This was a busy weekend, radio-wise. First, the Polar Bear QRP Club held their monthly Moonlight Madness Event on Saturday. Also, the Facebook-based Field Radio group was holding their second International Field Radio Event (IFRE) this weekend. Finally, the Straight Key Century Club (SKCC) was holding their monthly Weekend Sprintathon (WES) contest. To take advantage of all of this, I went portable twice over the weekend.
It was a bit chilly here in southeastern Pennsylvania, so I operated “stationary-mobile” from a local park. I used my KX3 with a 29.5-foot vertical on the back of my truck. When I powered up the radio, I immediately heard fellow Polar Bear, Chuck AF4O, calling CQ from a park in Tennessee. I gave him a shout and had a nice chat. His HB-1A sounded great.
I tuned around listening for stations operating in the International Field Radio Event. Not hearing any, I called CQ on 20 meters and got a call from HA3NU. I think he was search and pouncing in a contest but he gave me a contact anyway. I shifted over to SSB (which I don’t do very often) and worked 4 stations that way on 20 and 40 meters.
Since the SKCC WES was also going on, I put the KX3 in straight key mode and laid my Palm mini paddles on their side and used one paddle as a straight key. I made two contacts that way, including F6HKA, (Bert always has good ears.)
I ended my session by working Joe N2CX who was doing an NPOTA activation (Fort Necessity National Battlefield in southwestern Pennsylvania).
I wound up with 10 contacts total including 1 Polar Bear, 2 SKCC WES, 1 NPOTA and no IFRE stations.
I took a bike ride on the Schuylkill River Trail, which connects to the Perkiomen Valley Trail. I stopped at Lower Perkiomen Valley Park to set up the radio. This is one of my favorite spots for QRP portable. I put a 29.5-foot wire up in a tree and set up my KX3 on a conveniently located bench.
The bands were definitely not as hot as yesterday. I tuned around the Field Radio calling frequencies but didn’t hear any IFRE activity. I called “CQ IFR” on both 40 and 20 meters but had no takers. The SKCC WES contest was still going on, so I made a few SKCC contacts. One of those was with F6EJN. It took a few tries to complete the QSO but Bob was able to pull me out of the noise. While tuning around 40 meters, I had an NPOTA contact with WK2S. Art was in the Pinelands National Reserve Affiliated Area (AA19) in New Jersey, which is a new one for me.
The weather was absolutely beautiful today but, as the sun began to set behind the trees, it started getting cold. So, I loaded up the bike and headed back down the trail.
This was my second IFRE with no contacts. Oh well, maybe next time.
72, Craig WB3GCK