Wow the first PBMME of the season was super fun!
I hiked up from the parking lot near Black Lake and got to my operating position near the summit of King Mountain on the Eardley Escarpment at 2100Z, took a half hour to get an 88ft doublet up to 30ft and put on some keep-warm layers (Calpilene and Merino Wool), set up my Elecraft KX1 and then I spent 3 hours making QSOs BSOs.
The Eardley Escarpment is the most fragile ecosystems in the park so I had to be very careful to tread only on bare rock.
|Time||Band||Callsign||Polar Bear Number||Signal Report||Comments|
|2150Z||20m||N0EVH||144 (12 Squared Bear)||459 (QSB)||John was out in his /M along the Missouri River.|
|2200Z||40m||WA8REI||21 (Blackjack Bear)||579||Ken was in the Den (Teddy Bear).|
|2230Z||40m||VE2JCW||241 (Jean)||589||Looking forward to doing a SOTA hike with Jean.|
|2245Z||40m||VA3CMD||143 (Patrick)||599 (QRM)||In his /M in Ottawa, 2.5W from an FT-817 to a Huslter.|
|2320Z||40m||N9SKN||126 (Aaron)||579||I was logging by the light of the full moon by this point!|
|2330Z||40m||VA2NB||19 (Dapper Bear)||589 (Flutter)||Polar flutter on Michael’s signal (Groundwave?)|
|2345Z||40m||KB3CXQ||Shaun||579 (QRN)||Monongahela Forest.|
|0045Z||40m||NI9Y||218 (Dan)||589 (QRN)||Dan was in Mishawaka, Indiana.|
7 bears in the bag, not too shabby!
I had a flask of water, a flask of hot green tea, some kettle chips, some chocolate almonds and a cliff bar for dinner, which I munched on while making my QSOs. I had a portable camping chair so I was quite comfortable! As the full moon rose in the sky, visibility steadily improved to the point that I was able to log contacts using moonlight alone… cool!
The weather conditions were just perfect! Started out around 42°F (5.5°C) with a light wind and by the time I left it was 38°F (3.7°C) and the wind had died down. The sky was mostly clear so I had a pretty good view of the Ottawa Skyline as well as being nice and dry. When I started to get a little shivery, I put on a couple of caps and dropped a pair of glove warmers into my jacket pockets so I could put my hands in there and warm them up between QSOs.
It was super fun, got several new polar bears in the log for the first time – bonus!
Michael VA2NB had a very interesting signal, it had a large component of flutter on it, sounded like a polar path, except that he was 30km away, there must have been ground wave combining with NVIS reflections? Anyway whatever the technical reason for it, “polar” flutter was exactly the right thing to hear on the premiere PBMME!
At 9pm I decided I had enough bears in the bag, so I (again careful to walk only on bare rock!) retrieved all the antenna strings/wires and took a last photo. As the full moon was high in the night sky, it was so bright that I could turn off my headlamp and hike back to Black Lake by the light of the full moon. VA3QV who accompanied me the week before kept me company on the VE2CRA repeater for the hike back to the parking lot.
Many thanks to all the bears who made it out to the trail or participated in the PBMME today, the 2010 season got off to a great start – it’s gonna be a good one!