FYBO 2011 Final Report
By Mike Baker K7DD

This was one of those years I was glad to be in Arizona, even if it was 35F at the start of the event. For so many folks this Winter has been a real test of endurance with snowfall that passed old records in all over the country. Surprisingly, a lot of you reported temps and conditions that seemed almost "balmy" compared to previous years with the lowest temp reported 19F. Did you have fun I did, as usual and can't wait for next year!


It was FUN! The bands seemed to be in much better shape than the last few years and 15 was alive! 10M was still quiet but maybe by next year it too will be open and active.

I arrived at Thunderbird Park at 06:25. Sat in the dark sipping on my morning coffee thinking about the gear in the bed of the truck and suddenly had that "Oh No, I didn't forget that did I" moment. Yep, forgot the 31' Jackite Pole! SO, I head back to the house as quickly as I could to get the pole and decided to phone John K5JS and let him know. He was half way to the park. By the time I got back it was 07:05 and the sun was just starting to peek over the horizon. Temps were COLD for Arizona. 33F when I left the house and 35F when we got set up and on the air at about 08:00. I took 20M with the IC-703+ and my trusty PAR multiband vertical arranged as a gentle sloper while John set up his two 31' poles and strung about 90' of wire between them to his tuner with a counterpoise wire. He started on 40 with it showing some activity and moved to 15m later.

As with most expeditions to the park, we get our share of questions fielded by the hikers and joggers and the kids always want to know what we are doing. If nothing else it is good PR for Ham Radio. This year, no Police or Park Rangers dropped by but one women with her kids out hiking said her husband was a Ham and was living in a deed restricted area just around the corner from the Park so I gave him a cell-call and invited him to join us. He was involved in something else at the moment and couldn't get away but thanked me for the invitation. Hate to see a brother Ham QRT.

Murphy came to visit for a bit as John's FT-817 started acting weird on 15M like the antenna relay was chattering while keying. Very strange and it didn't sound good in my rig either. Luckily I thought to toss my FT-817 in the bag so we swapped out rigs and he continued on. That was about the point we discovered that the ground connections to the cable connectors on his tuner have become wobbly and need to be reattached so we swapped it out for my trusty LDG Z-11Pro autotuner and all was well again.

It was so nice to hear some of the "usual suspects" WD7Y, AF40, N0EVH, WA0ITP, WQ0RP, N0ZK, WA5RML, WA8REI, and W7DK early in the event. Randy K7TQ (my northern propagation barometer) was my third Q and he was S9 with QSB. Bob Patten N4BP was in and out most of the day racking up the Q's. Strangely enough, I didn't have my pipeline to the Pacific Northwest this year and signals were pretty much equal from all directions. Yes, I had QSB and signals at the ESP levels would drift in and out of the noise floor making for some serious ear straining! ;>)

This year we had a "Mobile" participant KB4QQJ/M so we may add a category and make a few other subtle changes for next year. Gotta keep it interesting.

Best DX was a Canadian station in Nova Scotia VE1BA, and working Arn, K0ZK in Maine.

Visitors included Karen KF4EEL and Ken LoCasale WA4MNT, Israel Vicente AD7ND, Eric Lawson WB6TIX and our winter visitor David Schuh VE7CQY.

Final FYBO 2011 Score Sheet

The Leader Board

Checking out the final scoring the leaders in each category this year are:

Multi-Multi FieldWQ0RP46468 Pts.Ops were KB0R, AA0ZZ, W0UFO, W0RU
Multi-Multi HomeN1L484 Pts.Ops were AB8ND, KD8HNF, NY8D, N8DGD, KD8OHS, KD8POK, W8QS, KA5S, N8XX.
Single-FieldAE8M24700 Pts.Op was AE8M
Single-HomeNK8Q34760 Pts.Op was NK8Q

He may have not been a winner due to a lack of classification but honorable mention for initiating his own classification of "Mobile" goes to KB4QQJ/M. ;>) Maybe next year.

A winning certificate (wallpaper) will be mailed to the winners in each division very soon.



Taking on the job of managing operating events for the Arizona ScQRPion's is teaching me new skills that I have only loosely attempted before (MS Excel) but hope to develop further. My goals for the future of FYBO are to continue to build growth and participation and perhaps get a bigger team to operate the event using the clubs call. More bonus points to hand out!

