I went out to a nearby park to operate for a bit in the International Field Radio Event. It took 3 of these events but I finally worked another IFR participant!
I didn’t expect to be out for very long so I kept my setup pretty basic. I set up my Alexloop on a short tripod on top of the picnic table. (That decision would come back to haunt me later.) I fired up my KX3 and found the bands were suspiciously quiet. In fact, it was hard to get enough receiver noise to peak up the Alexloop. That’s usually a bad omen. A check of the Band Conditions website confirmed that.
Undeterred, I started calling CQ on 14.035 MHz, the Field Radio group’s 20M calling frequency. I got a call from NE3I whose signal was very strong. It turned out that Bob was only about 5 miles away from me. As he noted during our conversation, we could have done the QSO on 2M simplex. Bob wasn’t in the IFR event but I appreciated his call; I wasn’t going to get skunked today. As I was working Bob, I was keying with one hand and swatting at bugs with the other.
I moved down to the 40-meter calling frequency (7.035 MHz) and had a short two-way QRP contact with another non-participant, K3JPT. He was two counties west of me. After a while, W3DET in North Carolina came up on the frequency and called, “CQ IFR.” I gave him a call and he came right back to me. Happy dance! After we exchanged IFR numbers, Dave noted that this was his first IFR contact. I replied that it was mine also. How about that? I finally made an IFR contact!
I wrapped things up with another non-IFR contact with N1PVP in Massachusetts. As I was signing with Marino, the wind kicked up and knocked the Alexloop over. That was my clue that it was time to pack up. Yep, I probably shouldn’t have set the tripod up on the table.
With my first International Field Radio Event contact in the log, I declared victory and headed home.
For more information on the Field Radio group, visit www.fieldradio.org.
72, Craig WB3GCK