Monday, July 27, 2020

The Pig Out Sprint

The day I had been waiting for finally arrived, Sunday July 26th was the day for the Pig Out Sprint.  This event was quickly put together by the Flying Pigs QRP Club International, and most of the heavy lifting was done by Diz W8DIZ, Paul K4FB (aka WF4FB), and Dan N8IE (aka W8PIG).  So the start time had arrived and I was going to operate outdoors so I could soak up the extra multi' was 92F in the shade, and not a breeze in sight.  I was using my K2, LDG Z11 tuner, and my Eagle One vertical mounted on the trailer hitch of my SUV.  Basically my POTA actication station.  By 3:30PM I was getting over heated and decided to shut down, pack up and move back to the house.  I made 5 contacts, the band conditions were dismal, with the A index hovering at 15.  It was a lot of fun though!

Also, today I got my Sapphire Hunter award from POTA, that means I have worked 75 different parks as a Hunter, all CW, and all QRP via my K1 and attic dipole at home.  The Activators must have bionic ears.  I have gotten RSTs from 229 to 599 while working on this one.  I really have to hand it to the guys in the parks for even hearing me.  I stated hunting on 06/23 so it took me right at 32 days to earn this award.  Not bad for QRP CW, if I say so myself. 

75 Parks, all QRP CW - Thanks! 

73 de KB9BVN

Friday, July 24, 2020

K-4183 One More Time - POTA!

So I am not on call this week, and I got the itch to go activate the Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area again.  I have made a total of 71 contacts from there, all QRP CW.  So my goal was to get 29 more, an even 100, and then move on to another POTA park.  I had been chatting with Wayne AC9HP and talked him into joining me, even though it was an hour drive for him.  Once that POTA feeling gets in your DNA you're helpless against it. 

So I checked the weather, we've been getting massive late afternoon pop up thunderstorms for the last few days.  I don't want to get stuck in a lightning storm.

The red dot is about where the park is located, and we didn't see a threat on the local radar, so it was a go. 

I made it to the site at about 5PM local (21:00Z) and started setting up, our favorite picnic table was totally available, so setup only took maybe 15 minutes.  I started out running CQ POTA on 30m, 10.120 Mhz and much to my surprise the first station I heard was Wayne AC9HP on the far west side of Indianapolis.  

The band was not sounding too hot, but within 5 more minutes I had another contact, this time with Jim KK4BNC down in Georgia, and he gave me a 599 RST.  I kept calling CQ POTA for maybe another 20 minutes but nothing was being heard in my headset.   I was thinking maybe every one was on their way home from work or something...surely it wasn't my QRP signal.   Reluctantly I switch bands, and moved down to 40m and tuned up on 7.062 Mhz.  I spotted myself with the POTA spotting app on my phone and started calling CQ POTA. 

I took a look at the reverse beacon report and this is what I saw: 

Reverse Beacon - KB9BVN 07/23/20 from K-4183

Just as I thought.  The band had been going up and down all afternoon...

Even with the band conditions being less than optimal, I managed to get 21 more contacts in about 45 minutes.  I worked 16 states from Maine to Texas with my setup this evening.  AC9HP was my closest at about 50 miles and Dustin W1OPR and Robert NA5AR were my furthest at about 1000 Miles. 

QSOMAP - KB9BVN 07/23/20 - from K-4183

Wayne arrived at about 6:00PM, so I finished of a few more and went QRT.  Wayne then used my K2 and his newly acquired Vibrokeyer to go for an activation as well. 

Wayne was able to get about 20 more contacts in the next hour or so, the band started to improve as the hour got later.  He was ACTIVATED! 

I ended up with 23 contacts...I am 6 short of the 100 I was targeting from this park.  So I will make one more trip maybe this weekend to knock those out and then my activations will be from another park in Indiana. 