Start making plans for next year! FYBO will be here sooner than you think!

K9EW Ed.

I was using a PFR-3 and a 55-ft inverted L in northern IL. Had to hike half a mile through 2 feet of snow (uphill, into the wind) to get to my favorite tree in a nearby woods. The first hour went pretty well, and then - nothing. Conditions must have been changing, but I didn't hear the usual sweep of call signs from east to west that I normally hear. I was getting cold (temp was 27F), so packed up and came home. Maybe I started too early this year, and I missed hearing many of my FYBO friends (but made some new ones). Three things that worked out well were: the antenna (first time for this one); a large clear plastic bag for the radio, logbook, and my hands; and the toe warmers and hand warmers I bought at the last minute. Next year I'll wait until after lunch. 73, Ed K9EW IL

K9EW, Ed.


SOAPBOX: Paralyzed from a stroke, I cannot be in the cold for more than a few minutes without risking frostbite. I enjoyed giving out contacts from my 63 degree shack. The bands were bad. 80 was very noisy; 40 had mega QRM from FOC contest and QSO Parties; 20 had mega QSB. 73, 72, de WA8REI, Ken, MI.

W1FMR Jim.

Great contest, thank you...40m was a lost band because of the FOC group. I'm glad I joined the SOC (Second Class Operators Club). Was hoping I could better last year's QSO total but 3 feet of snow and the results of 71 years of wild living kinda cramped my style.

Jim / W1FMR

K7TQ Randy.

All week long the forecast for Saturday was rain and wind. We had lots of snow around Thanksgiving and again Christmas, but it was gone by mid-January. I gave up on the idea of a snow pit this year and decided to operate in my truck for rain protection. It would also be a good shakedown for running counties in the 7th Area QSO Party in May.

Friday night it rained, froze, then warmed up to about 40F leaving a thin layer of ice on the roads. After breakfast, I drove to a parking lot in town and was on 40 m by 1520Z, which is barely light here. There was nothing doing on 40 m, so I changed to the 20 m antenna and soon worked Ken, WA8REI, in MI then Mike, NQ7RP, in AZ for the bonus. It was cloudy all day long with 10 to 15 mph breezes, but the promised rain never did show up. I occasionally opened the truck windows to keep it below 60, but could not get the temp below 40. I had made the first QSOs in the 40s, so I had that mult. The K2 and a 33 AHr battery performed well. I went until 2300Z and made 40 QSOs with folks participating in FYBO and 5 more with ones who just stopped by for a quick QSO. Several of the FYBO participants were old friends, N4BP, N0P, NK9G, NK6A, K6BBQ, and AK1P, to name a few. The lowest temp I received was from Larry, WQ0RP, in MN (of course) at 19F. Other sub-freezing ops were K8MHO, K0ZK, KX0R (in CA!), K0JVX, and AAoRQ. It seemed like many more folks were at home in 60+ temps than were outdoors.

It was good to get away from the house for my 14th FYBO since they began in 1997. http://sites.google.com/site/randyk7tq/home/fybo has details and a few pictures from all of them.

73, Randy, K7TQ
Moscow, ID

AF4O Chuck.

My third FYBO and i have more fun each time. Location was Big Hill Pond State Park Campground in southwest Tennessee. Ramped up the preparedness this time with charcoal for a fire and better winter clothing. Nothing like being able to warm by a fire. Bands were fairly good here i thought but with some deep QSB. A bit of snow on the ground again this year with temps in the low to mid 30's all day and cloudy. Park Ranger stopped to see if he had a "situation" because my feet on the opposite side of my truck didn't move all day :-) Very nice guy though and i explained what I was doing and showed him my log. I used an air cannon launched wire approximately 80' in a tall tree along with 4 radials just laying on the ground. Also my FT817 at 5 watts. Thinking seriously of trying 1 watt next year. I did 27 Q's at 5 watts and very happy with that.

