Posts Tagged ‘portable ops’

That ol’ Summertime Classic

That's how I think of it, anyway ..... right up there with BBQs, lemonade, ice cold beer, pretzels, watermelon, ice cream and swimming pools ..... The 2018 Flight of the Bumblebees has been announced!  Thanks to Rich Fisher for putting this on from year to year, this event, along with QRP To The Field has gotten me "into" portable QRP operations more than anything else.



OK, so maybe I'm an Amateur Radio and QRP nerd, but what is more sublime than sitting somewhere in a nice shady spot on a hot summer day, making contact after contact with QRP friends around the USA and the rest of the world? The breeze in your face, the Bumblebees buzzing, the bands hooping with CW?

That's right ....... nothing!

This year, the last Sunday in July falls on July 29th and the contest runs from 1700 to 2100 UTC. So grab your radio, a hunka wire and make like a bee and get out to the field and pollinate those frequency bands! Get out of that musty ol' shack and enjoy the beautiful weather and sunshine. These are the things I dream about while I'm shoveling the pile of frozen over, rock hard slush that the snow plow leaves at the end of my driveway after every big snowfall.

For the rules, please go to http://arsqrp.blogspot.com/

For the roster, please go to https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1OzR8FvgVX9J2U0BsjPPg7uzqbuv4C93IAmf7hr8_5GY/edit#gid=0

72 de Larry W2LJ - Bumblebee # 12
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

It’s been a long, long time.

It has indeed been a long time since I've moved to this new work location. The old work QTH was in Warren, NJ and the new is in Whitehouse Station, NJ. Same job, same company, different campus.  I am about 10 miles (more or less) farther west into the interior of New Jersey than I used to be. It adds about another 10 minutes to my commute.

There are two of us in my department. Things were easier in Warren, as we both worked from the same (and only) building on campus.  We staggered our lunch breaks so that one of us was always on duty. Here, at the new work QTH, we are split between two buildings, each one of us minding our own store, so to speak. Unless you master bi-location, you can't manage both buildings at the same time with one man.

That led towards a hiatus in lunchtime QRP operations as it just seemed not the greatest idea to spend so much time away from the desk. I know, it's time I'm entitled to (it's only an hour) and I really should get away from the desk to remain fresh in the afternoon.

So I decided to take advantage again, beginning this week.

I went out to the car yesterday and hooked up the KX3 to the Buddistick. I heard a lot of stations on 20 Meters, but got no answers to any of my calls.  I know the equipment works, I figured it was just a bit of "rust" on my part. But, boy howdy, was it hot yesterday! It reached into the upper 80s (about 30C) here at lunchtime and since I was parked outside, it was hot like an oven in the car. It was a double negative experience - too hot and skunked on contacts.

Not one to be deterred, my little eye spied on something that I had forgotten. This campus has picnic tables!  Many of the employees go out to eat outdoors on the nice days. There are plenty of tables, they are spaced widely enough apart where conversations cannot encroach on one another.

It dawned on me that this would be the perfect place to set up the KX3 and the magloop! Sure, I'd probably get some stares from the other lunchers, and maybe from some of the employees who take advantage of their lunch break to walk the perimeter of the campus - but what they heck? Right? It's not like I haven't been stared at before. It's not like people haven't come up to me to ask, "What is that?" before, so tossing self-consciousness into the wind, I decided to set up at one of the tables today.

I chose a table towards the end of the line of tables, the one with no umbrella. Sure, it would be a little hotter with no shade, but it's less than an hour and besides, there's be no metallic umbrella ribs to possibly interact with the magloop.

Before hunting for a QSO, I decided to call CQ for a bit on both 20 and 17 Meters.  I really didn't expect anyone to answer, although there's no reason why anyone wouldn't. I just wanted to conduct a little Reverse Beacon Network experiment.

Experiment done, I went back to 20 Meters and found the "sweet spot" with the loop's tuning capacitor. (I was able to set up in under four minutes, by they way. Almost as fast as setting up the Buddistick on the car.) Tuning the KX3 around, there were a bunch of loud stations.  Finally, I came upon GI4DOH, Rich in Northern Ireland.  He had a strong signal and a great fist, so I gave him a call.  He came back to me on the first shot!  He was 559+ here in NJ, and I got a 559 in return.


According to his QRZ page, the loop that Rich is using is a receive only loop.  This was not a loop to loop QSO.

After working Rich, I popped on up to 17 Meters.  There I heard OE3DXA, Wern in Austria calling CQ. Again, loud signal, great fist, so I gave him a call.  Just as with GI4DOH, I gave him a 599+ report but this time I got a 599 in return.  Both QSOs were solid with no repeats asked for with regard to info, so I am assuming I was at or near Q5 copy. (Even if the 599 in return wasn't exactly accurate.)