POTA has been a lot of fun for me, I have made 192 contacts in the last month, which is more contacts than I made in all of 2019.  It's brought a lot of fun back in to the hobby for me as I really enjoy taking the station portable.  I earned my 50 Park Diamond Hunter Award a week or so ago. The next level is Sapphire Hunter and you need 75 UNIQUE parks hunted.  I am sitting at 72 right now. 

Don't forget the Pig Out Sprint is this Sunday from 17:00Z to 21:00Z - QRP CW sprints are a lot of fun. 

Here's a picture of my POTA Mobile...see you all later! 

73 de KB9BVN 

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Flying Pigs QRP Club - The PIG OUT Sprint!

The Flying Pigs QRP Club PIG OUT Sprint is this coming Sunday July 26th

The Official name of the contest this Sunday is the "Pig Out" (tnx to John, M0JBA for suggestion)
Rules will be posted in the next 24 hours. 

Look for the contest info at 

Preliminary rules and info:

This is a 4 hour fun event on Sunday July 26 2020.

Object: Work as many CW contacts as possible

Multiplier points for working Flying Pigs and working Flying Pigs not at their home QTH.

Contest period: 1700 to 2100 UTC

Bands: 40, 20, 15, and 10 meters CW only.

If FPqrp member using normal Home QTH station, send RST and FPqrp# and X2; i.e. 559 NR1234 "x2"  else if FPqrp member using Field station, send RST and FPqrp# and "X5" ; i.e. 559 NR2345 "x5"
else send RST and Power; i.e. 559 5W

Entry Categories: None

There is only one power levels: QRP - no more than 5 watts

Scoring: Score is number of QSOs per Band with/without FPqrp# and Field multipliers

Special bonus points: Work W8PIG or WF4FP and get a 10X Multi

To Enter: Post your score via the AUTOLOG within 15 days of the event (July 26, 2020). 

If you need a Flying Pig to and click on the RED membership button at the bottom of the page. 

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Newest Activation

It was Friday and it was 4PM...quitting time at work for me.  Due to COVID I have been working from home for the last four months, so I was ready to get out of the house.  I grabbed my POTA activation go-kit and headed south back to K-4183, Atterbury State Fish and Wildlife Area. 

I arrived there at about 5PM EDT and started getting things set up.  This would be an activation attempt using the Eagle One hitch mount antenna, the Elecraft K2, and LDG Z11 autotuner.  I got started out on 30m, tuned to 10.115 Mhz by 5:30PM EDT.   The band was a little weak at first, but after about 20 minutes or so things changed and the contacts were rolling in. 

By 5:56Pm EDT I was at 12 contacts on 30m and ready to move to the 40m band.  I had worked nine different states, from New York to Texas running about 10 watts from the K2.  The hunters had great ears tonight, and I thank them for working my activation.  My RST reports ranged from 229 to 599 with  a couple of  339s thrown in for good measure. 

Here is a bugs eye view of my antenna: 

Eagle One Vertical...hitch mounted on my POTA Mobile

At about 6PM I was ready to jump down to 40m and give that a try, started out a little weak but the band did begin to improve a little for me toward the end of my session.  I managed to work another 10 hunters on 40m.  RBN was really starting to look good. 

At about 6:30PM EDT, my friend and fellow POTA activator, Wayne AC9HP showed up ready to operate.  By this time I was tired of sitting at the picnic table and decided to let Wayne use my K2 and his Blue Racer to see if he could squeeze out an activation. 

Wild about POTA activations!  KB9BVN es AC9HP 

Wayne was working the hunters on 30m and 40m as well and by the time we stopped he had about 15 contacts in the log, plenty good for an official activation of K-4183.  I think Wayne liked my K2 pretty well, Ivin W9ILF and I are trying to coerce him in to building one for POTA use.  

Wayne has only been at CW for a relatively short time but he has progressed quickly, and can run that Blue Racer bug like a champion.  So after his activation we started packing up.  With the Eagle One hitch mount and the Go Kit I can be deployed in less than 15 minutes and torn down in about the same.  This antenna is no wonder wire, but it is certainly easy for a one man operation to set up and take down.   My son Andrew N9AWM, has loaned me his FT-857D so I can try some SSB contacts the next time I go out.  My K2 does SSB but I don't have a microphone for it. 

