Saturday was a QRP bonanza!
I arranged to pick up Bob VA3QV at the Ottawa Amateur Radio Club‘s QRP Demonstration Day at Britannia park. I spent a thoroughly enjoyable half an hour at the tail end of the event checking out some great QRP field stations. Check out Chris VA3CME‘s excellent video of the event here. You can find Bob’s write up for both events here. Mike VE3ZY (VE3FFK) was making a contact with KB1PBA in the New England QRP Club‘s QRP Afield contest. I couldn’t hardly wait to get active in that event later in the day …
Video (press play)
Bob and I drove down to the Rideau River Provincial Park, sending APRS beacons as we drove… we got the park around 2pm and met up with the Ottawa Valley QRP Society‘s Chillicon Campers and spent some time socializing (that’s the most fun part of Chillicon!).
Chillicon is an annual weekend campout featuring divine coffee, red hot chilli, eclectic beer, resistors, capacitors and wire. Lots of wire.
It’s been a long time since I have operated pedestrian mobile. I recently purchased a book entitled “Amateur Radio Pedestrian Mobile Handbook” written be Ed Breneiser, WA3WSJ and it re-kindled my interest in this style of operating.
I wound 28′ of #26AWG teflon coated, silver plated wire onto 24′ of Jackite fiberglass pole and inserted it into a frame made of PVC plumbing zipped into a small backpack and hooked it up to my KX1 strapped to a clipboard with rubber bands. I connected a 32′ drag wire with a crocodile-clip-to-crocodile-clip quick release and went a’walkin’ around the park starting around 3pm.
The antenna tuned up nicely on 20m, 30m and 40m. I was using 2W on 40m and 1W on 20m. I split my time between calling CQ QRP de CF3SIE/PM and seeking out others operating in the New England QRP Club’s QRP Afield event (calling CQ QRP). My first QSO was on 40m with Cal K4JSI in Maryland. Cal gave me RST 559.
I wandered over to a dock which extends out into the Rideau River and I walked out into the river. I cast my drag wire out into the river in the hope that it would improve my signal strength. It did actually seem to make a difference. Dave AB9CA was just booming in from Loxley, Alabama with 5W. We exchanged RST 579 both ways.
I called CQ for a while and hooked Dave NE5DL running 5W from the Lone Star State. Dave gave me an RST 549. My next QSO was also with Texas, it was Andy WA5RML. The best thing about these QRP sprints is re-connecting with all these guys! As I was walking back off the dock, I gave another call to Bob N4BP whom I had called earlier in the contest unsuccessfully. Bob was gradually getting stronger. Bob heard me and we exchanged RST 599 both ways.
I walked back into the campground (catching my antenna several times on the trees … hi) and caught up with the action. Ying VA3YH had arrived :-) Everyone was having a blast, so I walked back out to the cleared are by the river and tuned to 40m.
Suddenly I heard ‘CQ SOTA‘ (Summits-On-The-Air). As luck would have it, I had stumbled upon J.P. CF2SG who was portable on the summit of the Grand Morne mountain in the Appalachian Mountains near the city of Thetford Mines in Chaudière-Appalaches. J.P. gave me a huge, welcoming GRRRR (the call of the wild QRP Polar Bear) and we exchanged signal reports for SOTA chaser points.
You can view J.P.’s video here.
I dashed back into the campground to let the others know that J.P. was on 40m. Michael VE3WMB was successful to work J.P. but Pat VE3EUR missed him by only a few short seconds (those summit stations don’t hang around!)
Chillicon wrapped up with ordering in pizza, partaking of the boundless hospitality of the OVQRP fellas, drinking a can of Rolling Rock beer, the official beverage of the QRP Polar Bears given to me my Michael and throwing some logs on the campfirefire! …great fun!
73 and thanks, guys!!