Good to hear all my QRP buddies out there. I still get a charge out of a QRP to QRP QSO but knowing the other station is in the field also, well that is icing on the cake. I feel so much more alive out in the woods than sitting in the shack. The shack is good mind you, but field radio is great. If my toes hadn't started to get to cold, i would have stayed right until the 0000z hour. Should have built the fire back up and warmed them :-). See everyone at the next field event and also field day.

More info and pictures at http://www.qsl.net/af4o/FYBO2011.html

72 Chuck AF4O

WD7Y Ed.

It looks to me like the severe weather that was happening back East, reduced the numbers of stations in this year's FYBO. Add to that the very poor RF conditions and so the reduced radio activity. I was looking forward too much more contacts this year, my 13th FYBO. Hope we have better conditions next year.


K6BBQ Rem.

Starting before sunrise the temperature in San Rafael was a cold (for here) 39. Later going with Bill, KF6RMK to Morse Cove, (S.E. San Rafael, CA) beside the San Francisco Bay the overcast was burning off. Plenty of stations on air with the MN, DE and VT QSO parties in addition to FYBO and the Polar Bear QRP event. I made my first ever QSO with fellow polar bear, Chuck AF4O in TN on 15 meters. Then QSO'd again with him on 20. I made nine FYBO QSOs and 16 QSOs total with all the different contests. I used an FT-817 and a 40 meter end fed. By the time we finished, it was unusually warm and 76 degrees. Looking forward to next year's FYBO.



Radio Club of Tacoma W7DK operated two QRP stations this year, including one CW contact with a vintage Heathkit HW-9. We set up at daybreak in a picnic shelter at Owen Beach in Point Defiance Park on Puget Sound. It was a very pleasant day, overcast with light rain, beautiful views, not much wind. A number of visitors came by to ask about amateur radio. We'll be posting a few pictures of this year's FYBO event on our club website w7dk.org.

AE8M John

Thanks to all who participated in this winter Field Day.  I operated from the "field" in front of my house. I erected a portable antenna Friday night after dark in the snow and ice. This is when I Froze My B Off. I operated from inside my car in the driveway, out of the wind, and with pockets and shoes filled with chemical hand warmers. I have great respect for those tough enough to operate out in the woods, on mountain tops or from a park bench.

N4BP and K7TQ were strong into Ohio on 20M all day. My one 15M QSO was with W7DK. I also called NQ7RP on 15M but he could not dig me out of the noise. Likewise, I called N1L on 80M but my signal was too wimpy for him to hear. KB4QQJ mobile and QRP in NC was remarkably strong.

Rig was a K1 at 5W. The antenna was a 20M/40M fan dipole with center at 30 feet and ends at 10 feet.

John, AE8M


Best laid plans...HA! Murphy was my co-pilot. I intended to operate mobile driving to Richmond Frost Fest. Instead it I operated FYBO this year mobile and sometimes portable making a round trip from Burlington to Asheboro to Salisbury to Charlotte to Matthews, NC and back again. I ran my 817 off 7.5 Ah battery attached to one of the VW solar chargers. Antenna was a homebrew Hustler type set of resonators for 80/40 and 20 meters. Power was 4 watts on full batteries. The bands seemed to be in great shape. I heard a lot more than I could work. Hill topping was fun though. I set up at the VA hospital in Salisbury for a while and then again at brothers house outside Charlotte. (N4PPH) The lowest temp I could get with widows down, 70 MPH late evening was 39F. LOL Bumpy roads made for some stuttering cw also. I used a little Russian mini straight key on a leg strap. I had a great time and look forward to next year. I may try mobile again by just riding to the SC of VA border. (rover class next year) heh heh

72 for now and BCNU,
(Note: I wish he sent a picture. He has heart.)

WQ0RP Hi Michael- Attached you will find the information and some pictures for our FYBO and buildathon event. I attempted to calculate our score, but I'll let you do with it as you want. Attached is a Word document (soapbox, calculations), and Excel spreadsheet (log) - if they don't come through I can send them individually. I'll also send some pictures individually as they seem to be too big to send together.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks for all you're doing for FYBO's success.
72 de Chuck - KA8HDE


Hiked out to a Florida Trail Shelter just north of Orlando. Temps went to 79 degrees. Started out as a very pleasant day but rain moved in and I discovered the shelter was not entirely rain proof. Temps drop to 70 degrees but still comfortable... Started at approximately 16:00 and by 20:30 my backside had had enough of sitting on that hard wood floor... Rain quit and I was able to hike back to the parking lot without getting drenched.

