I didn’t have a lot of time today but I wanted to get out for an hour or two for the annual Freeze Your B—- Off (FYBO) contest. FYBO is sponsored by the Arizona ScQRPions. I didn’t do a lot of advanced planning for this event, so I threw my backpack into my truck and headed out with a couple of possible locations in mind.
I ended up in the Schuylkill Canal Park in Mont Clare, Pennsylvania, just a few miles away from home. I’ve been to this park many times but I had never operated from there. The spot I had in mind had some high voltage power lines nearby so I headed a little further down the road. I wound up in a parking lot next to the canal lock. There was still some snow on the ground and the area looked muddy, so I set up in the truck with the window down. (It was 36F when I started.) I used my YouKits HB-1B and a 29.5-foot vertical.
Now, normally, when people see my antenna, they usually just give some curious stares and move on. Not so today. Before I had even made a contact, I noticed a county park ranger drive by. He circled back around and pulled up next to me. He was curious about the antenna and I ended up discussing ham radio with him for the next 5 minutes or so. He wished me well and drove off.
A few minutes later, I looked in my rearview mirror and saw a car with two park rangers behind me. They were staring at the antenna, so I got out and went over to talk to them. I gave them my ham radio spiel and a few minutes later they drove off. I was finally able to get back to the radio and start making some contacts.
In my hour or so of operating, I only managed to work 3 FYBO contesters on 20 meters. There was very little FYBO activity heard. In fact, I worked more Minnesota QSO Party stations than FYBO stations. Before I packed up, I dropped down to 40 meters and picked up a Vermont QSO Party station.
Just before shutting down, a fellow who had been walking his dogs walked up to my truck and asked about what I was doing. Once more I gave my ham radio spiel. In all the years I’ve been operating from portable locations, I can’t remember ever getting this much attention. Maybe I enlightened a couple of folks today.
Even though it was a short outing and I’m sure I wasn’t a big threat in the FYBO contest, it’s always good to get out and play some radio.
72, Craig WB3GCK