Monday, July 1, 2024

Atterbury Fish and Wildlife - No Skunk!


Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area - US-4183

So after I got off work today, I loaded up the gear and headed to the scene of the skunking I got in April. Today was upper 70's, sunny, with a slight breeze...for July this is what we call perfect weather to be outside. 

I arrived at about 4:45PM and was setup and on the air by 5PM.  I'm getting good at setting up and tearing down quickly.  I still use a written checklist when loading back up to make sure I don't leave anything in the park.  It's happened. 

Happy Camper
Here I am getting ready to start calling CQ POTA.  See how happy and excited I am?  Everything went smooth on the set up so off I went.  As a reminder, to activate a park, wildlife area, state forest, or other state wilderness area you must make ten contacts, minimum.  I am happy to report that within the first 20 minutes, on the 20m band, I had my ten contacts in the log.  My first contact was WA5RML from New York, then I had W3NCK from Delaware, WA7RAR from Oregon (THAT was a surprise, I was thinking I was only going to be working east coast today) then W8NLZ from Virginia, WJ0L from Minnesota, NK2C from New York, AA7WU from Arizona, KW5CW from Texas but he was at a park like me so this is a Park to Park contact, those are always cool, then K1PUG from Connecticut, and my tenth one today was N0ANE from Minnesota.  I ended up with 21 contacts for the outing.  I spent the entire hour there on 20 meters.  The band was not very good, and there was a lot of signal loss, and wavering....we call that QSB. 

KX2 Radio and Eagle One Vertical Antenna with a small hand key

Stone Arch Lake and Ominous Clouds

All Packed up and Ready to Leave

So on the way out today I decided to drive through the area and go over by Camp Atterbury.  Camp Atterbury at one time was a prisoner of war camp for Italian and a few German soldiers during World War II.  Currently it is an army camp where we train our troops, and foreign troops.  

This is my dad.  Sgt Major William J Murrey, retired.  He served in the US Army and later in the Indiana National Guard.  He passed away in January 2016 at the age of 79.  Pop was assigned to Camp Atterbury for a number of years.  

My kids went to Cub Scout Day Camp at the park next to Camp Atterbury, and my dad and a couple other guys showed up in Humvees and took the kids on some Humvee rides, and let them get a good look at the dining facilities at Camp Atterbury, I believe they were even permitted use of the on base pool as well.  This had to be 35 years ago, and those kids still talk about that to this day.  So I like to go to Atterbury to operate for POTA, I kind of feel a connection here.  Dad was a true patriot, loved his family, loved his country, and served the Lord. 

Veterans Memorial at Camp Atterbury

Before I left the property entirely, I stopped at the Camp Atterbury Veterans Memorial Park for a look around.  

Open from Sunrise to Sunset

Huey Helicopter UH-1M Iroquois - Used in Vietnam

Lots of old military vehicles in the Memorial Park 

I walked around the Memorial Park for about 45 minutes looking at all the vintage equipment they have on permanent display.  When it was time to go I drove back over by the lake and found this little duck family enjoying a early evening swim.  

Until next time! 


Walk for the Bacon Slo-Code Sprint

Once again it is time for the Flying Pigs QRP Club International to run their world famous 40m Walk for the Bacon Slo-Code Sprint! 

Whether you're a new CW operator or a long time CW operator, the Walk for the Bacon Sprint is enjoyable fun for everyone. 

The sprint is held the first Wednesday and Thursday of the month.

All logging is done on the autologger.

This month it is:

Evening of Wednesday July 3rd at 00:00Z to 01:00Z on 40m 7050 Khz to 7065 Khz 
and the evening of Thursday July 4th at 02:00Z to 03:00Z on 40m 7050 Khz to 7065 Khz.

This is a slow code sprint, please set your keyer or your fist to no faster than 13 wpm, and please QRS to match speeds.

If you need a Flying Pig QRP Club International number, you can click on the word MEMBERSHIP at the bottom of the home page. You do NOT need to be a Flying Pig club member to participate!

No dues
No rules
Just fun

We hope to see you there!

FP -57

Sunday, June 30, 2024

US-4215 Morgan Monroe State Forest

Finally got back out there in the wilderness today. Instead of the old standby of Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area I took a longer drive do to Morgan County Indiana and activated at Morgan Monroe State Forest.  I haven't been here since September 2023, and this was my 40th park activation since starting in POTA in June of 2020.  I am definitely not setting any records but it was a beautiful day to be outdoors. 

The temperature was about 76 degrees, which compared to the 90's and upper 80's we've been having, it was delightful to say the least.  I got to the state forest at about 11:15AM EDT and got my station setup and operational but about 11:40AM.  The solar propagation numbers were not looking too good for the lower bands, 30m down to 80m was virtually silent., so I setup on 20m at a frequency of 14059 Kilohertz and started calling CQ POTA.

I did not break out the little AX1 antenna with the KX2 transceiver, instead I raised the mast on the Eagle One, attached a couple radials, and started tuning up.  The Eagle One is a telescoping vertical that raises to a full 10 meters in height. The band was pretty quiet and I was beginning to think I made the trip down here to just practice setting up. 

With the attached radials, this antenna can be tuned on the 40m band down to the 10m band.  Which comes in pretty handy. 

