Adventure Radio Society Contest: Flight of the Bumblebees 2003

This was the first time I've participated in this contest and I had a lot of fun. Contest details are here.

Unlike the previous three weeks here in Colorado, the day was 'cool' - temp in the 80's but with unusually high humidity - our monsoon season finally arrived. With that in mind, I stayed out of the foothills where the storms tend to generate. Instead, I went to my local state park about 15 minutes from my house, Castlewood Canyon, and hiked up about a mile to the canyon rim. Found a nice overlook with a small cedar tree onto which to tie the DK9SQ mast. Used an AT Sprint, ZM-2 tuner, and a 44' dipole with a homebrew feedline inspired by N5ESE. On the air around 1745Z and worked about 2.5 hours with 'butt breaks' (forgot the foam pad) and lunch. Flies were unusually heavy and affected my keying. After lunch, realized that the AT Sprint wasn't lighting up the LED in the ZM-2 and no one seemed to be hearing my calls. Lost about 45 minutes trying figure out why. It just suddenly started working again. Started packing up at 2100Z and heard/saw the first thunder/lightning against the foothills.

During the event, only a couple of people stopped by although I could hear more passing by on the trail about 30' away from me. I was fairly well hidden. The first guy helped snap a few shots of me operating and happened to be studying for his ham ticket. We talked for a bit. Later on, another guy passed through looking like he didn't want to see me - strange. The biggest highlight was two golden eagles and a turkey vulture cruising the canyon rim. They would occasionally swoop by within a stone's throw of my position. One of the eagles appeared to fairly large - perhaps 5 or 6-foot wingspan

I stayed on 20M the entire time and the AT Sprint worked great. I tried it in the Spartan Sprint earlier this month but the narrow filter seemed to suffer with the high QRN that night or perhaps my local RFI problems. Today, the band was very quiet. Seemed like every other contact was from CA. Was able to work AA1MY in Maine but eastern contacts seemed few. QSB busted several contacts. 39 total Q's with 18 BB's

Other pictures:

visitor, KB0LUR, south view,
(eastern panorama, large 800K)