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.
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, AF4O – great 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!!