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.
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.
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!