|N3EPA||EPA QRP CLUB||45||90|
Bob, N4BP: Guano Reef, FL Keys
Seab, AA1MY: Corea, ME
Cal, K4JSI: Maryland
Mike, WA8BXN: Geneva State Park, OH
Mark, KE1L: Wompatuck State Park, Hingham MA
Jim, W1PID: Pemigewassett River, Sanbornton, NH
Jim, W1FMR: "Three Tree Island", ME
Todd, N9NE: Oshkosh, WI
Dennis, K1LGQ: Brookline, NH
I used the QRP A-Field as a "shakedown" for next summer's Field Day. In July my wife and I drove up to MN and towed home a brand new Scamp camping trailer. I wanted to see how it would tow with my little Nissan Sentra and also how it would serve as a portable operating position. Luckily, Gabrielle had crossed Florida and headed out to sea by Saturday leaving a somewhat flooded SFL, but finally clear skies although somewhat windy.
I arrived at Guano Reef in the FL Keys about two hours prior to the A-Field leaving plenty of time to set up and eat lunch. But after paying $86 for one night of camping, I may consider another location for FD! The antenna was my old faithful "Ugly Vertical" utilizing a trick learned in the A-Field in '99. The antenna sat on a seawall overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. I guyed it to two points ashore and leaned it out over the water at about a 75 degree angle. I have no idea what this does to the pattern, but I was being heard and given good reports. The rig was the Elecraft K2, now computer controlled by a 486 notebook, both powered by a marine battery. After setting up, the first time I hit the paddle, the computer locked in key down mode - obviously some RF getting into it. All I had to work with was a six inch test lead with alligator clips. I tried this as a jumper between various points on the K2 and notebook and finally found a combo that worked reasonably well. I was able to make a full five watts on all but 15M where I was limited to about three watts before the keyed line locked.
I stuck fairly closely to the original game plan of "two hours on / two hours off". By the time I hit the sack Saturday night, I had 1 1/2 hours of op time remaining to use on Sunday morning. I consider myself a CW operator, but must admit that the highlight of this event was the run on 28Mhz SSB Sunday AM. I had a series of 45 brief rag chews, which by far yielded the highest rate of the A-Field.
Bottom line: 166 QSO's X 2 = 330 + 25 (WQ1RP QSO) = 355
===== 73, Bob Patten, N4BP Plantation, FL
Camped at Corea, on the coast of Maine just north of Acadia National Park. Sharon and I brought just the basics in our little pop-up, with an SW-40, DSW20, KD1JV 20m rig and Z-Match. Twirled up supports with rocks on heavy line and hoisted up an "Eighty Eight" to about 30', facing a tad south of West. Fed it with twin lead. No trees higher than 30'. Bands seemed really dead except that I was hearing DX. First station worked (Sat.) was NA5N and Paul was the last station I heard on Sunday. What a relief to see Paul's post re the Solar Meadow Muffin that dropped on our event!
Got on late, and sporadically... (I was on vacation with XYL, after all) but managed to work 23 q's and 18 spc's including SP3DOQ in Lezno and F5SJB running 1 watt to 4 el. Punctuated contest collecting / cooking clams on the beach, watching bald eagles, seals, dolphin, working lobster boats... just wonderful. Apologies for forgetting my NEQRP # and for effects of 42 deg. F evening on my CW! 72 / 73, "Seab" Lyon - AA1MY Bethel, ME 04217 USA
Ended up with 23 QSOs, including WQ1RP, on 15, 20 and 40. Rigs were my QRP+, which I'd just gotten back from K7SY and later my Argo 556. The antenna was a 44 foot doublet hung at about 15 degrees off vertical from a grand old patriarch of a tree on the property of the synagogue behind our house. The antenna sloped toward the Northwest.
Couldn't decide whether the problem in making QSOs on 20 and 15 was lack of activity or poor propagation. And I feared I'd not be able to work anyone on 40M because of local QRM, a pulsing raspy noise that came and went in one-second, or so, cycles. But it let up for a couple of hours and I must say the folks I worked on 40 were very strong here in Maryland. I operated for a little less than 4 hours, roughly 1830 to 2215 UTC. Oh yes, there was also local QRM from the lovely young ladies living next door - 3 and 4 years of age, respectively.
Having "played" in the SOC Marathon the week before, and wondering where all the SOCcers were, and noting that there wasn't all that much activity in QRP Afield, I wonder if there's something more that could be done to publicize these and other QRP-oriented operating events more widely. Of course the barbaric massacre of 11 September probably affected QRP Afield participation this year.
Any comments, please pass them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
72/73 Cal K4JSI
I was camped in a tent at Geneva State Park (Ohio) on the shores of Lake Erie, with overnight temps in the 40's (had electric heater in tent so I was warm). Used a K-1 with 50 ft wire in the treees and 25 ft counterpoise on the ground, 5 W, running off a small lead acid battery (the radio shack one for alarm systems). Bands were variable, I worked 16 stations on 40, including WQ1RP, and 23 on 20, for a total of 23 different states. Main thing is I had a lot of fun, as I hope everyone did that got a chance to participate.
73/2 - Mike WA8BXN
Location: Wompatuck State Park, Hingham MA
Sigh, another portable operation failure... I still have a lot to learn about hanging antennas.
My first attempt at this sort of solo QRP field operation was the Flight of the Bumblebees, back in July. I operated from the Blue Hills Reservation in Canton, MA, only a few miles from home. But that park closes at dusk, which is earlier now than in July, which wouldn't allow me to use the full operating time for QRP Afield. And I was hoping to get in some 80 meter operation at night.
