A Good Start in November

On November the 1st, I drove around 30 miles westward from Charleston to meet Jim (NX8Z) at the “Wave Pool Park” in Hurricane, WV. 
The weather was perfect for our second “West Virginia Chapter” field event. It was a great day to work lots of NAQCC members all over the United States. 
This is an interesting “water park”, and in the summer months, is used by hundreds of people to cool off from the hot sun as they spend a day with their families. The swimming pool produces large “waves” and while laying on a raft or inner tube, makes you feel like you’re in the ocean.

Our event was scheduled to begin at noon.  I arrived early, and was pleasantly surprised to see Jim (NX8Z) “itching to go” with an assortment of radio and computer gear. His Buddipole antenna was in place at the rear of his truck.

I was able to set up near an adjoining picnic shelter but had trouble getting my PAR “end fed” antenna between a pair of properly spaced trees. I found it necessary to place my folding table just outside the “shelter” in the warm sun.

I like this multi-band antenna for the West Virginia Chapter events because it’s cut for 40-20- and 10 meters. Although not optimal for 40 meters, it’s very good on 20 and 10 meters. The antenna was up only about 30 feet.

We had two visitors while at the park. Jim’s friend from church dropped by and was mesmerized by his radio gear. Jim also conversed with a few people who were enjoying the sunny day in the park. His salesmanship of the hobby was excellent. My brother Mark also dropped by and I talked to him about my QRP station and all those “dits and dots” going through the ether. I deliberately tuned to the voice segment of the 10 meter band so he could listen to operators in Italy, Brazil, and England. Before my brother arrived this afternoon, I had worked a CW station in France (F5PHY) on 10 meters. The band was open, and I did it “just because I could” with about 3 watts of power. 

Before the afternoon was over, I worked 17 stations and enjoyed every minute of this event. The NAQCC members I worked were from all parts of the United States and Canada. The farthest North, at 792 miles, was VE3EDX who was running 5 watts QRP. The farthest South, at 563 miles was KK4BOB in Florida, who was running 5 watts QRP, and in the Westward direction I worked W7GB in the state of Washington. Although the initial contact was QRO, I could tell no difference when he dropped to 5 watts!

My thanks go out to Paul (N8XMS) for the late posting of our November event because I inadvertently sent the announcement to the wrong person. Fortunately, he caught my mistake, and sent out an additional club mailing which alerted our 7,000 members to our location and frequencies in Hurricane, WV.

Here’s my logbook:

F5PHY in France-KC4URI– in WV- K1AVE in North Carolina- W4DUK in Bedford, VA- W8ICN in Michigan- KM3D in Pennsylvania– WA2JSG in New Jersey-WA2KSM in New York-W7GB in Washington state-KF5Jin Texas-KK4BOB in Florida-VE3EDX in Canada- W2LG in Florida- NZ1D in Florida-W1WYN in Massachusetts-and KB0ETU in Alabama and HC2IMP in Ecuador. 

I deliberately spent most of my time today working NAQCC stations on the 40 and 20 meter bands, according to the announcement in the mass mailing from Paul (N8XMS) but couldn’t help but take a “last parting 10 meter shot” at a station in South America.

I’ve heard few “growlers” over the last 25 years with this distinctive and unusual “chirp”. His signal was almost as if there was no “chirp” at all and mostly just a carrier; it was one of the few I was hearing just before I dropped my antenna. I couldn’t resist the temptation to work him before the drive back to Charleston and after a few attempts, I was successful.

I worked all these stations this afternoon with about 3 watts of power. At the end of the day, I had a reserve of 75% in my Sears battery booster, which I use for DC power. It’s a brute for outdoor events and I like the built in charger and the light.

Our West Virginia Chapter continues to grow. I’m getting regular “check-ins” on our 40 meter weekly net on Tuesday nights. I’m still fishing for new members on the Sunday evening 2 meter nets from the Kanawha Amateur Radio Club in the valley. I’m seeing a renewed interest in QRP portable radio every day.

Yes…outdoor QRP operations are a blast!

Happy Trails,

John Smithson NAQCC # 2279

John Smithson, Jr., N8ZYA, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from West Virginia, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

One Response to “A Good Start in November”

  • BOB LECH AF2Q:

    John,
    I’m located in MID NJ not far from the river.
    What time and what frequency on 40 meters?
    BOB AF2Q

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