October 2010 Polar Bear Moonlight Madness

By , October 24, 2010 1:11 pm

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!

VA3SIE/P Moonlight Hiker

VA3SIE/P Moonlight Hiker

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!

2 Responses to “October 2010 Polar Bear Moonlight Madness”

  1. N9SKN says:

    I would lilke to try a bit more of that night operating myself, Martin. Glad it worked out for you as you have a sack full of Polar Bears!

    Must present some interesting challenges besides being just a LITTLE bit creepy out there :)
    73, Aaron

  2. VE3WMB says:

    Martin :

    You sounded like you were somewhere in Siberia ! ;-) Very strange propagation !

    Glad I managed to nab you before you packed up. It was an incredibly beautiful autumn day with an amazing full moon.

    Michael VA2NB (PB #19) GRRRRRRRRRR

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