SKCC 5123T----- FISTS 14979----- Flying Pigs 2331----- NAQCC 3610-----QRP ARCI 14176-----Polar Bear 257

Monday, February 13, 2012

Orlando Hamcation 2012

I enjoyed the trip from Panama City to Orlando for the Hamcation. I was traveling with Marv KK4DKT who is an excellent navigator. We arrived on Friday afternoon. Marv headed straight to the Buddipole booth to buy a Buddistick. Instead he bought the Mini Buddipole which gives you many more options and packs in a small bag. The booth was staffed by Budd W3FF, Chris W6HFP, Dan WZ1P and Steve WG0AT. I actually did not realize it was Steve the "Old Goat" until it was over. Next, I got a real good look at the Elecraft KX3. I like that radio!

Friday night Marv and I setup a buddistick in our third floor room at the La Qunita. I checked out 20 meters which was dead, 30 meters had a few stations and the 40 meters which was packed. It was an underdog effort considering at 40 meters the Buddistick efficiency is reduced and our counterpoise was inside the room. So it was a joy to have a solid QSO with W9UK in PA. I was using the HB1B at 5 watts.

The highlight for me was meeting Kelly K4UPG and friends at lunch on Saturday. I also sat across from Rex Harper from who sells the tuna tin QRP kits. Kelly and I have a lot in common of course with QRP. We read each others blog His is He hopes next year they will have some QRP specific activities. I took my Miliwat "Pixie" like transceiver in the sandwich container for show and tell.

My best find at the Hamcation was a French Jardiller Miniature key. According to the web, they were made in Issy, Les Moulineaux, France and were manufactured for the French military and the French Post Office. The key was also used by the South African military and possibly the French Foreign Legion. The key is old new stock. It looks like it will just the right size for portable ops.

We were exhausted (spent the money) on Saturday afternoon and returned to the hotel. In the parking lot Marv setup his new Buddipole. He setup for 10 meters initially. The SWR checked good on first try. He heard some strong DX from Chile. But did not squeeze in a contact. Then he setup on 20 meters and worked North Dakota. He was pleased how easy it was to switch bands. He is going to get a lot of use out of the Buddipole for Portable Ops.

All went well. Saturday was my birthday after all. Marv QSOed with several hams on 146.520 on I10 heading back to Panama City.