Contest Point Giving for Christmas

The weather was too nice to sit inside. In the low 70’s with a very slight breeze so after church and a short nap I headed out to try my hand at giving out points in the QRP ARCI Homebrew Sprint. My startup was delayed by curious folks in the lakeside park wondering what in the world I was doing and how I got that string and wire so high up in the nice tall pine trees!

HB Sprint 2011 daylight
Next to the Lake in the Sun

I checked 40m first with an inverted L end fed half wave and my trusty Stuner (KI6S Stu’s kit) and decided to change to 20m after not hearing much activity. 20m was decent and there were a few of the big gun qrp contest regulars shooting it out. N4BP, K4BAI, K0ZK and a few other were running stations while the little guys like me were mostly doing Search and Pounce. Hey it is fun even if you cannot run a frequency, right?

Sun went down about 1745 local and the mosquitos were quick to find the hole in my hat and attack. This time I remembered the repellant and after a few bites I took time to spray my hat and hair and the backs of my hands. The temperature dropped fast and my hands got a bit stiff pounding out the morse code on my J-47 straight key. 50 degrees is cold for a Florida evening. The darkness also brought out the raccoon family and it was fun to shine my flashlight on them and watch them stand on their hind legs and stare into the night wondering what the funny guy was doing in the dark.

Almost dark
Sun is almost outta sight

40m came to life after sunset and I finished with a respectable 20 contacts for about 3 hours of operation and was able to give some Christmas contacts to the needy fellow contesters who were chasing another certificate. What a great way to spend the afternoon… by the lake in the sun and outdoors playing radio.


  1. says

    Good morning, sound like a good time was had other than the bugs and it’s good the animal life kept their distance. It was nice to see the warm pictures and to read of the great temp’s you are having down there. Very nice pictures as well.

  2. kmack says

    Yes, it was good to connect on the air! Too bad the band was starting to go a bit long and there was a good bit of QRM on you at times, but fun to connect. I also forgot to Grrrrrr to a fellow Polar Bear! Grrrrrr 2x! Merry Christmas!
    Kelly K4UPG

  3. kmack says

    Sorry we didn’t connect on the air. Weather has been great and I hope to get back out over the Christmas weekend. Too nice to stay inside especially when the bands are good. I’m warming up my Argonaut 509 for SKN. Hope to hear you on the air.
    Kelly K4UPG

  4. kmack says

    I use a slingshot and 1.5 oz fishing sinker. Using an archery reel and some very slick and strong braided fishing line from Cabela’s, it slides through pine tar and bark better than monofiliament that I used to use. Then I pull up the wire or a plumbline to use to anchor the line. I can routinely get 50ft height with the slingshot and actually can hit the spot I aim for about 80% of the time now. I have a picture of both of those methods on the blog at or do a search on the blog for reel and you’ll see it and the End Fed Half Wave tuner that I often use with my reels of wire marked for various bands I operate. To change bands I just drop the antenna, change the length off the reel and pull it back into the air. For 40m I sort of favor the inverted L or V over the long sloper for ease of use.

    Give it a try if you aren’t too close to people, cars or homes that you might hit with a loose sinker. I shoot relatively vertical so it comes down within 25-30 feet of where I am standing but takes some practice to get the feel of it. Get a slingshot with the arm brace which folds up for transport as it helps steady your shot.

    Kelly K4UPG

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