FOBB Ain’t Broke… SO…
July 26th, 2010 by kmack

Various QRP related email reflectors and lists are full of chatter about the Flight Of the BumbleBees (FOBB). Comments about the CW being too fast and the weather being too hot at this time of year make it sound like a broken event. IMHO it is far from being broken! It is probably the premier QRP event of the year. And I say, if it ain’t broke… yep, you guessed it, don’t fix it.

Sunday the bands were full of QRP ops, both home based and portable, so the activity really did make a BUZZ despite band conditions that have not been all that helpful to hf qrp contacts.  The weather was HOT, but hey, find some shade, altitude or water and go for it. Historically this is the time of year for this event and as others have commented, it keeps our activity up during the summer time when vacations and mowing the grass take their toll on ham radio activity.

As far as fast cw, I’m not fast (not even close hi hi), but it sure is fun listening to the buzz on the bands rather than QRN and a high noise level with only a few weak signals. Certainly I am not a hard core contester. My cw skills are still in need of practice, but isn’t that what events like this provide? I often have to listen multiple times to get the callsign and info but that repetition and practice pushes my speed and confidence level up every time I try. After listening to a fast op several times I have the info I need and then I jump in and have fun making a contact at speeds faster than my comfort zone. Most of us slow guys can send faster than we can receive, right? Come on in, the water is fine, and FUN!

My XYL, Connie and I drove over to Honeymoon Island State Park on the Gulf Coast in Dunedin, Florida. This is a very pretty beach, not overly crowded most of the time and has been one of the top rated beaches in the US for several years. The weather cooperated, there was no sign of the BP oil spill that has run so many tourists to other locations, and we snagged a primo spot to operate right next to the water.The only negative, if you call it that, was that the view was sometimes distracting, but sure was enjoyable.

K4UPG Distracting View from my FOBB 10 Site

K4UPG Distracting View from my FOBB 10 Site

K4UPG Honeymoon Island FOBB Site July 2010

My trusty Sierra and Buddistick provided plenty of action so I never switched over to my mini-bac Delta Loop backup antenna. I also stuck to 20m the whole contest since 40m has been in such poor condition here in Florida lately.

One of the great things about these events is the leveling of the playing field. It is fun to contact the guys that write the articles, create the websites and design the equipment that we use for our hobby. My score was modest at 26 QSO’s, 18 Bumblebees and 17 states and provinces but it was one fantastic day of activity for me! Being able to connect with the big guns of QRP was a thrill too!

W8DIZ Stops By to say Hello to K4UPG

K4UPG search and pounce FOBB 10

For me, one of the highlights was when W8DIZ rode over to meet me as I was setting up my site. Diz lives about 3.5 miles from Honeymoon island and is a regular bicycle visitor of this great beach location. I’ve been a customer of his toroid and kit business and have benefited from the info he has shared, not to mention being one of the movers and shakers of the Famous Flying Pigs QRP group. Diz I was honored that you took time out from a busy family day to swing by and say HI! Thanks for the help getting our screen house up too!

Thanks to Adventure Radio Society and the guys that put this event on for all of us. We appreciate the effort it takes and you deserve the very best of 73′s from all of us.


Kelly K4UPG  BB #10

7 Responses  
  • John AE5X writes:
    July 27th, 20109:28 amat

    Sorry I didn’t work you Kelly – sure looks like a great spot to operate from!

  • kmack writes:
    July 27th, 201010:10 amat

    I was trying really hard to hear you and a few other of the regular QRP crew, but the bands were not workin’ that way. It seemed like skip was falling in special places at times and QSB was deep but quickly up and down. Made for fun and brief exchanges. I enjoyed the picture of your granddaughter on your blog… she is sure cute and has a great smile. I love to get our grandkids excited about our hobby.

  • Esteve writes:
    July 27th, 20101:32 pmat

    Hello Kelly,

    Nice to see your activity, beutiful place and sure you had great time there.

    hope to see conditions better soon and have the posibility to work you.

    72, Esteve EB3EPR PB#207

  • kmack writes:
    July 27th, 20101:57 pmat

    Hola Esteve! Thanks for your kind comment! I really look forward to a good BSO with you soon. GRRRRRR! 72, Kelly K4UPG PB #173

  • Alex writes:
    July 27th, 20105:18 pmat

    Hello Kelly,
    OK nice site what with the sometimes distracting views!! YOU have the right attitude about these events. You said it all I cannot add to it BUT I need to revamp my own entire attitude over the CW speeds etc and just start enjoying the qrp events. I’m not a contester so I care less whether I end up number 1 or number 201.
    I never heard you but AA1MY was loud, 579, on my 20M EFHW. I did uncover that working anyone at the 900mw level is Tuff !!!!
    Thanks for your very insightful thoughts on FOBB and all Qrp Events.
    73 Alex K5uny

  • kmack writes:
    July 27th, 20107:51 pmat

    You da man! Sorry I did not hear you either. We’ll connect again though for sure! Watts up wif da 900mw?
    Kelly K4UPG

  • Martin writes:
    August 11th, 201011:15 pmat

    Hi, Kelly.

    Wow what a nice spot.

    It’s great that Diz dropped by to see you.

    I bet the salt water gave quite a boost to your signal!

    My own blog writeup (which you have found by now) is:


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