Lesson from a Heron: Search and Pounce

As a bypass survivor, each morning when possible, I go for a brisk walk. We are blessed to live in a nice development in Orlando which has a bit of lakefront and also has some irrigation and flood prevention ponds. This water attracts a good selection of wildlife which makes it fun to be outside and exercising even though the heat and humidity are often both above the 90 mark.

We have ducks, baby ducks, coots, turtles, snakes, eagles, hawks, osprey, sand hill cranes, storks, cormorant, anhinga,  raccoon, possum, squirrels, armadillos, feral cats, foxes, geckos, lizards, frogs, toads and all sorts of other neat critters to entertain us at various times of the year.   This morning I spent some time watching the water birds fishing on all the new fingerlings from this year’s hatch of bass, bream and tillapia that gather in the grass along the water’s edge.

Heron Fishing Style

Learning S & P from a Heron

Today a heron demonstrated how to do catch fish and I realized that the heron could teach me some things about operating QRP style search and pounce.

The heron has a particular style… they spread their wings like this great photo demonstrates so well (thanks Chris Harshaw and http://www.wikimedia.org). So what’s that got to do with ham radio? Like a karate master who learns from the world around him, a good QRP op can learn from the birds! The heron shades the target with its wings to take the glare off the water so it can see better. It also causes the fish to become confused and they can pick off the loner or easiest target.

Same thing with QRP… we need to spread our wings by tuning around a bit more agressively and listening for the ones we can snag. Not always the strongest, but a signal that is decent and an op that genuinely wants to make a contact. When we find that contact we need to pounce on it and not waste time.

Yes, I learned a bit from watching that heron this morning. He caught quite a few fish in a short time using his form of search and pounce. That heron was quick and moved from spot to spot gingerly and didn’t miss his target very often. No wonder he’s grown so large! I want to be more like that heron when I am on the air.

Still time to cast your vote in the poll for the best ham radio location in the USA.


Kelly K4UPG PB #173

Kelly McClelland, K4UPG, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Florida, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

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