Operating Sunday: Skeeter Hunt

Started by cockpitbob, August 08, 2015, 09:25:33 PM

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Sunday (8/9) I'll be operating from a little hill in the local State Park from 1:00 - 5:00(eastern).  It's the annual Skeeter Hunt 4hr QRP sprint.  The object is to encourage QRPers to get out doors.  Extra points for operating away from the back yard and for using home made gear (kit or home brew).

I just finished a home-brew BuddiStick and 3-band trap EFHW wire and I'll probably set up both so I can compare their performance.  Since this event doesn't use WARC bands and I'm using the MTR I'll almost certainly be only on 20M.  Look for me around 14.060MHz.  My call will be "CQ BZZ CQ BZZ..."  Look me up if you have time.  You don't have to turn in any logs and I'm not "in it to win it" so I'd love some conversation.


Well, I had a nearly perfect day (didn't bring wine).  The weather was ideal with mild temperatures, a light breeze and no bugs in the air.

I walked about 1/2 mile up a hill in the local state park where there's an open field.  I set up at the edge of the field at the tree line.  On the first try with the slingshot I got my 63' wire in the tree for my EFHW antenna.  I also just finished making a home-brew BuddiStick so I set that up to try for the first time and to compare with the wire antenna.  Naturally, 63' of wire up about 50' outperforms 10' of metal rod with a loading coil and 2 radials all sitting on the ground, but the BuddiStick worked and at less than 2 pounds it'll be nice to have when trees aren't available.

On the chair you can barely see my clipboard with MTR_V2, battery pack and log sheet.  The MTR has an internal touch keyer and copper PCB pads for the keys glued to adjacent corners of the box(a la KK0G).  I was rusty with the touch keyer but when I got used to it again it worked nicely.  And it's nice to have a key that's not heavy, bulky and won't bend if you drop it.

20M was only OK with some pretty deep fading at times.  There were a lot more people doing the Skeeter Hunt than I expected and things got crowded just above 14.060.  I only made 17 contacts during the 4hr event, but I also took breaks to walk around, have a snack or compared antennas by switching between them during someone else's QSO.  The Skeeter Hunt also had a nice, low key mood to it.  People weren't in a rush to get through the exchange so they could get to the next one.


It's that time of year again.  This Sunday 8/21 I'll be operating in the field as Skeeter #39 (AB1LT) from 1:00 to 5:00 est.  It's a fun little 4hr sprint and a good excuse to get me off my butt and operating in the field.  Look for me just above the QRP calling frequencies (7.030, 14.060) and I might fire up my MFJ-9420 and operate QRP SSB, so listen around 14.285.  It's an honor system event so you don't need to turn in a log, and if you want to have a rag-chew, all the better.

Last year, with only 17 QSOs I got top score for Massachusetts earning me a cheap ink jet printed certificate. 8)


Another Skeeter Hunt is in the logs. 
Just a perfect New England summer day for operating.  With our drought there were no skeeters, but a QSO did get interrupted when a grasshopper surprised me landing on my sending arm. ;D   It was warm with a light breeze.  This time I brought cold white wine stealthily concealed in a Gatoraid bottle.  That didn't seem to mess up my sending much ::)

25 contacts in 12 states with my MTR_3B and EFHW antenna. I'm getting good with my slingshot.  The tree I got the line over was at least 70' tall.  I know this because my 63' antenna wire was absolutely vertical and it hadn't reached the top of the tree.  After the first 2 hours contacts got pretty hard to find.  It seem we had all contacted each other and couldn't find anyone new.  The registry shows about 160 people signed up to be Skeeters in the field.

As said in another post, I alternated between the MTR's touch keyer and my new QRPguys iambic mini-paddle, but ended up just using the paddle.  I really like it, and it's durable, weighs about 2oz and cost $18 shipped!