recently acquired some
new QRP gear for portable use and
wanted to get out to do some field testing. This lined up nicely with
the annual "Skeeter Hunt" contest sponsored by the New Jersey QRP Club
so I registered as a "skeeter" for the contest. This year's them was
"bodies of water." I decided to operate from a picnic area adjacent to
the Schuykill Canal in Oaks, Pennsylvania.
This park is also a trail head for the Schuylkill River Trail. Since I often ride my bike here, I decided to arrive early and go for a short ride before setting up for the contest. After my 30 minute ride, I stowed the bike and set up my radio equipment on a picnic table in the shade of some large trees. It was a great spot and the weather was excellent.
My antenna was a 30-foot wire and a homebrew 9:1 unun fed with 18 feet of RG-8x coax. I ran the antenna without radials, similar to the EARCHI antenna. My new Elecraft T1 tuner loaded it up quickly on both 40 and 20 meters. (I also checked 30 meters and it loaded up fine also.) I was lazy today so I just supported the wire with a 31-foot Jackite pole held up with a Jackite ground mount. I was operational in less than 10 minutes. My rig for this event was a YouKits HB-1B I recently purchased through Ten Tec. It was running about 4 watts, powered from a 5 A-H gel cell battery. I also used my trusty NorCal paddles and NorCal keyer.
For some reason, the restrooms were locked and nature was starting to call, so I packed up a little early and took a few pictures. I've seen better band conditions but I managed 13 contacts in an hour and a half. Once again, I managed to work my old friend, Carter N3AO, down in Virginia. It was a beautiful day and my new equipment appeared to be working fine.
73, Craig WB3GCK
|My wife and I went to a spot near the Ottawa River to operate. I set up a 20m ground plane 8' high with 3 sloping radials on 24' of the DK9SQ mast (which I stepped on and cracked, to my dismay). Conditions were as good as I can recall for a summer QRP outing. The rig was the KX3 running 5 watts. Participation was excellent for this time of year. I could not get the Skeeter Hunt logger to enter more than one QSO ("permission denied" error messages) with Windows 7 but the N3FJP QRP ARCI module did the job for the basics.|
|K1 @ 5w to a 20M dipole at Inks Lake State Park, Texas. I found almost an ideal location - shade near tall trees and just a few yards from the water. For a change, I was actually ready before the Skeeter Hunt. QSOs were slow, but steady and I amused myself by watching the buzzards (turkey vultures) perch in a dead tree and counted the lizards that were out and about. It was mild for August in the Texas hill country - 96F. Tried 15 and 40M with no luck though I did attempt AB9CA on 40. I hope the photo does the site justice. My only problems were cactus and grass-spurs. My thanks to all. Had fun.|
I decided not to go to my favorite park because of weather and put up a temporary 20 M vertical in the back yard. I laid down 16 radials and set up a table under my RV shed. I used my KX3 kit built) and a Bencher key with a deep cycle battery for power. It turned out I was glad to be under the shed when we had a couple of rain storms blow through and I had to shut down a couple of times for lightning. The bands were blessed with QSB and QRN but I still managed some contacts. My first contact was with KX0R and at the end of the sprint I could still here him calling CQ. That is the only one I could here from start to finish. My longest contact was with K6XM and it took a few tries for him to copy but he finally pulled me out. Thanks to all and looking forward to the next one. Also thanks Larry for putting this together!
|Very hot day here in Orlando! Hottest on record for the date... wish it would have been so good during SYBO! Like a good skeeter I was lakeside at our housing development's park on Lake Fredrica in SE Orlando, FL. From the lakeside QTH 20m was the band for me! Running my Sierra and BLT+ tuner for starters. I setup with a 20m full wave delta loop corner fed. Peak at about 38 ft and corner fed. Amazed at how good things sounded and getting good reports for first 30 min or so. Then things did not seem right so I switched on the SWR in the BLT and something was wrong. Dropped the loop and found one leg of the ladder line had come loose! Had to do some field repair but even after I raised the antenna the match was not there. Threw an End Fed Half Wave up as vertical but the sigs were about 50% lower than with the delta. Grrrr! So I put my jumper dipole up about 45 ft in an inverted vee to save time and bingo, back in business. I did listen on 40m but only a couple weak sigs barely above the noise but calling CQ WES from the SKCC event. Guess I could have given a couple points there but didn't feel like changing the jumper dipole for 40m. I fiddled with antennas way too much. About ready to settle down and just focus on making an idiot proof jumper dipole that can hold up to the ups and downs of being an exclusively portable QRP op! Good turnout and thanks to all for the QSO's and promo work. Biggest disappointment was not working more of you...including you, Larry W2LJ.|
Skeeter hunt is a great QRP contest that has really
on with the QRPer's. It's only a 4 hour contest and offers extra points
if you want to take on a challenge. Last year it was to brew up a home
made key and use it in the contest. If you did this (supporting photo's
needed) then you picked up huge bonus points! Well last year I was not
able to come up with a homemade key so the bonus points were out the
window for me. This year the challenge was to operate beside a body of
water......no problem for me as there are 3 rivers within 5 minutes or
less for me.