I called CQ POTA for about 5 minutes, once every 30 seconds before I got that fist contact. K4AHO down in Florida answered my call.  I was running 10 watts today because I knew the band was not great.  In the next 8 minutes I made contact with W0PWE in Iowa, WE5K in Texas, W7GB in Washington State, VE3GRG in Ontario Canada, K5VWW in Nevada, and K9PMM in Florida.  That was hopes were raised, as you need 10 contacts for the activation to count.  

So I was munching on a bag of veggies, and enjoying a handmade turkey sandwich while I listened for a few minutes.  Next up was VE3GSS from Ontario Canada, N0EO from Minnesota, W5WIL from Oklahoma, K2MER from New Jersey and I finished up with AI5DD also in Oklahoma but he was operating from a park there.  This is called a Park to Park contact. always fun to work other operators in other parks. 

The site I was operating from within the state forest is a long term study of the local hardwood ecosystem in the Morgan Monroe State Forest. 

All in all a great day to play radio in the outdoors. The mosquitos eventually located my sweet juicy self and began attacking in full force. Total operating time was about an hour.  

The reverse beacon network was not having any trouble picking me up at 10 watts on the 20 meter band. 

Until next time! 

72 es OO de KB9BVN

Sunday, April 28, 2024

I got Skunked Today...


KB9BVN here with my latest POTA report.  It skunked. This is the very first time I have been skunked on a POTA outing.  It was a very warm and breezy day, with a few sprinkles for good measure.  Today I tried a new spot, new to me at least.  Coyote Marsh at Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area, or in POTA terms US-4183. 

My mission was to mount the AX1 antenna in to a "puck" that was made for me by Bruce N9DBJ last fall. It allows you to screw in three aluminum legs, the AX1 goes right in the middle and there are places to connect ground radials with alligator clips or banana plugs.  So I got the antenna mounted in the center of the puck, attached the coax, and spread out two radials about 30 foot each in length.  AX was set to 20m so that is where I decided to start.  What I did not know was the band was not in very good shape at the moment.  I saw this SSN:126 SFI:153 A:12 K:1 when I got home.  A index over 5 or 6 makes it challenging to say the least.  What I did hear, I could just barely hear.  I even turned it up to 10 watts...and got no takers on 20m, 17m, or 15m. 

AX1 mounted on the N9DBJ Puck
My SUV with AX1 sitting on top.

I made zero contacts, for the first time ever.  The skunk was in the boat. 

My empty Log Book - Nothing sadder.

So as the wind picked up, and it started to sprinkle, I just packed it up.  Did some scouting for edible mushrooms, found none, found some interesting garbage left behind, all in all a good day to be outdoors. 

73 de KB9BVN


Monday, April 15, 2024

Quick Trip to the Park

I was able to leave work a little bit early today so I headed down to Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area, now known as US-4183, and setup shop in the Mink Meadow. This was a real time crunch for me, so I got set up in about 10 minutes, and got on the air for another 20 minutes, and managed 13 contacts all on 20m.  I noticed as I was tearing down the site, my KX2 was still set to 5 watts from last night's Second Sunday Night Sprint (hosted by the 4 States QRP Group).  

I managed to work several states out west, including Colorado, Washington, South Dakota, and Nevada.  That was nice to have in the logs. I did not have any time to hunt for Park to Parks, and had to get down the road.  Weather today was bright sun and 83F ... considering we had snow flurries and four days of rain last week, it was a welcomed change. 

I was pretty impressed with the way my 5w was getting out there, here's a snip from the reverse beacon network.  Not too shabby! 

Well anyway, I hope to get back out to the parks later this week...all depends on the April Indiana weather.  

73 de KB9BVN


Sunday, March 17, 2024

Running for the Bacon

Today is St.Patrick's Day, and also today we have the "Run for the Bacon" CW sprint.  This sprint has been sponsored by the Flying Pigs QRP Club International for over 20 years now.  In it's heyday there would regularly be over 100 participants.  Over the years, participation has slowed down some, mainly due to the club not being as active as it once was. QRP is still very popular and we still have new member requests every week.  The club currently has just shy of 4900 members from all over the world.  

Club Founder Diz W8DIZ

We were hit with some very bad news this month when we learned of the passing of Dieter "Diz" Gentzow, the club founder.  Diz was a great guy, patient Elmer,  designer and purveyor of kits and parts for hams all over the world.  He and his beloved wife Nancy owned and operated for many years.  

With this news, efforts are being made to revive the club to a more active level, and tonight was the "Run for the Bacon Sprint".  I admit this is the first sprint I have participated in for many years, but I had a lot of fun with it, and I plan to make this monthly sprint a "must do" item on my calendar. 

I'd like to thank Dan Shepherd N8IE, and Jim Sheldon W0EB, for taking the bull by the horns and getting the website and the domain for the Flying Pigs secured.  We are all working on the website a little at a time to try and modernize some of the features, as well as stir up more interest in the club and club events. 

Check out the Flying Pigs QRP Club International.  One of the first virtual clubs on the web!

1. No Dues

2. No Rules

3. Just Fun

If we find something broken, we fix it. 

72 es OO de KB9BVN

Brian Murrey FP -57