Rig was a K1 at 5 watts and a Par 40/20/10 /P Antenna: I have found a slope of 30 degrees off vertical provides a slightly higher angle radiation and great performance.

Propagation seemed a bit spotty... Had a lot of sudden and deep fades all afternoon but was surprised to hear such good signals from the 1 & 2 watt stations.

All in All, had a great time and hope to post some pictures soon... http://cflqrp.wordpress.com


WD7Y Ed. "It looks to me like the severe weather that was happening back East reduced the numbers of stations in this year's FYBO. Add to that the very poor RF conditions and so the reduced radio activity. I was looking forward to much more contacts this year, my 13th FYBO. Hope we have better conditions next year.

Ed, WD7Y"

K7MLC Mark. Hi Mike,

I was able to get on the air for a while from Northern California. Propagation is sure different out here. I worked Alaska but couldn't work anybody East of Nevada. 73s and thanks for running the contest. Maybe I can be there next year.

Mark, K7MLC

Soapbox for NK8Q I always look forward to the annual FYBO, however this past year I didn't really "feel it" as I had recently moved, all of my ham gear was in various boxes here and there, and I had just about a month before been diagnosed with Shingles which made me very tired and had some pain that is worse when cold. I have always operated portable QRP and at least last year if not others operated QRPp. I hadn't really done much to scout the vicinity of the new QTH for some good operating positions in nicer weather and didn't really feel like doing much the day or so before the event. However, as it turned out, I did go out and operate from a great location, but due to a turn of events I missed out on the "Field" multiplier, even though I was not home and was sitting out exposed to the temperatures. Due to the solar flare, it turns out that my choice of antennas was probably a pretty good choice, though. Having recently moved to State College, PA and as a member of the Nittany Amateur Radio Club (NARC), I posted my intentions to operate at or near the Jo Hays Scenic Overlook, along PA-26 on top of a hilltop at about 1900' ASL and along the Mid-State Trail that runs from the northern border of PA with NY in Tioga County down to Bedford County at Pennsylvania's southern border with Maryland (where it connects with the Great Eastern Trail). Jo Hays Vista is visible from my home QTH and work QTH and a short 10 minute drive from home. I would be operating on or near the Centre and Huntingdon County border. I described my intended operation on the NARC email reflector and invited members to come for a visit. One of the members offered to open up the NARC Clubhouse which is about 300 to 500 yards down an access trail and allow me to operate from that site. I checked it out and found a nice 8' long picnic table that was completely free of snow & ice as it was sitting under a covered porch at the clubhouse. Short (25') runs of coaxial cable from the operating position, through the clubhouse door and to the antenna interface panels yielded antennas at 80 and 100' including a yagi at 100' and inverted-V antennas for 40 & 80m, all fed with 7/8" hardline for good low loss. Well, it made the setup with my Elecraft K2 a piece of cake without having to put up "field" antennas, but I lost the 4x multiplier, which may have yielded a 67k score instead!

I did have a couple of visitors, one who is not a ham but is a fellow coworker and was nice enough to bring me some hot chocolate and another who was also a coworker, member of NARC and fellow QRPer who took the following pictures. As you can see, the weather involved freezing drizzle most of the day until it turned into snow during the last two to three hours of the FYBO. Also note that my digital clock and thermometer (LCD display) did not accurately display the temperature but instead anything below 32 degrees F is displayed as "LL.L" for the "lower limit" of the thermometer. I did have independent confirmation that the temperatures were in fact below 30 degrees F, although it turns out I was reporting a couple of degrees warmer than it really was.

Photo 1. NARC Clubhouse and Towers, freezing drizzle and crusty snow with 2" layer of ice on top of snow.

Photo 2 Temperature display shows "LL.L" for temps below freezing. This would be a "warning" to most hams, but not for a Polar Bear or hard core FYBO contestant!

Photo 3 Too excited to sit down for a QSO at 1854Z with NQ7RP, Mike, on 20m CW.