We cleaned up the site, and decided it was time for dinner.  So off to the Diner in New Whiteland for a home cooked meal.  I might add it was delicious.

Last but not least. I used the tools at to create neat map of the contacts I made tonight from Central Indiana.  This is a really cool tool to map out contacts.  In the midst of all this activating I realized a new state!  

KB9BVNQSO Map from K-4183 on JUL 10 2020

Arizona is now in the log thanks to W7WXX/P working me on 30m.  Now I  am down to the last ten.  I hope to finish this three year quest for WAS QRP CW by the end of 2020. 

Best 73 de KB9BVN

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

My POTA Hunter Station

KB9BVN POTA Hunter Station - K1, Ten Tec Paddles, Battery, and LDG Z11 Autotuner

Yes indeed.  This is my POTA Hunter station I use when I am working from home.  It sits on my desk and is connected to a dipole in my attic.  This K1 is serial number 1205, I bought this radio as a kit from Wayne Burdick N6KR at the Dayton Hamvention in 2002. It took me about 3 weeks to build it in my spare time. It is a 4 band unit, 15m, 20m, 30m, and 40m.  With the LDG Z11 I can tune my attic dipole on all four bands.  On 40m it is capable of about 7 watts, and 5 on the other three. 

Since I started POTA hunting on June 22nd of this year I have used this little setup to log almost 50 different Parks on the Air activators, I just got my Gold Certificate this weekend (30 parks) and I hope to get my Diamond Certificate (50 Parks) before the end of this week. 

POTA Gold for 30 Different Parks in the Logs

I have already shown you what I use when I go out activating parks.  The bands are not hot but I'm still making contacts and I owe a BIG part of it to the incredible ears out there that can pull me out of the weeds for those tough ones.  

This has been so much fun and has really reactivated my interest to get out there and operate portable/remote or picnic table.  Give it a try! 

73 de KB9BVN

Monday, July 6, 2020

QRP-ARCI Summertime Home Brew Sprint

QRP-ARCI Summertime Home Brew Sprint is here! 

The annual QRP-ARCI Summertime Home Brew Sprint is this coming Sunday, July 12, from 20:00Z to 23:00Z. This is your chance to use your home brew station (if you built it from a kit, it also counts as home brew) for a neat sprint and a chance to win a certificate! 

You can read all the rules and get all the details by visiting the QRP-ARCI website.  Logging is simple and easy, just go to  and follow the instructions there. 

Entry may be All-Band, Single Band, High Bands (10m-15m-20m) or Low Bands (40m-80m-160m), and remember this is a QRP contest!  Earn extra point multipliers for low power.  If you can't QRP you can still join in the fun! 

Get on any of the HF bands except the WARC bands and hang out near the QRP frequencies.  Work as many stations calling CQ QRP or CQ TEST as possible, or call CQ QRP or CQ TEST yourself!  You can work a station for credit once on each band.

I am going to be using my 5w K1 (built in 2002) or my 900 mW Norcal 40A (built in 1998). 

I hope to work you on the air!


Saturday, July 4, 2020

Happy Fourth of July!

Today there is no radio, just hanging out with friends and family and enjoying the celebration of our nation's independence.  It's a great place to be.  I thank God and the founding fathers for giving us this great nation.  Long may she live!

Thanks to Thomas Jefferson!  Nothing says "Happy Fourth of July! " like a grilled bacon cheeseburger and fresh garden veggies!

Have a great day everyone! Enjoy the fireworks tonight if you can find any!  

73 de KB9BVN

Friday, July 3, 2020

QRP CW - Activated!

This being the national day of observance for the 4th of July National Independence holiday, I was not working.  So I met up with Wayne AC9HP and Bruce N9DBJ and we went to the Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area to throw up some antennas and get on the air.  This is park K-4183 in the POTA (Parks on the Air) program. 

