Sunday, July 26, 2009

Flight of The Bumblebees 2009

I participated in the Adventure Radio Society's ( Flight of The Bumblebees 2009 today. I registered for the event three or four weeks ago and was given Bumblebee # 72. I thought that was a great number considering how I use 72 vs 73 whenever I am QRP.

I left out of the house at 1115 CST headed for the Blackwater. I wasn't sure where I wanted to go this time. I tried to go to Karick Lake ( but when I got there it seemed like all of NW Florida was there already. I bagged that idea and headed for my spot on the river. I arrived 1215 CST, 15 minutes after the start and wasn't happy with myself for being late. My plan was was to be setup and ready to rock at the start of the event.

Upon arrival I setup my 20m ground plane and hooked it up to my PFR-3. Everything checked out ok. There were plenty of BB's hanging around 14.060mhz but making contacts was easier said than done. QSB was ever present. A few of the stations would be 599+ ,then gone all in the span of 10 seconds. Oh well, such is life. Equipment was as follows:

Rig: PFR-3 (
Paddles: PFR-3 Paddles
Antenna: Hombrew wire GP antenna for 20m & 120ft center fed doublet
Batteries: (7) Energizer Lithium Ion AA's (internal to the PFR-3)
Head Phones: KOSS earbuds

Periodically during the event I noticed I was sweating profusely. I remedied that by running full speed into the river. I would dive in and suddenly, I wasn't hot anymore. Gosh I love the Blackwater River! On a side note, the last time we were at the river we (the family & I) saw a snake in the water. I kept thinking to myself each time I jumped in today that a snake was going to get me. It doesn't help that I wear glasses and didn't have them on when I would jump in. Everything looked like a snake! Turns out that without my glasses on, every stick in the water looks like the most ferocious snake you ever saw in your life!

I made 9 contacts, eight of which were fellow Bumblebees. I proudly list the following bees in the log:

W4ZV #223
W2KJ #4
NK9G #84
WD9F #29
KX0R #155
K9ESE #118
VE3OBU #177
N6GA #36

The following station was my token QSO who was not operating /BB:


I switched antennas at 1500CST. I went from my GP to a wire center fed (twin lead) antenna. I was happy because my BLT in the PFR-3 made a good match on 20m. That wasn’t the case on 40m. I tried but never got the null that I was looking for. I will continue my search for the perfect length of wire for my PFR-3. If I crack the code I will post my results here. After my antenna switch, I got back on 20m and didn’t hear one single Bumblebee. What a bummer. As if on cue, Mother Nature sent a good size, Deep South Thunderhead my way. I raced to get everything put away. I had just loaded up the last of the gear when the rain started. Talk about good timing!

This was my first Flight of The Bumblebees and it will not be my last. I had a great time in spite of the tough conditions, miserable heat and the ever present QSB. Nice scenery, cool river water and ice cold beer have a way of making the bad into good. 72 for now and hope to work you soon!


Sunday, July 19, 2009

CW Paddles

I have accumulated a few paddles over the last year and wanted to share a little bit about each of them. It can be hit or miss when you are searching the internet for good reviews, pictures or specs on them. My intent is to provide a picture and a short review on the piece of gear.

Below listed is a picture of the paddles (and one key) that I'll be talking about. I will follow up with a post on the individual paddle. Hope you enjoy.


72 for now and hope to work you soon.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Field Day Report

I had a great time at Field Day this year. I participated with two clubs this year and it was a blast.

I made my way up to Opp, AL on Saturday Night (Sat June 27th) to join in with the South Alabama Radio Club ( I planned on operating all night on either 40 or 80m. Once I arrived Bob W5RE got me all setup at the radio and gave me a quick class on its functions, keyer memories etc. I also made a cheat sheat that showed our exchange. WC4M 3A AL. From there it was on. I worked up and down 40m from 2300 CST till 0345 and 0545 to 0730 on Sunday morning. I had a long day before I got up there. Reba and I had gone to a murder mystery dinner. It was great but I would not include it in Field Day prep again!

There were plenty of contacts to be made and I had little trouble working the stations I heard. I operated from 7.026 and up as I only have a General class license. It was wall to wall CW! Having good filters in your rig is a big plus. The filter I was using was 500hz and it was not tight enough to handle all of the people making contacts. As the night wore on I had more trouble getting the exchanges. I noticed that I was not the only one on the band that was having the same troubles. I was tired! I felt like I was copying CW drunk. That's when I knew it was time to crawl in the truck and get some sleep.

Once I woke up I got a drink of water and jumped back on. By 0730 I was done and needed to wrap it up. I needed to get home and also wanted to stop by my home club NOARC ( and visit with the guys. I had a quick bite to eat and snapped a couple of pictures before I went. In total I made 83 contacts. My contact rate was not as good as It should have been, but I was nearly out of gas before I even started. Oh well, maybe next year.





After leaving Opp I made my way back to the NOARC club. I enjoyed the ride back because there were not many people on the road and it was a nice morning. I also took the time to listen to my new AC/DC album, Black Ice. I'm just a little bit of a fan of AC/DC!!!

I arrived at the Dorcas Fire Station ready to visit with people, but Bob N4CU escorted me straight to the radio. I jumped on 20m CW and made 35 contacts in an hour. While I didn't spend a lot of time operating, it was great. Everyone was in good spirits and enjoying themselves. Here is a link to the photos of the clubs pictures of Field Day 2009.

In summary Field Day went really well this year. I had a great time, got to visit with good people and eat some awesome food. I'm looking forward to next year wherever I end up going.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Technical Difficulties

I am unable to get my photos off of the digital camera. I have 3 great reports awaiting photos. More to follow once I get this camera issue resolved.



Water falls near Gotemba, Japan