Last night I had a few minutes to operate, so I thought I would call CQ with my 20M Rock Mite. I did a little more than CQ however, as I wanted to know how the radio was getting out. First, I measured the output power. I had assumed 500 mw of output during my first QSO's with the radio but after measuring the output, it was closer to 300 mw. Secondly, I wanted to see where the radio was being heard using the Reverse Beacon Network, www.reversebeacon.net. If you've never played around with this, it is pretty cool. There is an entire network of skimmers out there that will post your frequency and callsign if you are copied calling CQ on CW.
So I called CQ with the beam pointed due north from my Boerne, TX QTH. Withing seconds the RBN spotted me calling CQ on the east coast and shortly thereafter on the west coast. Pretty cool. So clearly I was getting out fine with my 300mw. After a few CQ's, AB4QL, Barry in Alabama, called me. I swung the beam and he was a solid 559 running his KX-3. He gave me a 329, but he didn't seem to miss anything. The contact was just short of a rag chew but we had nice QSO.
After we signed with each other, I looked up Barry on QRZ.com and learned that his QTH was 820 miles from mine. At 300mw that comes out to 2,733 miles per watt. Any way you slice it, that's good mileage.