Polar Bear Summer Picnic Event Jun 2010

My favorite QRP group is the Polar Bear QRP gang! We have a good time and enjoy outdoors activities and trying to connect with one another at least once a month with some kind of activity. To escape some of the heat, I got an early start on the day. I wanted to try out a new mini-bac antenna configuration and knew it would take some time to get it up into the trees. BOY WAS THAT AN UNDERSTATEMENT! It was 110 ft doublet with a 40 ft feedline that was setup as a ladder line. Not an easy one to get up single-handed. Thanks to some tall trees, was able to get it up about 40-45 feet in the pine trees. It loaded great on 40m, but was disappointing on 20m so I ended up setting up my W3EDP in an L from my 20 ft Jackite pole to a nearby cedar tree at about 35 feet.  The sun chased me into the treeline where I settled in to chase bears.

Abandoned mini-back doublet feedline hangs in foreground

My xyl Connie took a picture that shows the mini-back feedline hanging in the breeze after I shifted positions and setup the W3EDP in the shade. Grrrrr!

Osprey perched right above my head...cell phone picture

Was able to work a couple of the Polar Bears, Mike W3MC in MD and Guy N7UN up in the mountains on a trail(?) in NJ. I heard VA2SG but he was at ESP level briefly then faded away. I did hear a few others working him though. WA8REI was working Guy but I could not hear him at all and ended up tail ending their QSO to connect with N7UN.

Got to work a few others through the QSB and poor signal strength on 20m including Pastor Les, K4NK in SC, KE5SBZ, Ed in TX, N1FJ in MA, and Phil W3HZZ in Atlanta so it was a nice way to spend a few hours outdoors in the heat.

Connie brought me a picnic lunch and we enjoyed the osprey and bald eagle show as they fished Lake Fredrica.

Had to drink extra coffee to copy speedy W3MC's signal
This is the life... outdoors and ham radio...making QSO's...PTL!

K4UPG Back in Action!

Many work responsibilities have kept me off the air more than I’d like lately.

But we did manage to break away for a few days with family in Tennessee over Memorial Day. It was great to have an opportunity to get together with Chuck, AF4O the Hillybilly Bear and fellow Polar Bear QRP group member. We had an opportunity to work a bit of QRP portable in the Chickasaw State Forest in West Tennessee. It is a very natural and beautiful location and Chuck took me to his special spot in a very old and interesting cemetary set deep in the very tall hickory tree forest. Wow! I believe the latest date on the grave markers was 1927 and there were many from the early and mid 1800’s. It is a lovely and isolated spot.

K4UPG running a 30m EFHW sloper from the edge of the forest cemetary

Chuck said to bring along a screen shelter and I sure was glad I did! This was also a great spot for deer flies, hornets and other interesting biting bugs!

He had a nice setup and was running a random wire on 20m which he launched by throwing an antique glass insulator from an old telephone pole over a tree branch. He has a better arm than I do… think that heavy insulator would have broken my arm!

Back at the in-laws home in Jackson, I had some time to operate deck portable and was ably assisted by my niece Chloe. Conditions were horrible, but it was fun to be outside and hearing some sweet dits and dahs for a bit.

Now I am gearing up for the next outing of the Central Florida QRP group. The weather is HOT and the summer thunderstorms are back, but life and radio must go on… cu on the air!

72,

K4UPG

AF40 downs a Mountain Dew and doesn't miss a character of CW
Chloe gives me advice on copying cw through the QRN

QRP TTF 2010 * Disappointed in Orlando!

On the road again… happy feet dance! K4UPG is loaded and ready for a good day by the lake operating the QRP To The Field event for 2010.

Packed up and ready to roll
K4UPG ready to roll to QRP TTF site
Kitchen Sink Approach
Loaded with ALL the options!

Then came the wind knots in the antenna launching rig! I wanted to get a doublet up as high as possible. Took nearly 2 hours to get my antennas up in the air. LESSON LEARNED: It is really helpful to have another person along to help untangle all the knots that wire and string seem to make all by themselves.  Getting  the antenna up quickly is a key to portable ops. Grrrrr!

Wind knot
One of several tangled messes that delayed the antenna deployment

LESSON TWO: After a delayed start, I spent a lot of time moving my portable table to keep out of the direct sun! With temperatures in the upper 80’s it was HOT and direct sun causes my Sierra to drift a bit which makes qso’s more difficult. Need to get a sun shade setup and not waste time moving my position.

The band conditions were pretty poor and I did not hear as many stations as I had hoped. The ones I did work were tough going and seemed like others could not hear me responding to their CQ’s.  I didn’t even hear a lot of Florida QSO party ops, but sounds like others that were farther away did. In 5 hrs I managed three whole qso’s with TTF stations. I did hear one Polar Bear– Martin operating as VA3OVQ but he could not hear me when I replied to his CQ.

Don't fee the Gator!
Warning sign about 30 feet from my operating site!

It was fun to be outdoors and playing radio! I did not get eaten by our neighborhood gator either! Maybe next time out will be better contact-wise.