Flight Of The Bumblebees 2019 was a fun time with on the air friends and local friends. I was at Carl Grey Park in Panama City, Florida. The activity was brisk for the first two hours of four and fell off after that. My first contact was Larry W2LJ. I also worked friends Steve KF5RY, Steve WG0AT, Shel KF0UR, Jim W4QO, and Ed WA3WSJ. In town, I worked WB8PAF and Jim KW4UT, who was using an HW-8. 20 meters dominated. I just picked up Georgia and Alabama on 40 meters. The grand total was 46 contacts and 28 Bumblebees. I was assisted on-site by Dennis WA6QKN and Ron KK4DWE. Phil N4STC and Jim KW4UT came for a visit.
My N6BT Bravo 7K vertical antenna is positioned on St Andrews Bay for the saltwater effect.
My gear was the Elecraft KX2 at 5 watts CW. The internal battery almost carried the whole event. The 20-meter antenna was the N6BT Bravo 7K on the St Andrews Bay shoreline. My 40-meter antenna was the SOTA Beams 40/30/20 Band Hopper link dipole.
In the scheme of things:
2016 38 QSOs 25 BB
2017 61 QSOs 37 BB
2018 34 QSOs 21 BB
2019 46 QSOs 28 BB
This year was the second-best out of four years. I am still impressed with what 5 watts will do even at Solar Minimum.
Shel KF0UR one of my contacts was on Mt. Blodgett in Colorado Springs, CO, at 8000 feet MSL
WA6QKN on the left and N4KGL on the right hard at it.
For the July 13th, 2019 RaDAR Challenge, I chose to transition between stops on my new bike. I experimented with different ways to carry the gear on the bike. I found my Jackite Pole to be unwieldy at its four-foot collapsed length. So I invested in the SOTABeams Tactical 7000 mast. Its collapsed length is 23 inches, and it is 23 feet extended. I carried the mast and an angle iron stake in a gun sling across my back. I pound in the stake in the ground to anchor the mast. I also made use of bags on the rear bike rack and a backpack. The rig was the Elecraft KX2. My antenna of choice was the SOTABeams Band Hopper link dipole for 40/30/20 meters supported in the middle by the Tactical 7000.
My Raleigh Venture Bike setup for RaDAR
There was rain in the forecast influenced by tropical storm Barry. Happily, we did not get a drop of rain. The venue was Kinsaul Park in Lynn Haven, Florida. I did all the operating from the park but took my rides in the neighborhood. In the four hours for the RaDAR Challenge, I did three stops with five contacts each and made two bike rides in between stops.
There were not many RaDAR operators out except for John VA3KOT. I did not pick him up. So I took advantage of SKCC contacts on 40 meters CW and some IARU contest contacts of 20 meters. A highlight was working my ham friend Curtis WB4SHX in Mississippi purely by chance on 40 meters SSB. I mixed in some local contacts from N4STC and N4VSP. Unfortunately, I did not get a contact on the SO-50 satellite pass at the end of the four hours.
The SOTABeams Tactical 7000 mast and the SOTA Beams Band Hopper link dipole deployed.
My Elecraft KX2 resting on the rear bike cargo rack
RaDAR is Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio. Thanks to Eddie ZS6BNE for the RaDAR Concept. The challenges continue to be fun. The next RaDAR Challenge is the first Saturday in November. Check out the RaDAR group on MeWe.
Linda and I camped at Kolomoki Mounds State Park near Blakely, Georgia for two nights starting on July 2nd. The campground is next to beautiful Lake Kolomoki. We did not have any cell coverage for our AT & T phones. What a shock!
I did a Parks On The Air (POTA) activation for K-3726 with 33 QSOs. I used the Elecraft KX2 with 10 watts in the beginning and later with the 100-watt amp. I ran across Bobby AJ4KA in Newnan on 40 meters CW by chance. He was running a homebrew tube rig on a dummy load by accident he said. I gave him a health and welfare message since we had no internet.
The campsite had liberal space for an antenna. I used the SOTAbeams Band Hopper 40/30/20 link dipole. I also did a SO-50 sat pass using callsign W3ZM/4 for the AMSAT 50th Anniversary Celebration. I got three contacts including Jim K4LIX in Panama City.
I took a couple of bike rides up steep 80-foot hills. It almost killed me on the way up but coming down was fast and sweet. Linda and I also took in the park museum and learned what the mounds were all about. They are pretty neat unless you are getting sacrificed at the Chief's funeral.
So we had a successful trip and gave the Georgia gnats something to do. I recommend this park for a getaway.