Flight of the Bumble Bee QRP contest

Setting up 
This is the first (but not last) year I participated in this contest, I have Larry W2LJ to thank as his blog posts regarding this contest inspired me. Both Julie and I made plans for this day, for me it was contesting and she hauled along all her cameras and gear and had a blast with her hobby photography.  The weather was fantastic with it being 31C in the shade but we were right on Lake Ontario with a nice breeze off the lake made it pleasant. I operated from Humber bay shores park which is just outside our condo. We brought along camp chairs and a portable table as we knew the park would be very busy and finding a picnic table would be out of the question. The contest started at 1pm local time which gave Julie and I time to pick out something to eat. (fruit crepes with maple syrup) Once we found our spot in the park and setup we sat and enjoyed the crepes as one has to fuel up before the contest.
The view from the op table
The rig I used was my Elecraft KX3 on external battery power, the antenna was the Chameleon CHA P mag loop antenna and my key was the Palm mini paddle   I was very happy with the Chameleon CHA P antenna, it only took me 5 min's to setup. It was very easy to tune but it was not until 1/2 way through my outing that I realized the KX3 had the preamp off! Once I put the preamp on finding the noise peak was much easier. I was very pleased with the setup and performance of the antenna. I was only able to operate for 2 of the 4 hours of the contest as Julie and I had dinner guests we had to be back home and prepare for. I only operated on 20m as this band was open and the QRP contacts were being heard. I was pleased that I made 11 contacts and I did have about 5 folks stop and ask questions about what I was doing. One gentleman told me that his dad was a ham and one of the young people that stopped told me she read about morse code in her history class! The band was in great shape and I was able to hear and work QRP stations all over the U.S. I made 2 contacts into New Jersey and for some reason I have never in the past made it to that state when doing portable field op's. I really enjoyed this contest and am looking forward to it next year.
Setting up the loop
The outdoor shack.
Chameleon CHA P 
Fuelling  up before 
Mike Weir, VE9KK, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New Brunswick, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

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