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!


1 comment:

  1. Still watchin' for you on the air! Hope condx improve so we can connect one of these days!
    Kelly K4UPG
    Orlando, FL



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