This year’s QRP Zombie Shuffle coincided with our last camping trip of the season with our little travel trailer. We wrapped up our camping season in French Creek State Park in southeastern Pennsylvania.
After setting up camp and eating dinner, I spent some time on the radio in search of my fellow zombies. It’s customary to complain about contest band conditions but this year the complaints were justified. I never really heard any strong signals and there was severe fading on the bands.
Despite the frightful conditions, I managed to log 8 zombies this year. Six of my eight contacts were on 80M. I was using a 29.5-foot wire vertical and 9:1. I’m always amazed at how well this relatively short antenna gets out on 80M.
One of the highlights was working Ed WA3WSJ while he was operating from a shelter on the Appalachian Trail. He was also using the Boschveldt QRP Club call, W3BQC. I’ve made hundreds of Field Day QSOs as W3BQC but this was the first time I have been on the receiving end.
So, another Zombie Shuffle is in the books and it’s time to crawl back into the crypt. I can’t wait to shuffle again next year.
Once again, I joined my fellow Boschveldt QRP Club members for Field Day. We’re a loosely-organized group of QRPers who enjoy portable operating. Field Day is one of the few times each year that we get together, so it’s always good to see everyone and do some catching up. This year we held Field Day on a beautiful piece of land owned by a close family friend of one of our members. We were situated on top of a hill, so we had some good elevation, too.
Ed K3YTR, Glen NK1N and I arrived mid-afternoon on Friday and set up our tents. We were expecting some heavy rains from the remnants of Tropical Storm Cindy so we held off setting up our radio equipment. We were joined later that night by Ron WA8YIH.
We sat around chewing the fat until it started to rain around 10:30 PM. At that point, we retreated to our tents for the night to ride out the storm. It certainly was a rough night, with some of the heaviest rain I have ever experienced in a tent. My old tent made it through the night with only some slight leaks. WA8YIH’s canopy, unfortunately, was destroyed by the heavy rain. Other than that, we got through the night otherwise unscathed.
After breakfast on Saturday, we went about setting up our radio equipment. Ed WA3WSJ arrived mid-morning.
This year, we operating as Class 3A EPA, using our club callsign, W3BQC. We were all QRP on battery power. I operated CW while WA8YIH operated SSB, digital and a little CW. NK1N worked satellites using his new portable setup. K3YTR worked 2M and 440 SSB. WA3WSJ assisted with all the stations.
On HF, WA8YIH and I were both running KX3s and inverted L antennas fed through 9:1 ununs. Propagation seemed fair on Saturday but was much better on Sunday. Despite all the wet foliage around us, NK1N managed to make some decent satellite contacts. On Saturday night, I switched my station over to digital to copy the W1AW Field Day Bulletin on 80 meters.
Field Day with the Boschveldt QRP crew is always a somewhat laid-back affair. None of us are serious contesters, so there is always a lot of socializing going on during the weekend. During the evening, we assemble around the campfire to swap tall stories. We never rack up huge scores but we always have a lot of fun.
After a Sunday lunch of grilled Spam sandwiches, we started tearing down and packing up. We haven’t compiled our logs yet, so I don’t know what our final score is yet. I’m sure we didn’t set any records but, if they gave out bonus points for having fun, the Boschveldt crew would be at the top of our category.
Our loosely-knit group of QRPers, known as the Boschveldt QRP Club, gets together each year in January for a weekend of operating and socializing in the woods. We rent a small cabin at the Mohican Outdoor Center (MOC) in the Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area in Northern New Jersey. The MOC, which is adjacent to the Appalachian Trail, has been the site of this annual gathering for the past 12 years or so. This annual event has come to be known as “Camp Run-a-MOC.”
In attendance this year was K3YTR, WA3WSJ, NK1N, NU3E and me. Walt KB3SBC was there on Friday but, unfortunately, had to leave to deal with a plumbing emergency at home.
When I rolled into camp on Friday afternoon, Ed K3YTR was busy setting up his gear for the ARRL VHF Contest and John NU3E was setting up an end-fed halfwave antenna for some JT65 & JT9 operating. Ed WA3WSJ and Glen NK1N were operating pedestrian mobile near Crater Lake. It turned out to be a rainy hike for them. After a dinner prepared by K3YTR, there was a lot of catching up and story swapping.
After breakfast on Saturday, WA3WSJ, NK1N, NU3E and I made the two-mile hike up to the Catfish Fire Tower on the Appalachian Trail. Although we hiked through dense fog on the way up, the weather cleared up a bit when we reached the top of the ridge.
I set up my KX3 and AlexLoop at a picnic table, while WA3WSJ and NK1N operated pedestrian mobile. NU3E came along for the hike and caught a short nap on the bench of the picnic table where I was operating.
After we each had made a few contacts, the sun went in, the temperature dropped and a dense fog rolled in. We packed up our gear and made the trek back down the trail.
Back at the cabin, K3YTR and NK1N made more some contacts in the VHF contest before we headed into town for dinner. By the time we headed back to the cabin, the heavy fog and limited visibility made for some tricky driving. When we got back to the cabin there was some more VHF contesting and more tall stories. On Sunday morning, we all enjoyed NU3E’s famous Belgian waffles before packing up for the trip home.
So, another fun Camp Run-a-MOC get-together is in the books. The weather wasn’t great but at least it didn’t snow this year.
The next outing for the Boschveldt QRPers is Field Day. I’m already looking forward to that.
Another Field Day is in the books. This year, as in past years, I operated with the Boschveldt QRP Club. The Boschveldt QRP Club is a small, informal group of QRPers who share a love of portable QRP operating. Basically, we get together twice each year. In January, we converge on a cabin in the Delaware Water Gap. In June, of course, we get together for Field Day.
Our Field Day site was a group tenting site in French Creek State Park near Elverson, Pennsylvania. Our Field Day crew consisted of Ed WA3WSJ, Glen NK1N, Ed K3YTR, Ron WA8YIH and me. After arriving on Friday afternoon and setting up our tents, we headed into town for dinner. After that, we set up a few antennas and it was soon time to get a campfire going.
After breakfast on Saturday, we finished setting up the radio equipment. After a lunch of cheddar-stuffed bratwursts cooked over a fire, we drove over to visit with members of the Pottstown Amateur Radio Club (PARC) who were operating from another site in the park. We got back to our site in time for the start of Field Day.
Once again, we operated class 4AB (QRP) using our club callsign, W3BQC. I ran a CW station on 40 and 80 meters. NK1N operated CW on 20 meters and SSB on 40 meters. WA8YIH operated SSB on 20 meters and up, while WA3WSJ ran CW on 15 meters and up. K3YTR operated 6 and 2 meters SSB.
Now I have to point out that the Boschveldt QRPers run a very informal Field Day. In fact, we probably spend as much time socializing as we spend operating. When the sun goes down, things come to a halt. We gather around the campfire to relax and just enjoy being outdoors. One of our traditions is roasting marshmallow Peeps® over the campfire.
This year we had a large group of Boy Scouts camped across the road from us. A few of them stopped by Saturday night for a ham radio demonstration by WA8YIH.
Our logs haven’t been consolidated yet but I’m guessing we had something like 300 contacts between the five of us. Although band conditions weren’t all that great, the weather was a lot better than the rain we had last year.
I always enjoy getting together with the Boschveldt guys for Field Day. We’ve already started planning our January trip.