So this time I chose a different site: Wompatuck State Park. It's the closest park to Boston with an overnight camping area, so I'd be able to operate well into the night. But I had never been there before, so I didn't know exactly what to expect.
I got to the park much later than planned; it was already about 2pm when I arrived. The park was indeed quite suitable; the camping area has tall trees that have been thinned out, so getting wires into them is not an impossible problem. The camping spaces are only about 40' square (estimate), limiting the length of antennas you can put up, but I figured I could intrude on the airspace of the next camping space, which had no occupant at 2pm. (I just wasn't going to worry if someone showed up later; the antenna would be up high enough so as not to bother them. And I would be using headphones, so as not to keep anyone awake at night.)
One luxury that I would have for this operation, but did not have for FOBB: computer logging. (In keeping with the theme for FOBB, I travelled to the site by bicycle, and didn't want to add the weight of my laptop to the bike. This time, I went by car, so that wasn't an issue.) I have three batteries for my Dell Inspiron 5000 - plenty to get through 9 hours of operating. And I now have the KIO2 in my K2, so I could even interface them. (I haven't gotten the computer CW sending going yet, though - I just got the KIO2 and KAF2 last week.) The frequencies recorded in the log come by way of the interface. I have used computer logging at Field Day in the past, so I do have experience with it, and had learned this year that I could operate successfully with just the light from the laptop and the K2 display, as I did during generator changeovers at the W1BOS station. (I had a solar-charged set of batteries that I had used at the beginning of FD for the natural power contacts; when the generator went off for refueling, I would just reconnect the batteries and continue to operate, making my QRP K2 station the only signal we had on the air during those times!)
Given that the clock was already ticking, I was itching to get on the air. So I went ahead and put up a simple antenna, using the EZ-Hang (somewhat more successfully than on the Flight of the Bumblebees - Wompatuck has much more suitable trees, which helped) to get a rope over one tree, which I used to pull up a vertical wire. I hooked that up and another wire (about 33') to my K2, using a newly-bought BNC-to-binding-post adapter so I didn't have to fuss with connectors. I made 9 contacts in a bit under an hour with that, on four bands. My most thrilling moment was digging Wes Hayward W7ZOI out of the mud on 10 - the newly-installed KAF2 made a difference there.
But signals seemed very weak, and that short vertical wasn't going to cut it on 80m (where I hoped to do some nighttime operating, including my scheduled WQ1RP operation). And I didn't seem to be hearing anything nearby (I knew there were a lot of 1-land stations participating, but I couldn't hear them); I figured that the vertical was giving me too low a radiation angle for that. So I shut down and tried to get something bigger in the air. After a few tries, I managed to get a second rope into another tree, around 75' (estimated by pacing) from the first one, and even got it up higher in the air than the first one (perhaps as high as 50'). I managed to pull antenna wire up into that tree. The plan was to pull the wire over the first tree, and then down to ground level, giving me an inverted-L around 100' long, which I expected would be a respectable antenna on the lower HF bands.
But it was not to be. First, I attached the wire to the existing rope (the one that was holding up the short vertical wire), and tried to pull it through. No go; instead, the branch that was supporting the rope broke, bringing everything down to the ground. (The far end was still up, though.) So I tried again with the near tree, eventually succeeding at getting the rope into an actual tree crotch. But I just plain couldn't manage to pull the wire through and down to ground level - the small bump where the rope and wire were joined was too big to pull through.
By now, it was past 6pm, and rapidly getting dark; I faced the choice of trying one more time, perhaps running out of light, and then staying up well into the night to get in 7 more hours of operating time (plus my hour running WQ1RP), or picking up everything while I could still see it and giving up. Frustration won this time.
So, that's the story. A measly nine contacts. Oh well...
I had a blast. I only operated about an hour Saturday evening. I rode my bicycle into the Flood Control area of the Pemigewassett River in Sanbornton, NH and set up on the bank of the river. A gorgeous day.
20 mtrs wasn't too good. Sigs on 40 were fine. Thanks for the great event. best, Jim email@example.com
1) Portable QSOs X 2 12 2) non Portable 0 3) WQ1RP (40 mtrs) 25
Rigs: DSW-40, DSW-20 Pwr: 1.5 W Pwr Source: 8 AA NiMHd with Solar panel
Antenna: 66 feet inverted L random wire up 25 ft with ZM-2 Comments:
Excellent contest and weather on "3 Tree Island." During the contest I laid in the grass for hours, listening to a female singer with a guitar. She had the voice of an angel..... What an unbelievable day !!! Thanks
Best regards, Jim Fitton
Made CW and SSB contact(s) on all bands 10-80M but could not find anyone to try 160. Caught several "Salmon Run" WA stations. Several ragchews in midst of the contest cut down on the rate but increased the fun. Thank you NEQRP.
1) Portable QSOs X 2 0 2) non Portable 80 3) WQ1RP (40 mtrs) 25
Rigs: K2 Pwr: 5 W Pwr Source: Marine Battery Antenna: 80M center fed Zepp and tri-band beam
All plans of mice and men, "ang aft angley"... or simply put... all the plans of men often go astray. I never made it to Bethlehem, NH to operate portable and had to cancel my reservation for the weekend. Diane – K1LQ became ill so all operations were at home. I did manage to operate WQ1RP for two hours, but nothing more. Many good stations were heard and contacted on 20 and 15 and even a few on 10 meters CW. Toward the end of the contest, the signals were petering out to the pint of one QSO per 15 minutes. The weather was absolutely fantastic and I can’t wait to get outdoors and really give QRP AFIELD a decent try. Next year will be BETTER! Watch out west coast! – Dennis Marandos - K1LGQ