IFR – The Curse is Broken!

I went out to a nearby park to operate for a bit in the International Field Radio Event.  It took 3 of these events but I finally worked another IFR participant!

I didn’t expect to be out for very long so I kept my setup pretty basic.  I set up my Alexloop on a short tripod on top of the picnic table.  (That decision would come back to haunt me later.)   I fired up my KX3 and found the bands were suspiciously quiet.  In fact, it was hard to get enough receiver noise to peak up the Alexloop.  That’s usually a bad omen.  A check of the Band Conditions website confirmed that.

Band conditions weren't the greatest today.

Band conditions weren’t the greatest today.

Undeterred, I started calling CQ on 14.035 MHz, the Field Radio group’s 20M calling frequency.  I got a call from NE3I whose signal was very strong. It turned out that Bob was only about 5 miles away from me.  As he noted during our conversation, we could have done the QSO on 2M simplex.   Bob wasn’t in the IFR event but I appreciated his call; I wasn’t going to get skunked today.  As I was working Bob, I was keying with one hand and swatting at bugs with the other.

Picnic table portable for the International Field Radio Event. The Alexloop was on a short tripod on top of the table.

Picnic table portable for the International Field Radio Event. The Alexloop was on a short tripod on top of the table.

I moved down to the 40-meter calling frequency (7.035 MHz) and had a short two-way QRP contact with another non-participant, K3JPT.  He was two counties west of me.  After a while, W3DET in North Carolina came up on the frequency and called, “CQ IFR.”  I gave him a call and he came right back to me.  Happy dance!  After we exchanged IFR numbers, Dave noted that this was his first IFR contact.  I replied that it was mine also.  How about that?  I finally made an IFR contact!

I wrapped things up with another non-IFR contact with N1PVP in Massachusetts.  As I was signing with Marino, the wind kicked up and knocked the Alexloop over.  That was my clue that it was time to pack up.  Yep, I probably shouldn’t have set the tripod up on the table.

With my first International Field Radio Event contact in the log, I declared victory and headed home.

For more information on the Field Radio group, visit www.fieldradio.org.

72, Craig WB3GCK

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