FYBO 2011 with Eric VA3AMX

By , February 5, 2011 10:14 pm
Eric VA3AMX Operating under the Gazebo


Eric set up his KX1 under the gazebo shelter at Shirleys Bay on the south bank of the Ottawa river.  It was –7°C (19.5°F) wind chill at that time.  He was using a 28′ sloper to a nearby tree with two ¼-λ counterpoises (16′ & 32′).  He started at 1430Z.  I arrived at the picnic area around noon and set up an 88′ doublet at about 25′ fed with 300Ω TV twinlead and hooked up my KX1 at a nearby picnic table.

We had both adjusted the power level of our KX1 to be below 1W.  In my case, I hooked up old batteries and got 1.7W so I had to back off the drive level pot to get it down to 1W with a 50Ω dummy load.

The weather was fantastic when I arrived, it was 0°C (32°F) but felt a lot warmer because the sun was beating down.  I had my sleeves rolled up and I was drinking in the sunlight – lovely.  Eric was operating on 20m so I settled down on 40m.  It was tough because QRM from Erics station was wiping out most of the band.  I was able to find a couple of spots clear of QRM to make some CQ calls (there was no one calling CW FYBO that I could hear).

After a while I heard Mark NK8Q calling CQ on 7.041MHz but Eric had already had a QSO with Mark as VA3AMX so instead I called Mark using my own callsign.  Marks description of his operating location (Jo Hays Vista in PA) was FB, what a nice spot.  Pity it’s not a SOTA summit too :-)
The view was great, the bay is very popular with ice fishermen, (the Ottawa River was frozen from bank to bank – so there was a constant stream of trucks, ATVs and snowmobiles driving out onto the river ice to go fish.

I put up an 88′ doublet and commenced FYBO’ing.  The bands were gnarly.  Throughout the whole afternoon I was able to add only five more entries to Erics VA3AMX log.  The KX1 is not the best radio for QRM :-) so two of us both with KX1s was a challenge… when Eric was on 20m, 40m was almost almost unusable (odd you’d expect it to be the other way around).  It was a little better the other way around.

Martin VA3SIE

Martin VA3SIE

We chose to make like tough on ourselves.  We both adjusted our KX1 drive levels so that we were putting out less than 1W (1 bar solid, 1 bar flickering).

N4BP was very strong on 20m all afternoon, as usual.  I heard many Polar Bears, It was good to have QSOs with some bears who are not PBMME regulars such as Jim K4AHO (#185) and Terry WA0ITP (#30),  I heard many bears who I couldn’t work in FYBO as I was using Erics callsign (K4UPG, AF4Ogreat signal Chuck, WA8REI) and those would have been dupe contacts.  I did call Mark NK8Q at his moutain-top location using my own call as I haven’t had a QSO with Mark in a long time.

Eric came over and as we were chatting with the rig idling on 7035kHz I heard QRL?  QRL?  CQ FYBO DE VE3WMB so I was happy to be Micheal’s first QSO of the day, he was set up in the Central Experimental Farm running 5W from the K1 into a end-fed 51 ft inverted-vee wire worked against 5 X 16 foot radials.

I spent most of the afternoon using my pack as a pillow and catching some ZZZs while my rig was calling CQ on autopilot.  What a pleasure to snooze in the sun in a park, a sneak preview of what Summer holds in store.   Erm… sorry if I missed anyone returning to my CQ call 😳

NQ7RP was at ESP levels.  We spent 15 minutes calling Mike with our 1W radios and a couple of time we got a QRZ? … but it wasn’t to be.

Got overcast around 2pm and the temp plummeted, so we bailed.

Very enjoyable, felt just like a PBMME!!

7 Responses to “FYBO 2011 with Eric VA3AMX”

  1. John Neeley W6ZKH says:

    Great pictures, Martin…..wow…shortsleeved shirt….musta been pretty balmy there on the ice cap today….here it was 63, just bearly tolerant..


  2. va3sie says:

    @John W6ZKH,

    It was indeed balmy. A high of 32… positively blistering 😉 Well, until the sun went behind the clouds. Then it was bloody freezing :-) I started the day in short sleeves. I ended the day wearing down, goretex and sheepskin.

    @Chuck AF4O

    Its good to have a vigilant park ranger looking out for you. There can’t have been too many folks in the park this weekend? Glad we got you in the VA3AMX log.

    @JohnPaul AB4PP

    Freezing rain… yuck. My least favorite weather phenomenon. 😉 … good idea to bail out. Nothing worse than getting soaked to the skin. That usually happens (for me) in the October or November PBMMEs. The propagation was interesting. You’d expect an active sun to enhance ionospheric reflection… not degrade it. Oh, well. Pity we were unable to complete a QSO. I guess the propagation was one-way for us.

    @Aaron N9SKN

    Did we get you in our logs this time? You usually have a blistering signal into ON. Maybe Eric worked you… as for the short sleeves… he he… last weekend I was hiking in -18°C(-1°F) so yesterday felt (to me) like midsummer. Gotta soak up those rays here in VE-land… make some vitamin D :-)

  3. Eric/Martin, Great to hear you guys. I had just a dusting of snow but cloudy here all day thus no sun warmth. Kept a fire going and would warm around it periodically. Also my propane sportcat helped keep my sending hand thawed. Park Ranger finally stopped to see if he had a “situation” as he didnt think my feet, which he could only see as i had the truck blocking the wind, had moved :-). Nice guy though and had a chat with him about our strange twist to the hobby :-). 72 Chuck aka Hillbilly Bear AF4O

  4. JohnPaul AB4PP says:

    You were so lucky. It rained cats and dogs here when I got to the park. Had to bail on my location. Could not stand the rain and it was 34F outside when I got there. Can you say freezing rain. Made a dash back to the warm den and just had a great day. Propx sucked and had the hardest time hearing anyone. I still managed to work quite a few stations. I heard you twice and could not get back to you.

  5. N9SKN says:

    Nice pictures guys. The short sleeve shirt is toooo much 😉


  6. Bob VE3MPG says:

    Glad you enjoyed yourself in the sun Martin. It was +3c in south Greely and spent a few hours outside bringing wood in and shoveling snow and enjoyed the warm sun. 73, Bob VE3MPG

  7. va3sie says:

    @Bob VE3MPG Yes it did feel warmer than freezing, in the sun. I’m always surprised by the wide variation in temperatures reported by the Ottawa area stations in FYBO. Some give the wind chill figure, others the ambient temp, some report the temperature as reported by Environment Canada, others as read off a mercury thermometer, others as received from an APRS weather station. Its amazing how much variation there can be :-) … I don’t have anything with a thermometer in it except for my VX-8 and its hopeless (it was reading +25C). So last sat we used the Environment Canada figure including wind chill (since we were exposed to the wind).

    I must say I enjoyed FYBO tremendously as my portable operations have otherwise been fairly strenuous (thanks, SOTA!). :-)

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