FYBO 2018

I braved the chilly temperatures yesterday to operate in the annual Freeze Your B— Off (FYBO) contest. It’s always fun to get out for some QRP-portable but the contest itself left me cold (pun intended).

I went back to the same spot I used for my impromptu outing a few days ago. (Truth be told, I like this spot in the Winter primarily because it’s one of the few local parks that has a year-round Porta-Pottie.) I used my usual setup with the KX3 at 5 watts into my 19-foot vertical on the back of the truck. It was about 30° F outside with a steady breeze. Inside the truck, it was a balmy 35° F or so.

The WB3GCK QRP cockpit. (This picture was actually taken during Winter Field Day.)
The WB3GCK QRP cockpit. (This picture was actually taken during Winter Field Day.)

There was a lot of contest activity going on but no specific FYBO activity that I could find. I worked several QSO party stations from Minnesota and Vermont. I was pleased with how well I was getting into Minnesota on 40M. I also received a very nice signal report on 20M from K5C, a Space Shuttle Columbia special event station in Texas.  I ended up with 10 contacts in the log before my toes started going numb.

But where were the FYBO stations?

Ever since 2016, the FYBO rules include a “Work Anyone” rule. Since you can work other contests or participate in activities such as POTA and SOTA and submit those contacts as FYBO contacts, there’s no real incentive for anyone to actually call “CQ FYBO.” As a result, I didn’t hear a single FYBO station yesterday. For me, this rule takes the fun out of operating in a QRP contest.

Don’t get me wrong; I appreciate that the Arizona ScQRPions take the time and effort to run the contest. It’s just that, for me, part of the fun of a QRP field contest is working other QRPers. In this contest, that’s less likely to happen. In any event, it still gives you a reason to shake off that cabin fever and get out for some portable operating.

72, Craig WB3GCK

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