It was time to pack it in, and I was satisfied with the two DX QSOs for the day.  With regard to my Reverse Beacon Network experiment, this was where the loop was allowing my signal to be heard:


As for spectators, I did get one guy who stopped to ask, "What is that? And what are you doing?" I explained that it was Amateur Radio and an Amateur Radio antenna. In response, I got the (what seems to be standard) "People still do that?" question.

I went into "pitch" mode and explained that yes, Amateur Radio is alive and well, and that for a lot of people in the Caribbean right now it's the only way they can get word out to their families abroad, that they are OK after the hurricanes.

So it was a successful day, I'm happy and it looks like there might not be rain for the rest of the work week.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Do You Travel? Don’t Forget Your Ham Gear! – ETH087

In this episode of the Everything Ham Radio Podcast, we talk with Vance Martin, N3VEM, about how he takes his Ham Radio Equipment with him when he goes on business trips. If you travel at all, you know the boringness of sitting in a hotel room after working all day, right? Maybe it is a new city, or maybe you have to be up early and don’t want to “go out” and be out late so you are able to function the next day.

So why not take your ham radio equipment with you while you travel and use that down time to make some contacts? This can also give you a chance to get out of your shack and get some fresh air and make some contacts to boot.

Vance and I talk about everything from what he does before he leaves, to what to do at the airport to how he operates while he has down time while traveling. Check out the show notes and listen to the episode by following the link below:

http://www.everythinghamradio.com/podcast/87

FOBB 2017 – ICYMI

Just in case you missed it - THE Summer QRP Classic - The Flight of the Bumblebees is on!  The event is on Sunday, July 31st from 17:00 to 21:00 UTC.


To get a Bumblebee number, you have to first to to the Bee database to see what's been assigned:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1r0ICCSjbErmIfRQz2U7hZJkSccuQ5ukHEtVXzmOF5eM/edit#gid=119767365

Send an e-mail to [email protected] and be sure to include your first name, call sign, the field location you plan to operate from and your three top choices for a Bee number.

Keep in mind that you are encouraged to participate in the FOBB as a home station - but only Field Stations can have a Bee #.

After you've sent KI6SN your request, be sure to keep an eye on the roster at the link above. That's where you will be able to determine what number you've been assigned.

The rest of the rules can be found at http://arsqrp.blogspot.com/2017/07/announcing-ars-2017-fobb.html

FOBB is, was, and continues to be the best Summer Outdoor QRP event, bar none. It's the equivalent of the Masters, or Wimbledon or Tour de France of the QRP Summer contest season. Get out there, get some sunshine and some breeze in your hair and have fun!

I can hear wings buzzing already!

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

FOBB 2017 – ICYMI

Just in case you missed it - THE Summer QRP Classic - The Flight of the Bumblebees is on!  The event is on Sunday, July 31st from 17:00 to 21:00 UTC. To get a Bumblebee number, you have to first to to the Bee database to see what's been assigned: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1r0ICCSjbErmIfRQz2U7hZJkSccuQ5ukHEtVXzmOF5eM/edit#gid=119767365 Send an e-mail to [email protected] and be sure to include your first name, call sign, the field location you plan to operate from and your three top choices for a Bee number. Keep in mind that you are encouraged to participate in the FOBB as a home station - but only Field Stations can have a Bee #. After you've sent KI6SN your request, be sure to keep an eye on the roster at the link above. That's where you will be able to determine what number you've been assigned. The rest of the rules can be found at http://arsqrp.blogspot.com/2017/07/announcing-ars-2017-fobb.html FOBB is, was, and continues to be the best Summer Outdoor QRP event, bar none. It's the equivalent of the Masters, or Wimbledon or Tour de France of the QRP Summer contest season. Get out there, get some sunshine and some breeze in your hair and have fun! I can hear wings buzzing already! 72 de Larry W2LJ QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Skeeter Hunt News

They say Memorial Day is the "unofficial" 1st Day of Summer.  That may be true; but in Skeeterland, we wait until the "official" Official 1st Day of Summer to start issuing NJQRP Skeeter Hunt numbers. That day is coming up fast - next Wednesday, June 21st is when Skeeter numbers for 2017 will start being dispensed.

All you have to do to get one is to send an e-mail to [email protected] and one will be sent back to you in a confirming e-mail.  Be sure to include your name, call sign and either the state you'll be operating from or the POTA #.