I could tell that radio propagation was not so good but it was fun to work many familiar call signs. I did manage to again work the NQ7RP station two times, once on 20 and once on 15m, and I worked a great number of fellow Polar Bears (at least seven, GRRRR!). I have not had an opportunity to get out for any of the Polar Bear Moonlight Madness Events this season but an FYBO is about like any other PBMME anyway. Us fellow Polar Bears LOVE to operate under those conditions, the colder the better (within normal sanity levels). There was only one station that I attempted to have a QSO with that ended up not in the log due to QSB, and that was N1L with the efforts of Hank, N8XX and others.

I had only two problems of operating in the extreme weather. The first was that my battery pack died out with about 1 hour left in the event. Luckily I had a spare "big blue" pack to help finish it off. Second, I noticed that my Bencher BY1 had the dots sticking, which I assume was due to the freezing drizzle that would keep the contacts stuck together. I found it very annoying and I apologize to those who worked me from about 2200 Z to 2400Z when this became a very bad problem!

Next year I plan to be operating with "Field" category again and may try alternative power if I can find my solar panels after having moved! Thanks again to the organizers of the event, always fun! Thanks also to Mike Coslo, N3LI, who was kind enough to meet me at the NARC Clubhouse to open it up for me on Saturday morning. Finally, thanks to my coworkers Adam Clampet and his son Shawn for the hot cocoa and to Chip, N3IW who took the photos!

72 de Mark, NK8Q


Eric set up his KX1 under the gazebo shelter at Shirley's Bay on the south bank of the Ottawa river. It was -7°C (19.5°F) wind chill at that time. He was using a 28 sloper to a nearby tree with two ¼- counterpoises (16 & 32). He started at 1430Z. I arrived at the picnic area around noon and set up an 88 doublet at about 25 fed with 300 TV twinlead and hooked up my KX1 at a nearby picnic table.

We had both adjusted the power level of our KX1 to be below 1W. In my case, I hooked up old batteries and got 1.7W so I had to back off the drive level pot to get it down to 1W with a 50 dummy load.

The weather was fantastic when I arrived, it was 0°C (32°F) but felt a lot warmer because the sun was beating down. I had my sleeves rolled up and I was drinking in the sunlight - lovely. Eric was operating on 20m so I settled down on 40m. It was tough because QRM from Erics station was wiping out most of the band. I was able to find a couple of spots clear of QRM to make some CQ calls (there was no one calling CW FYBO that I could hear).

After a while I heard Mark NK8Q calling CQ on 7.041MHz but Eric had already had a QSO with Mark as VA3AMX so instead I called Mark using my own call sign. Marks description of his operating location (Jo Hays Vista in PA) was FB, what a nice spot. Pity it's not a SOTA summit too

The view was great, the bay is very popular with ice fishermen, (the Ottawa River was frozen from bank to bank - so there was a constant stream of trucks, ATVs and snowmobiles driving out onto the river ice to go fish.

I put up an 88 doublet and commenced FYBO'ing. The bands were gnarly. Throughout the whole afternoon I was able to add only five more entries to Eric's VA3AMX log. The KX1 is not the best radio for QRM so two of us both with KX1s was a challenge… when Eric was on 20m, 40m was almost unusable (odd you'd expect it to be the other way around). It was a little better the other way around.

VA3SIE Martin

We chose to make like tough on ourselves. We both adjusted our KX1 drive levels so that we were putting out less than 1W (1 bar solid, 1 bar flickering).

N4BP was very strong on 20m all afternoon, as usual. I heard many Polar Bears, It was good to have QSOs with some bears who are not PBMME regulars such as Jim K4AHO (#185) and Terry WA0ITP (#30), I heard many bears who I couldn't work in FYBO as I was using Erics call sign (K4UPG, AF4O - great signal Chuck, WA8REI) and those would have been dupe contacts. I did call Mark NK8Q at his mountain-top location using my own call as I haven't had a QSO with Mark in a long time.

Eric came over and as we were chatting with the rig idling on 7035kHz I heard QRL QRL CQ FYBO DE VE3WMB so I was happy to be Micheal's first QSO of the day, he was set up in the Central Experimental Farm running 5W from the K1 into a end-fed 51 ft inverted-vee wire worked against 5 X 16 foot radials.

