with 10-band DXCC.
Today's QSO was very special, because of the way I unintentionally stumbled upon his CQ. I felt it was immensely coincidental and just HAD to work him as QSO #50,000, given that he had been my very first HF contact when I began my ham radio activity from this shack 13 years ago.
Here is a short video of some of my QSO with Luis today: