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Grrrrrrrr8 New Polar Bear Hat!!!
Jan 20th, 2010 by kmack

Yahoo! My teammate, Frank, who lives in Alaska sent me a Grrrrrrrr8 new polar bear hat! Being a new PB (#173) member of the Polar Bear QRP Group, I just had to show it off to my fellow bears… Grrrrr! Bound to make more BSO’s when I am wearing this fine hat!

Most awesome Polar Bear Hat! Thanks Frank!

Most awesome Polar Bear Hat! Thanks Frank!

The Central Florida QRP group is hitting the park this Saturday, 23 Jan 2010. If you are interested meet us at Sylvan Lake Park, Sanford, FL around 0900 in picnic pavillion A or B.

Ya’ll come, hear?

Central Florida QRP Group Sept 12, 2009 Meeting Announcement
Aug 25th, 2009 by kmack

Sylvan Lake Park CFL QRP Group getting setup

Sylvan Lake Park CFL QRP Group getting setup

The Central Florida QRP Group meeting will be at The Cracker Barrel, Saturday, September 12th at 7:30 AM on Hickman Drive, Sanford.   The Cracker Barrel is very close to the I4 and Hwy 46 junction, 1 light to the east (toward Sanford and turn East(left), down about a block on the left).

MAP to Cracker Barrel Click Here

Please bring your “Show and Tell” if you like. At approximately 9:00 AM we will reconvene at The Sylvan Lake Park, Picnic area “A” to setup our QRP rigs and operate a bit.  The Sylvan Lake park is on Lake Markham Road off Hwy 46 approximately 4 miles West of the I4/Hwy 46 Junction.

MAP to Sylvan Lake Park Click Here

If you can’t make the breakfast come join us at the Sylvan Lake Park. We will plan future activities of the CFQG.
We look forward to seeing you there.

72

Jim Diggs
K4AHO

Flight of the Bumblebees 2009
Jul 27th, 2009 by kmack

I have been like a kid on Christmas Eve thinking about this event. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate and I chose to stay closer to home than originally planned. In this low power (QRP) ham radio event, the Bumblebees were to hike, bike, or travel via water to the spot they would operate. As bee #86, I donned my backpack (overly packed by the way) and headed to the lakeside park in our housing development which is about 3/4 mile from my home. It was about 90+ degrees Farenheit at 11 am when I set out to my site.

The sky looked good, except the clouds were building to the Southwest… So I setup camp and decided to use the shelter rather than be out in the open in case rain came. Good choice!

So I setup my Buddistick for 20m using my MFJ 207 Analyzer. I soon had the SWR down to 1.3/1 and after hoisting the antenna into the air on my semi-official BEE colored painter’s pole it went down to less than 1.2 to 1! Good enough for this ham! Signals were a bit down and there was a good bit of QRN which would get worse. Since it was early, I ate lunch and watched the herons work the shallows of the lake while I waited for the 1 PM starting time.

Bumblebee 86 on the way out~ note the BEE colored hat

Bumblebee 86 on the way out~ note the BEE colored hat

Buddistick up and away

Buddistick up and away

She's up and ready to rock n roll

She's up and ready to rock n roll

From the bottom looking up!

From the bottom looking up!

My Rig setup. Nice view, eh?

My Rig setup. Nice view, eh?

Unfortunately, the weather decided to roll in and 15 minutes  after the start I made my first qso. Then the lightning sirens went off and I pulled down the antenna and played it safe. After two hours of watching the rain and lightning show and a few herons on the hunt for food, I got a window of good weather and put the station back on the air.  Two more qso’s in the next 20 minutes and then the rain and lightning moved back in on me.

Here comes the lightning and rain again!

Here comes the lightning and rain again!

So with only 39 minutes to go, I decided to roll up the coax and trek home. I had lots of fun despite the challenges. I’ll be there next year, the Lord willing!

Field Day at the Beach Jun 2009 — Hammock Mobile?
Jun 28th, 2009 by kmack

The last couple weeks have been busy at my office. This weekend we took some time off and headed to St Petersburg Beach. Since it was ARRL Field Day and I have not participated in that great event in almost 30 yrs, I took my Wilderness Sierra and Buddistick antenna and did some LAZY operating from the beach. My little 2.5 watts out didn’t break through too many pileups, but I had a great time listening to all the activity and being at the beach too.

You can only take so much Florida sun in one day… gets might hot. So I found a fine alternative and perhaps set a historic way to use the Buddistick. Check out my Hammock Mobile operating site. Buddistick is on the support pole.

My first contest AWARD!
May 17th, 2009 by kmack

As a new member of the Straight Key Century Club, I have tried my hand at the Weekend Sprints they sponsor. Most of the time, due to church activities and antenna restrictions, I’m not able to operate with the exception of the last few hours of the event. May’s theme was the “new antenna” and we were encouraged to try a new antenna and got extra points. I had a 154 foot long wire I wanted to try as a random longwire antenna. It was a special bronze/copper braided wire like we used in the military at times. When I took it out to the site and started unwinding it, it sprang into a tangled mess and it took me 90 minutes to untangle. Then my slingshot antenna launcher failed to work properly so I went to plan B… using my 20 foot Jackite pole to elevate the longwire antenna. But the weight of the antenna was too much for the fiberglass pole to handle so I lost more time repacking my station and returning home to get another antenna to use. YIKES! Time’s a wastin’.

With a 40 meter dipole fed with twinlead hastily thrown together, I tried again and managed 2 whole qso’s with my humble station. The event manager and his team had mercy on me and sent me this nice award for my efforts! I love it when a plan comes together!

My first ham radio award as K4UPG

My first ham radio award as K4UPG

Central Florida QRP Group Outing and more…
Apr 12th, 2009 by kmack

Our central Florida weather has been favorable, but the bands have not been nearly as good unfortunately. Despite difficult band conditions the newly formed Central Florida QRP group had a successful first outing. After an early breakfast we setup our gear in a pavilion at Sylvan Lake Park in Sanford, FL. We did some antenna tweaking, tested a couple new rigs and an Elecraft antenna tuner and had a good time.

I got to put my newly built SST for 30meters on the air for the first time. K4AHO brought his OHR WM-2 and I was able to peak it up. Thanks Jim, for helping Matt tweak his antenna and for letting me borrow the WM-2 for the tuneup! We are all looking forward to our next opportunity to get out. We’ll be meeting for breakfast and time in the park on the 2nd Saturday each month. We’d love for you to join us if you are in Orlando for vacation or live in  the area.

I also had a couple hours of fun participating in my first Straight Key Century Club (SKCC) Weekend Sprint event. I only connected with one qso but had some great cw practice and read the mail of several good ops in qso’s. I’ll be better prepared next time!

Stay tuned for more news and enjoy the photos.

Pedestrian Mobile Honeymoon Island, Florida Mar 21, 2009
Mar 21st, 2009 by kmack

After taking a few laps of the tailgate vendor area at the Gulf Coast Amateur Radio Club Hamfest in New Port Richey, my wife, Connie and I drove down to Honeymoon Island State Park and Beach on the Gulf coast north of Clearwater/St. Petersburg.  This was my first time out with the new setup for pedestrian mobile. I learned a lot and had a blast despite semi-poor band conditions and a very windy day.

I was using a MFJ 9420 on 20 meter SSB to my Buddistick mounted on my backpack frame. I connected with several HF-Pack members on the 14, 342.5  MHz hangout or there abouts… heard lots of others too. Budd Drummond, W3FF was spotting and helping the portable and mobile stations make connections. Budd was pounding in at 20 over S9 from California and had the best signal I heard all day. Lower on the band I heard good signals from Spain, Azores, and a few G3′s but my 10 watts didn’t compete with the contest crowd today at least.

Here’s some photos of the setup I used. Will refine it to prevent some of the wind related problems I experienced today and post more detailed photos in case someone is considering a similar rig. The wind load on the Buddistick and bicycle flag combination was a real surprise and caused a number of issues for me.

Honeymoon Island initial testing.

Honeymoon Island initial testing.

First contact brings a smile to my face!

First contact brings a smile to my face!

Tweaking to compensate for sun caused vfo drift

Tweaking to compensate for sun caused vfo drift

Working the HF Pack 20m frequency

Working the HF Pack 20m frequency

Wind forced me to the pier

Wind forced me to the pier

A New Thing? Central Florida QRP Group is Forming!
Mar 14th, 2009 by kmack

This morning  14 March 2009, five Central Florida qrp ham radio operators met at a Perkins restaurant in Altamonte Springs at 0730 EDT. We were dreaming and scheming about getting a group together for portable ops, homebrew building sessions, elmer, and on-air cw practice and other activities. Some pretty sweet qrp rigs were on display too.

No officers, no members, no dues, just come and participate… any takers? Let us know and we’ll be glad to help you get hooked up. Contact K4AHO or K4UPG via the qrz.com info.

More details to come soon.

72,

Kelly K4UPG

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