I spent most of the afternoon using my pack as a pillow and catching some ZZZs while my rig was calling CQ on autopilot. What a pleasure to snooze in the sun in a park, a sneak preview of what Summer holds in store. Erm… sorry if I missed anyone returning to my CQ call

NQ7RP was at ESP levels. We spent 15 minutes calling Mike with our 1W radios and a couple of time we got a QRZ but it wasn't to be.

Got overcast around 2pm and the temp plummeted, so we bailed.

Very enjoyable, felt just like a PBMME!!

Sometimes the work of others is just too good not to use in its entirety. These two guys write like I do. ;>) And speaking of honorable mention, here is a fellow who isn't so proud to tell you when he gets skunked. Maybe next year Bob. Thanks for the soapbox material. Mike K7DD

KC9IWE Bob Seaquist, La Crosse, WI

YouTube Account of this: www.youtube.com/watchv=_ZVqEnnf0Ts

Field - Yes Category - Single Op Operator(s) KC9IWE Alternative Power - No Lowest Temperature 24 QRPp No

Getting out the radio gear and burning holes in the sky is fun just about anytime. Make it the dark depths of winter and it becomes an imperative.

Along come the Arizona ScQRPions ( www.azscqrpions.com) with their FYBO QRP Sprint, a chance to take little radios into the field to see who is listening early in February. Not to give it away, but in my view, few are listening for itty, bitty, frostbitten guys knee-deep in the snow of a Minnesota park. But I rush the story.

My QRP station fits in the average university campus backpack. That includes the radio (Yaesu FT-817ND), tuner (LDG Z817), 100-feet of coax, a home brew Yo Yo antenna, a slingshot to shoot parts of the antenna over tree branches, nylon line, a manual for the radio (remember, it's a Yaesu with a zillion menus), and a 7aH gel cell battery. Still, to prepare properly a guy has to wander around the house and drag back other stuff like a camp chair, camp table, telescoping kite  pole, multi-tool, HT, extra HT battery, GPS attachment for HT, instructions on how to use it, apple, Oreo cookies, water bottle, thermos, sheets of paper, pencil, log forms and personalized Ham radio hat.

A new, better, antenna seemed in order so my wishes and credit card number zapped to LNR Precision (http://www.lnrprecision.com) for one of its 20 meter Par End-Fedz® full length half wave dipoles. In-time delivery was promised, a vow rendered meaningless by a major winter storm. Still, I had the Yo Yo and it works, so the new antenna would have to await its debut.

Batteries are charged the day before and coffee packets are readied for the brewer. The parka is set aside with gloves and glove liners, an embarrassing appearing hat that's warm is out as are the insulated "bibs" and boots. Some of the stuff is put in the car.

Before the crack of dawn Saturday, Feb. 5, I'm in the car and on my way to Winona. The day's Ham warm-up is participating in the Minnesota QSO party with the Winona Amateur Radio Club ( w0ne.org ). I head to Matt Burt's, KF0Q, home where CW and SSB stations sit side-by-side. I log awhile for Les Hittner, K0BAD, an electron magnet with a key. Just logging for the guy is intense as he shovels through a mountainous pile-up. Hittner's only liability is he's not getting any Minnesota counties. I move to the SSB rig and am soon buried in calls too -- though my work on 80 IS finding Minnesotans. I made a fair number of the day's 191 QSOs with 36 Minnesota county multipliers and 34 state/province multipliers.

Happily confidant in my radio abilities I head-out, making a quick nourishment fortification at Mac & Don's before heading south to Great River Bluffs State Park near Dakota. The park, formerly O.L. Kipp State Park, is 3,000 acres of bluff land hovering over the Mississippi River valley. It features grand views and, in the winter, beautifully groomed cross-country ski trails. The Riverland Club has had its field day at an adjoining campground () at least a couple of years.

It was a gray but seasonally moderate day as I wound through the park to its parking and picnic area. Some fog lingers on the bluff tops so there's Hoar frost on the shrubs and trees. Lower temperatures offer a larger multiplier so 26 F is Minnesota balmy and good for a greater score all at once.