I scooped up my bonus points (passed along the pic's to back it up) but I was not able to make the same amount of contacts that I did last year. There were some factors to this, conditions had changed from last year, I worked an all nighter on Saturday so I was operating on more that 24 hours without any sleep and thus I did not spend as much time in the test........well a 1/2 hour less. I used my Elecraft KX3 operating on the internal batteries. The antenna was a mono band 20m whip from my car. I was going to use the Alexloop so I could take advantage of more bands...but...the weather conditions were looking very stormy. I did not want to take a chance and have the Alexloop damaged from rain.
The weather turned out to be great it did not rain but the storm clouds over head kept it cool and the sun off me. I operated from Riverside park which is a great park about 5 minutes from my QTH. Funny thing I never had anyone come up to me wondering what I was doing! In the past this has happened and it gave me a chance to explain ham radio. Something new in the contest this year is operating SSB, I did not take advantage of this and stayed CW and just single band.
Some of the highlights were contacting TF/LX1NO (who was in the WAE contest) for whom you get bonus points for! Also I brought along an extra external battery just in case the AA internal rechargeable batteries died on me. To my surprise they lasted for 3 hours with me constantly calling CQ BZZ.
So I was able to make 18 contacts with a total score of 1396. Funny thing my last years score was 1392.....So technically I did better than last year by 4 points!!!
a million for all
of your good work Larry..!
This had to be the worst operating conditions that I have ever experienced in an event.. maybe ever.
It could have been me but I had 3 rigs and 2 antennas and they all had the same problems. The QRN on 40 was so bad I didn't even hear a station of any kind for the first 2.5 hours although I wound up making most of my contacts there. 20 was better but just couldn't hear many stations.
30 meters sounded great with lots of stations.. probably gave up on the other bands. Sorry I couldn't operate there.
I want to thank the really weak (ethereal) stations that hung in there with me until we were able to complete an exchange.. really good operators.
I operated on the banks of Lake Marbury at Ft. Yargo State Park near Winder, Georgia. I used my KX1 and an end fed long wire
were honored to activate our Club's Memorial
Call Sign, NØSS, in honor of our dear friend, Tom Hammond,
Silent Key for almost 2 years. Tom was an avid CW operator
loved contests of every type. Tom's spirit was with us as we
enjoyed the thrill of QRP operation in a friendly, but competitive
environment. The beauty of the outdoors on a warm, sunny
afternoon in the Mark Twain National Forest made for a relaxing mood
while swapping exchanges with other operators around the
We are grateful to Larry, W2LJ, and the NJQRP Club for sponsoring such
a great event.
I had a nice time operating the Skeeter Hunt this year. My plans to get the row boat out didn't quite work out this year but I did operate from the Passaic River in NJ. You couldn't ask for a nicer day. Rig was my KX1 into a long wire. I made 10 QSO's and I was putting out 1-2 watts on 40 and 20.
Hunt 2013 was fun despite
poor band conditions and only an hour or
so to operate. I hadn't read the rules carefully enough to notice that
QSOs with WAE participants counted for this event.
73 de WD8RIF
|The WX was perfect 75F and a 5 knot breeze. No skeeters except the radio kind. Set up about the same as for FOBB-SYBO and Spartan Sprint, but antenna this time was 44 ft doublet on a DK9SQ 31 foot pole as an inverted Vee. Ran my HB1B at 4W. Best distance was George,KX0R in Co. Randy, NC4RT, was by far, the loudest! As always , I had a blast! The file photo is my typical outdoor set up. Hope your Skeeter Hunt was as fun as mine. 72 de Scotty KG3W|
this event I always enjoy operating
from the field.
