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

Monday, August 31, 2015

St George Island Expedition

St George Island Florida has both a State Park and a Lighthouse on different parts of the Island. St George is FL007S in the US Islands directory. Saturday was the W/VE Island QSO Party. Linda my wife and Suzy our Basset made this a get-away weekend spending Friday and Saturday night at the St George Inn which is a block from the Lighthouse.  First of all, the island is very popular with dog owners as dogs are welcome on the beach. So Suzy was right at home, she enjoyed the bed at the hotel, the beach and met many other dogs over the weekend, There is access to the beach right behind the Lighthouse.

Bob KK4DIV and wife Carla

This expedition became a Panama City ARC Club event as well. I operated with the club call W4RYZ. Bob KK4DIV and his wife Carla arrived Saturday morning from Panama City. Bob used a portable generator to power his FT-450 rig. I had contacted the Lighthouse Association and had permission to use the light as support for an antenna. However, the Lighthouse did not open for climbing because of lightning in the area. I setup at one of the pavilions near the beach instead. I used the Icom 7100 on battery power and a Chameleon Hybrid Micro with a whip. I got in an hours operating and picked up five islands.

Setup from the beach pavilion looking toward the light.
 I went to pickup Linda and Suzy and had lunch. On our return, Vic K4GXV his wife Sally KD4UUN, Bob WB4BLX and his wife Linda KG4TJL arrived from Panama City. I decided it was time to setup an antenna on the Lighthouse. I was not as easy as it sounds. I took 150 feet of line to the top of the light. The line became a huge tangled ball. So I had to unravel it which must have taken 30 minutes. After that I got Vic and Bob's assistance to deploy a Chameleon Tactical Dipole Lite. It was inverted vee style with the top about 55 feet up. A ham is always wanting to try something like this right! I setup at the base of the light and worked four more islands. I also worked KK4DIV on four additional bands. I had 23 contacts for the day and nine islands. I figure I got a good percentage of the islands that were active.

That is me up there untangling a ball of line before dropping it over the side.
On Sunday Linda, Suzy and I returned to the beach behind the light. Suzy enjoys the sand but does not want to get in the water. Although, she got close and the waves chased her back. I setup with the KX3 and the Chameleon Vertical. I got seven contacts on 20 meters. One was Fred VE3FAL. Fred was using the You Kits TJ2B hand held rig.

Suzy meets the surf.
Thanks to the St. George Island Lighthouse Association for having us hams. And thanks to Jim the Lighthouse Keeper for his assistance.

The view of the beach from the Lighthouse

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Planning for St George Island Ops Saturday 29 August

The US islands W/VE QSO Party on Saturday 29 August has turned into to a get away trip to St. George Island, Florida for Linda and me. Suzy is going too. I enquired and got permission to use the St. George Lighthouse for an antenna support. I am having a self debate on antennas to use. I am thinking currently to use a 20 meter dipole as the main antenna and then a sloping 60 foot wire to the ground for the other bands.The sloping antenna is the Chameleon Hybrid Micro. I will use a single line over the lighthouse railing. I guess I will go with my Field Day portable station based on the Icom 7100 and a 40 amp hour battery. The WX is touch and go with thunderstorms predicted.

I will be operating under our club call W4RYZ for Panama City ARC. There will be other ops from our club setting up at the State Park or helping me out at the Lighthouse. The US Islands W/VE QSO Party is 1200z 29 August – 0300z 30 August, 2015. 15 Hours. I will be focusing on 1500 to 2100 or 10 am to 5 pm Eastern Time. Our operating frequencies are 14.250-14.260 (main) 7.250, 21.350,and 28.450 mHz phone.  The US islands designator for St George Island is FL007S.

More on the QSO Party information is at Information on the Lighthouse is at and the State Park at I am looking forward to many contacts including RaDAR operators.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Huntsville Hamfest Report

I was pleased to attend the Huntsville Hamfest this year. My wife Linda joined me. We met up with John W8JER and his wife Micky KE8ASK from Sturgis Michigan. I also met my buddy John K4KQZ from Columbia Tennessee.  Saturday in addition to shopping, I attended the QRP presentation on portable antennas by Craig NM4T.

Monte Sano QRP Event

The highlight of the trip was the QRP BBQ that Craig puts on Saturday Night at the cabins on Monte Sano. There were three RaDAR Ops there.  First was Don KK4QAM and his wife Carol. I found out Carol is KK4VBT, a General Class, and likes JT-65. Second was Steven N0TES AKA Wise Seeker on Google+. He owns Alpha Antennas. The third is Craig NM4T known as the "Huntsville Guy." There were LNR radios to try out including the Mountain Topper and the LD-5. Of course there were LNR antennas in the trees. 

Craig gave us some tips on island operating like "Buddies in the Caribbean" along with videos. We also heard about SOTA. I gave a short talk on the K-Tor pedal power generator and the supercapacitor bank. Jerry N4EO volunteered to do some pedaling. Thanks Jerry!

In the shopping department, I got an LNR 40/30/20 End Fed to go along with my LNR Mountain Topper. My best deal was a copy of the Stealth Amateur Radio book by Kirk Kleinschmidt for $4. It lists for about $150 used or $200 new on Amazon. 

Sorry I just did not get many photos. The one above is by Steven. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Skeeter Hunting in Alabama

I combined a trip to my Parent's in Dothan, Alabama and the NJQRP Skeeter Hunt event. The house is where I grew up and has many tall pines. So I went with the 40/20 fan dipole in the front yard.. I used my Big Shot sling shot to get the center support line over a limb. There were higher limbs but my choice was up about 30 feet high. I did not start hanging the antenna until the start of the hunt. It takes a bit of time to secure the dipole ends and so forth. I did did not get the first contact until a hour had past.

The conditions could have been better. there was plenty of QSB. On 20 CW I worked a string of six including KX0R, W2LJ, N3AQC, NE5DL, WD8RIF and N3CU. I checked 15 meters CW and I worked N9SE doing SKCC.Then I mixed in 20 SSB and picked up three doing the Maryland/DC QSO Party. On to 40 CW Iworked N5GW doing the hunt. Not much more there so I went to 40 SSB. I worked K9HAM running a net on 7.285 and AK4YF on 7.255. My final jump was to 15 CW and worked N3AQC doing the hunt. I heard KC5FM/M a mobile skeeter on 20 SSB but he could not hear me. I also was called by someone on SSB too weak to copy. So lets see I count 9 CW contacts and 8 were Skeeters. There were 5 SSB contacts and none were Skeeters. So that was 14 over two and a half hours as I packed up 30 minutes early.

I was assisted by my Dad, Tom WD0HBR and Suzy our basset puppy. We took advantage of the shade. I enjoyed mixing up CW and SSB. The KX3 is a fine rig for that.Thanks to Larry W2LJ for setting up a nice QRP event. The local skeeters in the yard found me I did not need to hunt for them!


Greg N4KGL