Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I'm headed to Jacksonville, FL this Friday to see my all time favorite band, AC/DC. Will catch up with you when I get back.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Snakes, Family & Ham Radio

Quick update with interesting pictures from the river this past Sunday. With the PA QSO Party going it was no suprise that all of my contacts were from PA. The following stations are listed in my log book. All contacts were made on 20m CW.


K3CHR - John from Philadelphia & fellow QRPer. John was using a FT-817. It sounded good John and keep up the good work!



Conditions were good. The PA stations were like shooting fish in a barrel!

Ann, Tyler & Sand Castle


On the way home from the river we ran into a very ornery fellow. When we pulled up he wouldn't look at us. When I asked him how he was doing he gave me a "come any closer and you're dead" look. So I gave him plenty of space.



He was an Eastern Diamondback. He was about 3' long (small) and had aproximately 4 rattles. I have mentioned before on this blog how much I like snakes. My opinon hasn't changed.

Hope you enjoy and 72!


Sunday, October 4, 2009

October PBMME

We made it to our spot on the river and had a heck of a good time. Since the kid's return from Oregon & Washington we have not been able to get to the river. Starting in July we have had lots of rain that has kept the river high. I won't let the kids swim in the river when it is high for obvious reasons.

Our drive in was eventful. I have mentioned before that to get to the spot on the river you have to drive through the bottoms to get there. There are a few bumpy, muddy, deep etc holes to pass to get there. They are not anywhere close to the worst roads I have driven but yesterday they made their case for it.

We worked our way in like always. 4WD High for a couple of the holes and 4Low for the bad one.



The last one was deep! Usually there is not much water in it or it is fairly hard bottomed. Not anymore. This hole has been rutted up and the mud is really thick. You drive up and then immediatly down to get through it. The "down" is at a steep angle and with nasty mud waiting for you it requires a bit of speed vs creeping through it. We heard a thud as we passed through the hole. Reba shot me a dirty look!

From there it is easy sailing. We arrived and setup all of our gear. Before I can think about the radio I have to get the chairs, umbrellas, cooler and shovels setup. If I were to reverse these steps I would be in deep Kim Chee!

The kids were thrilled to be back at the river and they wasted no time jumping in. The went to their favorite log and started doing their "1,2,3...JUMP!!!" game that they play.

Meanwhile I made it over to my operating position and got started on my setup. Reba had the camera and snapped the pictures of the setup.

Setting up my antenna launcher. Setup consists of a water bottle, rope and the "Armstrong Method".

Antenna launcher in action.

Once the rope was in the trees all I had to do was tie off and pull the antenna up. The antenna for the day was 44' doublet fed with Radio Shack twin lead.

After I finished the setup I tuned up on 20M. I couldn't believe how much activity was centered around 14.060mhz. CQP was all I could hear. I did not check the contest calender prior to leaving the house so I had no idea what was going on. For all I knew these guys were looking for Portable Operaters. Either way there wasn't a whole lot of room for us PB's.

I was about to change bands when I heard a "CQ CQ CQ PB". THIS WAS GREAT! It was Martin VA3SIE/VE2 PB#20. I replyed and he came right back to me. He sent me a 559 RST and I sent him the same. Martin's KX-1 was sounding great! We had an great ragchew. Martin mentioned that it was 17C, hot and sunny. I got a chuckle because I guess in Canada in October that is a bit warm. This was the best PB QSO I've had to date. QSB was not terrible and it was not a generic conversation. Thank you for the QSO Martin.

By this point the kids were really starting to get loud in their log jumping game. I decided to run full speed in and join them. The weather has been freezing lately. 85F highs during the day and 50's at night. Well I forgot all about that during my run into the water. I was reminded instantly. The water was cold! I felt like I was going to jump out of my skin! For some reason Ann & Ty thought this was really funny.

Once I had my fill of cold water I got out. I decided a cold beer and more PBMME was what I needed. I sat down and tuned up on 30M this time to avoid the mad house of CQPers. I found some room on 10.115.5mhz and gave a couple of "CQ CQ CQ PB PB". Just like clockwork Aaron N9SKN PB #126 replyed back. I really enjoy a QSO with Aaron. I sent him a 559 RST and received the same. We had a great chance to talk about the weather, antennas and our radios. Aaron knew where I was and asked how the family was doing. It was about that time that the skeeters showed up in full force. I was trying to work my keyer and kill mosquitos at the same time. I am certain that my CW reflected my inability to do two things at the same time. Thanks for hanging in there with me Aaron.

In QSO with N9SKN wishing the skeeters would leave me alone.

It was starting to get on in the day so I made it a point to play with the kids some more. I didn't want the radio to eat up all of my time. We played in the sand, and I punished myself by jumping back in the freezing Blackwater River. With the sun falling below the tops of the trees I decided to get out of the water and start to pack it up.

After the pack up we headed out. When we arrived back to the bad mud hole I noticed something in the road. It was a black plastic piece.

I got out to see what it was. After all I did hear a "thud" on our way in.

Oh great! The front license plate had come off!

Ann, Tyler and I thought it was pretty funny. Reba didn't. We made it home with no problems. Everyone was tired so the mission was accomplished! I was really happy to get out with the family and do some QRP/p ops.

The bands were in good shape here in Florida. I didn't hear near as many PB's as I had hoped but I got two great ragchew QSO's with two really cool PB's. Equipment today was:

Rig: PFR-3
Ant: 44' Doublet w/twin lead feeder
Key: PFR key from Hendricks

Hope to hear you next time and 72!



Water falls near Gotemba, Japan