Polar Bear Goes Deer Hunting

Today I participated in another Polar Bear Moonlight Madness Event, but this time while deer hunting. Instead of the Yaesu FT-817 and the SGC "I've-fallen-and-can't-get-tuned-up" tuner, I packed the K1 and the venerable BLT tuner. Instead of the heavily modified Whiterook paddle I usually use afield, I was equipped with a homebrew straight key. I forgot how nice of a CW rig the K1 really is and how fun a straight key is. Surprisingly this was the first time I've used a straight key while operating on a hike or hunt. Even with cold, numb fingers I was able to send decent CW unlike when using an iambic paddle. Straight keying is quite a bit more forgiving of timing errors and the irregularity of straight keying is somewhat charming and gives the code more personality.

The operating position

Homebrew straight key and log book

Close-up of the homebrew straightkey

View from the operating position before the snow came


I made three polar bear contacts on 40 meters, logging W1PID, VA2SG/PM, and WA2FBN. I also heard N0EVH calling CQ but unfortunately he couldn't hear me. 20 meters was dead and I couldn't get anyone on 30. All in all, another good day in the field. Later in the day it started snowing and we got three inches of snow. Yeaaahhh!

Anthony Good, K3NG, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Pennsylvania, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

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