The XYL and I were out in VE6 land terrorizing / traumatizing kids and grandkids for 2 weeks so not a lot of time to operate. But a lot of fun. Thanks. Here is a photo of my complete KX1station including antenna (9m of wire and two 5 m counterpoises) and power ready for action.
I'd planned to operate near a small pond at a county park, but rain in the forecast kept me at home and I set up in the back yard with my KX1 and a 40m inverted V. The rain never materialized beyond a few drops, and I had a great time. Most contacts were on 20m as 40m was very quiet here. Looking forward to next year's event.
I just did a single band operation on 15m in the Skeeter Hunt. I didn't hear anyone else in the event, but managed one "Q" with S53A in the last minute of the contest. Not bad for 750 mW and an
MFJ Cub! Thanks for sponsoring it!
This was my first Skeeter Hunt and not only did I find plenty of Skeeters, plenty of skeeters found me – the real ones and I am bitten up like crazy! The wx was so perfect in Eastern PA I stayed out and worked QRP ragchews after the contest until 10 PM. But the highlight of the event for me was a QSO with my old bud Carter, N3AO down in VA. I used my K2 and portable Hy-Gain AV-18VS vertical mounted in a patio umbrella stand with eight field-deployable ground radials. I made 16 QSOs and caught an hour and a half nap, which for me makes for a good Sunday. I had to miss FOBB, FD, and QRP TTF this year with church duties so I’m glad the Skeeter Hunt was put together. I’ll probably do a portable op or two in late summer or early fall – check my QRP web site at http://radiowb3t.homestead.com/index.html for dates and times. THANKS!
72 - Bob, WB3T
got up this
morning it was 50% chance of rain, so I
decided to do something that was quick & easy.
battery, MFJ 33' telescoping mast, and a 23' vertical
Got everything setup and then the rain came. It was a light drizzle and
only lasted 45 minutes . The vertical work well for DX but
not good for stateside . I worked Belgium, France, Italty , and
Germany. States were FL, MD, AL, MI, WI, TX. Only
SSB QSOs. Had a good time but with the rain I had a bad hair
I want to thank you for your good work and for the hours of relax and fun hunting “Skeeters”. First time I participate and I feel hooked for the next year.
KI4GQP/4, Richard, Arlington, VA
Class X2, home based (balcony),kit built, battery operated.
Station set-up: SW40+, AA5TB tuner, 9 AA battery pack and end-fed-half-wave antenna.
Band: 40 M only
Mode: CW only. Power: 2.4 watts (although I made a mistake with the exchange and gave a 5 for power).
Well, This was fun. I setup at a local fishing pond right on the north edge of town. I only logged 4 contacts BUT boy did I learn a LOT about my radio and antenna selections. I used an Elecraft KX3 powered from a 9Ah gel cell battery. My two antennas I switched between were a 26 foot wire antenna thrown 20 foot in the trees, and a collapsible MFJ 18foot vertical. Surprisingly the wire antenna outperformed by several db. Boy can this little radio hear well. If we were to get points for the number of skeeter bites I may have won. Sadly I also learned which brands of repellent do not work well. This was my first year doing this and my first real outing besides my backyard or 30 minutes on top of a big hill. So I give myself an A for effort. I did not hear any other Skeeter stations but Thank You for the opportunity to try.
5W with KX3 and S9 18 ft vertical on tripod. Spent only short time but had fun. Thanks Larry and NJQRP club,
73, Mike VE3EDX
Wanted to get out in the field near a body of water, but had too many things going on that weekend, with the grandchildren and all. Really enjoyed this contest though. I combined it with the SKCC WES. I couldn't get the logging program to accept more than one entry, so I ended up manually entering my log into the attached text file. 73, Art
Had fun in the triple crown (SYBO, FOBB, Skeeter) of outdoor qrp contests. Band was really down for me during the skeeter hunt. Had fun anyway.
4 qso's (3 on 20m and 1 on 40m). All skeeters. 4 SPC. QRP portable commercial gear (FT817). Nearest water was probably a mile away so no bonus.
Thanks for organizing the event. Look forward to next year.
Hunt report from
Blaine, K0NE, Skeeter # 22.