POTA # ?????  Yes - because this year, the NJQRP Skeeter Hunt will be featuring the Parks On The Air program. For all the details, please visit http://www.qsl.net/w2lj/


Last year, it was NPOTA and this year it will be POTA. 100 Bonus points will be added to your score if you activate a POTA entity, and there are PLENTY of them available!  To find one near you, please visit the interactive map at: http://wwff.co/directory/map/

Now I know some of you faithful Skeeters are probably reading this and are thinking, "Wait a darn sec, there, LJ!  Where's the Soapbox page from 2016 and where are our certificates? Huh? What do you have to say about that? Huh?"

Mea culpa, friends!  I'll readily admit that I was tardy on both counts.  However, the 2016 Soapbox page is now up at http://www.qsl.net/w2lj/index%20page%209 and your richly deserved certificates are in the process of being printed. I hope to have them in the mail, no later than this weekend. And hey, the timing isn't so bad, is it?  You can read the soapbox and make plans for this year, while reminiscing over last year!

There's also a new Fabook group devoted to the Skeeter Hunt - https://www.facebook.com/groups/175763746290252/, if you're so inclined to join.


So to answer one last question - why new Skeeter numbers every year?  Why aren't they good for life?  The reason for that is that I like to give everyone the opportunity to get a low number. Those seem to be the most coveted.  For various reasons, not everyone is able to participate from year to year - family commitments come up, business trips happen, vacations happen.  It's not fair to lock up a low number because of that - so they get issued to folks who really want them and have every intention of using them.

That being said, if you're not certain that you'll be able to participate - DON'T LET THAT STOP YOU FROM GETTING A NUMBER !!!!  I'd rather numbers go un-used than not issued at all. Sometimes things come up, but then there are times that potential conflicts get resolved and it's better that you have a Skeeter number than not!

Lastly, I kinda fibbed on that statement about Skeeter numbers not being good for life - at least in one instance.  Let it be known, throughout the kingdom of Skeeterland, that from henceforth, W2LJ will always be lucky Skeeter #13. There are some superstitious folks out there, who have specifically asked me to make sure they are not issued #13 - so I've solved that little predicament by assigning it to myself in perpetuity.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Skeeter Hunt News

They say Memorial Day is the "unofficial" 1st Day of Summer.  That may be true; but in Skeeterland, we wait until the "official" Official 1st Day of Summer to start issuing NJQRP Skeeter Hunt numbers. That day is coming up fast - next Wednesday, June 21st is when Skeeter numbers for 2017 will start being dispensed.

All you have to do to get one is to send an e-mail to [email protected] and one will be sent back to you in a confirming e-mail.  Be sure to include your name, call sign and either the state you'll be operating from or the POTA #.

POTA # ?????  Yes - because this year, the NJQRP Skeeter Hunt will be featuring the Parks On The Air program. For all the details, please visit http://www.qsl.net/w2lj/


Last year, it was NPOTA and this year it will be POTA. 100 Bonus points will be added to your score if you activate a POTA entity, and there are PLENTY of them available!  To find one near you, please visit the interactive map at: http://wwff.co/directory/map/

Now I know some of you faithful Skeeters are probably reading this and are thinking, "Wait a darn sec, there, LJ!  Where's the Soapbox page from 2016 and where are our certificates? Huh? What do you have to say about that? Huh?"

Mea culpa, friends!  I'll readily admit that I was tardy on both counts.  However, the 2016 Soapbox page is now up at http://www.qsl.net/w2lj/index%20page%209 and your richly deserved certificates are in the process of being printed. I hope to have them in the mail, no later than this weekend. And hey, the timing isn't so bad, is it?  You can read the soapbox and make plans for this year, while reminiscing over last year!

There's also a new Fabook group devoted to the Skeeter Hunt - https://www.facebook.com/groups/175763746290252/, if you're so inclined to join.


So to answer one last question - why new Skeeter numbers every year?  Why aren't they good for life?  The reason for that is that I like to give everyone the opportunity to get a low number. Those seem to be the most coveted.  For various reasons, not everyone is able to participate from year to year - family commitments come up, business trips happen, vacations happen.  It's not fair to lock up a low number because of that - so they get issued to folks who really want them and have every intention of using them.

That being said, if you're not certain that you'll be able to participate - DON'T LET THAT STOP YOU FROM GETTING A NUMBER !!!!  I'd rather numbers go un-used than not issued at all. Sometimes things come up, but then there are times that potential conflicts get resolved and it's better that you have a Skeeter number than not!

Lastly, I kinda fibbed on that statement about Skeeter numbers not being good for life - at least in one instance.  Let it be known, throughout the kingdom of Skeeterland, that from henceforth, W2LJ will always be lucky Skeeter #13. There are some superstitious folks out there, who have specifically asked me to make sure they are not issued #13 - so I've solved that little predicament by assigning it to myself in perpetuity.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!


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