My XYL and I were long overdue for a weekend of camping. We towed our old pop-up camper to one of our favorite campgrounds, French Creek State Park near Elverson, PA. It was a happy coincidence that the New England QRP Club’s QRP Afield contest was being held while I was camping. OK, so maybe it wasn’t just a coincidence.
I operated from inside the camper using my KX3 on battery power. The antenna was my “Pop-up Vertical” that I have used with the camper for years. Basically, the antenna is a 27-foot wire vertical fed through a 4:1 unun. I use the body of the camper for ground. The wire is supported by a 31-foot Jackite pole attached to the side of the camper with some velcro straps. I run a 10-foot length of coax into the camper to the radio. The KX3’s internal tuner will easily load up the antenna from 40 meters through 6 meters. The KX3 can also tune it on 80 meters but it isn’t very efficient on that band.
During the contest, I didn’t hear much activity on 20 meters. I made one QRP Afield QSO there. I made the rest of my contacts on 40 meters. I ended up with only 11 contacts in the log. It wasn’t a great showing but I had fun.
Outside of the contest, I worked several Route 66 special event stations, along with a few National Parks on the Air (NPOTA) stations. I also worked TM77X, a special event station in France. There were a couple of nice rag chew QSOs in there, too.
We have one more outing with the camper scheduled for October. Not only will this be the last camping trip of the year for us, it will be the last camping trip with our old camper. It has served us well for the past 19 years but, like me, it’s starting to show its age. My XYL and I decided it’s time to retire it and replace it with something new for next year.
I’ll miss our little tent-on-wheels. My family made a lot of memories with that camper and I made a lot of fun QRP QSOs from it.
72, Craig WB3GCK