I arrived at about 8:30AM and started setting up my new POTA portable system.  The humidity was about 80% and the temperature was hovering around 80 F.  Wayne and Bruce had not yet arrived.  I was very happy to find that I could deploy my Eagle One vertical antenna on my hitch mount, without the assistance of anyone else....making the dream of solo POTA runs possible.  Notice the POTA sticker now proudly displayed on my POTA Mobile.  I feel so fancy now. 

My Eagle One vertical on the Hitch of my POTA Mobile

I had also packed my K2 and LDG Z11 tuner this time, instead of the ever trusty and faithful K1.   This ended up being a great combo for me today.  However there were issues.....

LDG, makers of fine amateur radio equipment, and incredible antenna tuners, really shined today.   So with everything all setup and ready to go for operation, I hit the tune button for 40m at 5 watts and got....WHAT?? RED LIGHTS???  I NEED GREEN LIGHTS!!!  WHAT THE HECK??!!...same thing on 30m, 20m, 15m, 17m, and 80m,  Nothing would tune.  Dejected?  Are you kidding?  I'm sitting in the sweaty humidity of central Indiana, and my patience is non-existent.  I just BOUGHT this new antenna and now it won't work on any band.  I am thinking of throwing everything in the trash and moving to Mexico.  

POTA Portable Station at K-4183 on July 3, 2020

OK, so things were not going well...I started wondering what it could be, so I checked the coax connections, I disconnected and reconnected all the cables, I talked nice to my K2, I said some prayers that I might retain my sanity and figure this out...when I saw it.  You have GOT TO BE KIDDING ME.  On my Z11 auto tuner, there are two coax is PLAINLY marked ANTENNA, and the other is marked TRANSMITTER.  It became apparent to me that I, an Extra Class Amateur Radio Operator, licensed by non other than the federal government of these United States of America...had the cables in the wrong connectors.   The LDG took the abuse like a rock solid pro.  Thankfully I was only running 5w for tune up.  So I swapped them...and just like that...things started working.

Don Wilhelm built K2...about 15 years old 
I had the first 10 contacts in the book in about 12 minutes on 7062 Khz,  I was getting spotted on the POTA spotting site and boy was I ever happy.  The Eagle One and this tuner were working very well.  40m hasn't really been very open in the morning the last few days, so I was thrilled to see it working this morning.  I stayed on 40m for about a half an hour total and then moved over to 30m, hit the tune button and I was golden on 10115 Khz.  I started working POTA hunters almost immediately,  the vertical seemed to be doing decent in all directions as I worked Maine, Louisiana, Texas, Kansas, as well as Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.  I was running 5w on 30m, so I was pretty happy with those results.  I then moved to 17m, hit tune, and I was green to go.  I worked three or four stations on 18090 and got them in the log.  By now it was pushing 11AM and I went QRT to go see if I could help Bruce N9DBJ out with his setup.

CW Morse Straight Key
Bruce N9DBJ was running  a KX2 at 5w in to a LNR end fed antenna.  He is sort of new to CW and was doing a great job.  Kudos to the hunters that went QRS for him and showed patience while he made the contact.  Bruce also had a real nice straight key from CW Morse.  Seemed to be very smooth in action and worked well with the KX2.  I think we were working 20m for most of the time and he was very close to having his 10 contacts the last time I looked. 

Wayne was running his LNR Mountaintopper 3 Band radio into his W9PDC end fed antenna and was knocking off contacts as fast as he could CQ.  Today he brought his new Blue Racer bug from Vibroplex.  I have tried off and on to use a bug for at least 10, maybe 15 years and I have been unable to master it. 
Vibroplex Blue Racer

I sound like a stuttering machine gun...unreadable but Wayne has mastered the bug in no time.   He was also successful in activating K-4183 today.  All in all it was a great morning to be out working portable.  We ended up in search of pizza but landed at a nice Mexican place and feasted on Fajitas and chips with salsa.  Now I think I need a nap. 

Best 73 de KB9BVN