There are a couple picnic tables about 50 yards from the parking lot, a very short sight distance and a fairly long trudging distance. A significant percentage of the slog is through knee-deep snow.

The excitement of operating in the field is diminished by the reality of clearing 18-inches of snow from the table top and seat; it is further diminished by gear falling into the snow and snow falling into the gear. Clearly there is a difference between ARRL Field Day in June and the FYBO QRP Sprint!

"FYBO" stands for "Freeze Your Butt Off." No kidding.

Somehow I throw a line over a nearby branch and hoist the Yo Yo's feedpoint up. Beating a trail about 50 feet away from the center I hang the first end of the antenna. Without falling, but coming dang close to falling, I plow my way to hang the other end. Then I go back to the picnic table, sit, and ponder why the Hell I am doing this.

I wallow in the ridiculousness of being in a quiet state park, sitting at a picnic table nearly buried in snow, my posterior on a thick plate of ice. I should be at the world headquarters of KC9IWE where, in a cozy den, the radio pumps a full 100 watts into a choice of two fairly decent antennas. If a break would be needed a refrigerator is steps away and it's loaded with refreshments. Not far is the living room where a crackling fire warms beckons.

The pleasant reverie is broken  by two cross-country skiers. My macho and bravado emerge and I connect the radio to its battery and the antenna. It's tuned to 14242 kc, the 20 meter QRP calling frequency. There's activity, plenty of it. A station's calling for the Minnesota QSO party so I give him a shout. And another shout. Pretty soon I'm just plain shouting. He's as 5-9 as a radio operator can be and it is apparent I am not "5-9". Heck, I am the radio version of invisible.

I tune around and hear another guy just plain calling "CQ." Aha! I think. My opportunity! I squeeze the mic and prod the little Yaesu into all of its 5 watts. For once I remember his call and pronounce it carefully into the mic followed by my own not-vanity call. I wait. And then....he repeats his CQ. What the heck! I try again. Soon I am again melting the surrounding snow piles with my profanities and frustration.

Fellow Hams knew I was on my personal FYBO QRP Sprint crusade; my running buddies, my wife and even my faithful black Lab. There was no room to retreat, only persist and advance. So I listened, I called, I listened some more.

Squirrels and little birds rattled the cold branches, a cold wind blew and no one heard my increasingly shrill calls.

Slowly, after a couple hours of bullheaded listening (me to them, no one to me) I blew the snow off the radio and slid it into its backpack. I struggled through the snow to retrieve the Yo Yo, threw everything together and shuffled back to the car.

It's difficult to put a pretty face on my version of the FYBO QRP Sprint. It is pretty certain that when I foolishly attempt it next year the weather could be much, much worse and the radio could be much, much better.

Epilogue In my haste to be on the air, in my rush to sit outside in the winter with my radio, in my delusion about operating backpack mobile…I forgot something important: the trusty little LDG Z-817 tuner sat there without being connected. The Yo Yo antenna, while being roughly set to the correct length for the band, still needed to be tuned. Hanging low and being draped over various branches could not have helped. There's no doubt the little electrons did not fall off the antenna much less go soaring into space.

Subsequently I hooked the radio with the tuner and the antenna and on my first "CQ" snagged AF1T in Henniker, New Hampshire. My confidence in the radio and my operating skills is back! And this should make me a bit more cautious and deliberate in my set-ups.

Bob Seaquist

Buddy, you get an A for effort.
I bet it goes better next FYBO! Mike K7DD

N1L A special Event Station.


Well, another FYBO is in the logs.

I sincerely hope everyone had as much fun as I did. For me, every year gets better and better. The yardstick you use to measure you own level of fun is different year to year and event to event. For me, having friends get together and share the fun and the misery together is what it is all about. ;>)

A Shameless Plug

If you find yourself in Arizona in July (NO I am not nuts!) drop us a note and join in the fun of the Ft. Tuthill QRP CampingCon Flagstaff Arizona. (Formerly sort of known as KacktusKon.)

We have seminars, prizes and a great pot luck get together on Saturday night. Gotta RV, Camper, Travel Trailer, or just a Tent, save your money on hotels and camp out with the gang.

See you on the bands…

Best 72, 73

Mike Baker K7DD