Beautiful day for a trip to the lake. Mild temp and light breeze.
Operations were conducted portable at Holmes Lake, EN10QS in Lincoln, NE. All contacts were on 20m CW using an Icom 703 and vertical dipole. The keyer was a CMOS keyer II built from a kit. The paddle was home built the day before the event, from a block of wood, a small paring knife and some salvaged relay contacts. The homebrew paddle worked great. Looks ugly, but sends good code. I've been dual paddle for many years, but last year changed to single paddle after using one in the Skeeter Hunt. Paddle is sitting on its back and turned to face camera.
Operations started about an hour into the contest, and continued for about two hours. Propagation changed then, similar to last year, and the WAE stations became much louder than the Skeeters. I worked 21 Skeeters and 3 non-skeeters in the 2 hours, for a total of 14 states but no DX.
Thanks Larry for sponsoring the contest and thanks all for the QSO!
I took a brief nap after church and lunch on Sunday - actually not so brief...I woke up at 2:30PM CDT.
Collected my equipment, hopped into the Jeep and headed to Lake Arlington.
Weather was sunny and hot - but OK in the shade of the trees.
The equipment consisted of: Elecraft K1 @5 wts to Buddipole antenna; Vibroplex Code Warrior paddles.
Only worked 20M - I didn't really get started until 3:20PM CDT.
Made seven (7) contacts in the next 30 minutes or so before I stopped. The last ten (10) minutes or so, I was swamped with WAE stations! They seemed to come out of nowhere - I guess that propagation had heated up!
Given the late start, one might consider just 30 minutes of outdoor operating a disaster....but I really enjoyed it! It's a lot of fun operating under the trees along the shores of Lake Arlington! I think I'm going to start doing it more on weekends - not just scheduled events.
See you in the next event!
Andy - WA5RML
PS: If you find Lake Arlington on Google Maps, the location I operate from is the Poly Webb Rd entrance to the lake!
Skeeter Hunt 2013-08-12 Dave Lear NE5DL
Creek is just down the slope and the trees and brush. Great
WX, great day in the great outdoors.
73 de Ray
|Operated again from the shore of Long Interlaken Lake near Lac du Flambeau, Vilas County, Wisconsin while visiting friends there. The weather was great all afternoon. Used a K2 with tuner and 55' vertical wire, 17' counterpoise, and battery. Since WAE stations were added, I went hunting for them when I started hearing too many repeats, and worked Germany and Lithuania! Thanks to all for a terrific afternoon, and thanks to Larry for making this happen! 72/73, Harry.|
I had fun. My plan was to get out in the field but I ended up with a houseful of guests for the weekend. I did manage to sneak away for a couple of hours to the shack in the basement.
I've been a ham for 39 years but QRP is new to me. I got hooked on SOTA about two years ago and have been amazed that I can copy those puny weak signals from the mountaintops on the west coast. I love portable ops and started a "Portable Day" event in my local club BARA here in North Jersey. We get about 8 to 12 club members that come out to a local park and set up stations once in the Spring and once in the Fall. Our next Portable Day is coming up September 28th and we'd love to have you as a guest. We operate from about 10:am till late afternoon. Bring a bag lunch. There are bathrooms available with running water!
BARA Portable Day - September 28, 2013
PASCACK BROOK COUNTY PARK
Old Hook Road turn north at
Emerson road, Westwood
Google; Pascack Brook County park
Start time is 10:00 AM
Talk in 146.790 repeater
Don, W2JEK, has been a friend of mine and club member for as long as I can remember. Don usually participates in Portable Day as well.
With limited time I set up quickly at Gilman Park in Exeter, NH located on the Exeter River almost adjacent to Phillips Exeter Academy . Threw a random wire up in a nice pine tree with a water bottle and was able to tune enough on 20M to immediately hear NK9G coming through like gangbusters in WI...always great to hear Rick Smile emoticon, fellow fox hunter and FB op. Other contacts were AB9CA another FB op and fox hunter, skeeter # 125 and N0SS skeeter #20. Used the KX3 (commercial rig) that was powered by a 8 AGM battery being charged by a small solar panel. Since Gilman Park is close to home I took the family and dog along..which limited my operating time but kept everyone happy on a Sunday afternoon. Many thanks to NJ folks for putting this event on and to W2LJ for all the work he does to keep QRP the most fun and vibrant part of the radio community!!! 72/88 de K1QO
morning-better late than never getting this in. My husband and I went
out to Binder Lake in Jefferson City Missouri and operated for the
event. I made all the contacts. We had unusually good weather for the
event with it being in the low 80's and low humidity-very unusual for
Missouri this time of the year.
