Another Flight of the Bumblebees (FOBB) is in the books. This year, I was going to travel to my operating site by bicycle but forecasts for thunderstorms forced a last-minute change of plans.
I ended up in French Creek State Park (PA) near the Hopewell Fire Tower. This area has good elevation and there usually aren’t many other visitors around. Dark clouds were moving in, so I opted to set up in the shelter of an old picnic pavilion. Fortunately, the storm skirted around my location.
I kept my antenna simple, in case I needed to bail out in a hurry. I strapped my 31-foot Jackite pole to a small tree next to the pavilion and set up a 30-foot wire vertical with a 9:1 unun. I ran 18 feet of coax over to one of the picnic tables. I had my KX3 set up and ready to go about five minutes before the contest started.
Conditions were pretty rough. There was heavy fading on 20 meters and lots of static on 40 meters. Early on, most of the activity was on 20 meters but 40 meters started to come alive later on.
Despite the conditions, I managed to eek out 19 contacts in about 3 hours. I heard a lot of familiar callsigns. I was pleasantly surprised to work N6GA, Cam, in California. I guess my simple antenna was getting out OK. I also worked fellow Polar Bear QRPer, Kelly K4UPG in Florida. In addition to the contest exchange, Kelly and I exchanged the traditional Polar Bear greeting, “GRRR.” Right before I packed up, I found QRP friends, Larry W2LJ and Carter N3AO, on 40 meters.
It turned out to be a pretty nice day. The thunderstorms stayed away and not a drop of rain. I was in the shade and there was just enough of a breeze to make the heat and humidity bearable and keep the mosquitoes at bay. Thanks to the Adventure Radio Society for sponsoring this fun contest.
72, Craig WB3GCK