Thanks so much for organizing this event. We had a great time.
Nancie McAnaugh NM0C
A link to Martin's Blog page describing his Skeeter Hunt experience - http://www.va3sie.com/blog/aprs/2013/08/12/bzz-de-va3siep-qrp-fun-in-the-skeeter-hunt-2013/
|I launched a homebrewed 40m EFHW into a tree and a homebrewed 20m EFHW into another tree. I set up my battery-powered, home-built K1 at the back of our camper in Warren County, NY and commenced working Skeeters in the US and Canada. All I had to do is glance to my right and I could see an "inlet" of the Schroon River - the XYL calls it a swamp - but it really is part of the Schroon! Considering the band conditions, I'm really happy with the 42 Q's. I'm not surprised that 33 of them were on 40m. 20 was pretty dormant during the entire 4 hours. All in all, a big improvement over my results from last year. The antennas - shot high into trees using my homebrewed pneumatic antenna launcher - my PAL - make a world of difference. Thanks to all the participants and to Larry, W2LJ, and to the NJQRP Club - without your efforts the bands would have been really quiet. Looking forward to next year...72, Will, NQ2W|
A link to Jim's 2013 Skeeter Hunt experience - http://www.amateurradio.com/nj-qrp-skeeter-hunt-in-hill-village/
KX3 (Internal 8 AA batteries) at 4-5 Watts
to PAR EndFedz vertical wire outdoors up in the woods on Brush Mountain, near Blacksburg, VA
This is not much of a showing, but I sure had a good time! I had to race out of church to get to my car to get to my operating spot. Then I slung my weight over a great tree branch--on the first try, somehow--and set up my antenna, KX3, and the Palm Paddles, and my paper log-on-the-clipboard. Next was my folding chair and my roll-up portable table. I really was able to get started pretty much right after 1:00 PM, EDT. Larry W2LJ Skeeter 13 was my very first QSO, at about 1710 UTC!!! And the fun continued right until my last QSO at 2058, with K4JJI Skeeter 149.
|Well, it was a sunny day in Florida and I packed up my Mini-Cooper with my KX3, 31 Ft Jackite mat, End Fed Half Wave antenna 7AH battery, cooler with soda and water and headed from Orlando to a nice park on a lake in Titusville. FL. After getting the rig and antenna set up I anxiously tuned it to 14.060 right at 1700Z The band was truly buzzing with Skeeter Hunters. I finally worked up the nerve and answered N3AQC's "CQ BZZ". He was a solid 599 and I was amazed that he came right back to me with a 569! I was on my way and the adrenaline was flowing! I was working stations up and down the East Coast, but later I started hearing stations out West and worked them too. I never heard Steve, WG0AT, but I did work Carey, KX0R and he was strong into Florida. There are some great OPs out there and I thank them all for putting up with my feeble keying. This is a great event and I thank Larry, W2LJ and NJQRP for all the efforts in putting the Skeeter Hunt together. I'm hooked and can't wait until next year's event.|
|I was approximately 5 miles north of Jefferson City, MO on the west bank of the Missouri River.|
name is Joe, KK4NWC. I am new to Ham radio, licensed this year. I was
very optimistic in preparing for the Skeeter hunt. I prepared three
pages in a spiral notebook for my log. It turns out that I only needed
three lines and I must have misunderstood the call sign for one of
In keeping with the water theme I operated from a pedestrian bridge over the Ohio river at Louisville, Kentucky. I hung a EARCHI 6 -40 meter end-fed antenna over the side and lowered it below the bridge. I then waited for some law enforcement agency to show up to question my activity. I did have a lot of questions from people passing but no one from home land security.
Photography is another hobby of mine and I spent some of my time photographing the towboats and Belle of Louisville that passed. I am using the photography as the official excuse for my poor performance.
One of the included photos may be hard to interpret. It shows the antenna hanging off the bridge. A cord and coax lead down to a box containing a balun then part of the antenna wire can be seen continuing down toward the water. A weight was attached to the end of the wire to hold it close to vertical.