The Ft. Tuthill 2000 Report
by Bob Hightower NK7M
The campground began to fill early on Thursday, and by the time evening fell, there were 29 sites occupied, with perhaps 50 hams and spouses in attendance. It promised to be a great day on Friday.
Friday was "builders day", as we gave away 50 of the Tuna Tin 2 kits, with a lot of help from Doug Hendricks, KI6DS and NORCAL, with the understanding that they would be built on site. Some of the hams in attendance at the hamfest wanted to just take one and build it at home, later, but we had to explain that this was not a freebie for their junk box, but an attempt to get people to build and operate a real qrp rig. Didn't set well with some of them, but that was OK....left the kits for those that would build them :^)
I think I stated one time that 50 were built, but it was really about 48 or 49...had to cannibalize a couple due to some parts missing or bad. Not a bad record, tho, as I think they all worked. A test rig was set up, and all were tested before they left the building area. It was really great to see hams (and some not yet hams) of all ages hunched over the bench, working on the little rigs. Lots of elmering going on as well, and no one lacked for encouragement.
Those that didn't want to build one, or who had already built more than their share of them, had the day free to visit the spaces in the two large lots for sellers, and, from noon Friday on, the commercial vendors in the main building.
At the ScQRPions booth, we were pleased to have Dave Benson NN1G, from Small Wonders Labs, with his PSK-20 rig, and some of the DSW-40's. Dave also had some SW40+ kits. Alongside him was Vern Wright W6MMA, with his PW-1 antennas. He spent a lot of time demonstrating them, and had Chuck Adams, K7QO, using one in the Saturday TT2 Sprint.
Joanna Jones, KD7GLY, was present in the ScQRPions booth most all weekend, as was Bertie Hightower N7XJW, answering questions, passing out information, selling noise generators and mic pre-amp kits. They were really the only ones who seemed to know what was going on, and when :^).
Elecraft was in the main building with their K-2's and accessories, and taking orders for the new K-1 rigs. Along with Eric and Wayne was Gary Surrency, AB7MY, who provides tech support. Gary was kept quite busy talking about both rigs, as Wayne and Eric were either selling or taking orders.
Saturday a.m., early-early (6:00 a.m.) we provided a low-cost pancake and sausage breakfast in the campground for those interested before they began to shop. The QRP presentations were not scheduled to start until 9:00 a.m., so there was time to find that much-seeked treasure. Some found it, some didn't, but the looking is half the fun, right?
Dave Benson began the talks with a presentation on his PSK rig, and the mode in general, and covered some of his upcoming projects, which was very interesting. Following that, the Elecraft crew took over, and presented their product line and future projects, and answered questions from the crowd. The final speaker was Dan Tayloe N7VE, who talked a bit about his 10-meter rig, and answered questions about the 'quadrature mixer' and his newest, something about an 'integrator'. I don't fully understand what he was talking about, but I listened to the rig, and it was amazing! Look for this one to be kitted in the future.
During the lunch break, 17 K-2 owners brought their rigs for a 'reunion' with Wayne and Eric, and we had a picture taking session. Quite impressive to see all of them lined up on a table, with a K-1 in the center of it all. All the owners got to get in the picture, and I'm sure we'll see some of them on the net soon.
Tom Hammond N0SS took over for about an hour after lunch, helping set K2 Filters and demonstrating the Spectrogram software. Tom was willing to help anyone with a rig to set their filters, or show them how to do it with Spectrogram, if they didn't have the rig with them. He did this periodically throughout the day, and the next day as well.
One O'Clock Saturday, or 2000 Z was the start of the great Ft Tuthill Tuna Tin 2 Sprint. We had no idea how many would participate, so it was set up on the fly (no, we were not disorganized, it just looked that way). About a dozen operators joined in, and we spread them out among three operating sites, each with power, receivers, antennas and keys, and they had at it. All of them made at least one QSO, usually with K7QO, and some even made contact with hams out of the hamfest area, and out of state. A great time was had by all, and it was really great to see some of them make their very first CW contact, on a rig that they had just built. You had to be there :^)
Jerry Haigwood, W5JH, held a building contest, with the judging taking place just before the cook-out. He will post the results seperately, as I don't have the complete list. Some of the entries were really well done. Others......well, this was a building contest, right?
Brian Kassel N7RE MC'd the dinner, and recognized some of the 'notables' present. One of our group, Jamie Johnson KC7MQY, had just passed the 5 WPM code session, getting over a large hurdle on her way up the licensing ladder, and Dave Benson donated an SW40+ rig to mark the occasion. Another member, Althea Dixon, KD7IUH, who only joined us a couple of months ago, passed her 5 WPM and General tests, and was presented a 20 Meter rig by Vern Wright. Great going, both of you!
Awards for the on-site Tuna Tin 2 Sprint participants were presented. There were only two, and, as no criteria were announced earlier, it was decided to present one to Jim Duffey KK6MC, for the absolutely worst signal during the sprint. We said his call should be KK6MC/CO. The award was a nice brass key, mounted on a swivel base to a wood plaque. Actually, it was an old key, one of the mounting screws missing, hence the swivel, and the piece of wood could, I suppose, be called a plaque. Had a rather large gouge out of it, but the key, when in proper position, covered that up. He will receive the missing screw and commemorative plaque later via snail mail.
The second award went to Ross Tucker, KD7FIK, as the youngest entrant to build the rig and make a qso with it. He was on the ARCA staff, and not able to attend the cook-out, so we'll mail the SMK-1 kit to him.
After a great cook-out, with Mike Connor NQ7K as chef, and with the traditional cowboy beans prepared by Roger Hightower N7KT and potato salad and bread provided by Bertie Hightower N7XJW, we morphed into small groups and began to visit. Doug Hendricks, Bob Oka, Mike Connor and I'm sure a few more who I can't remember gathered up and began to strum their guitars, drawing an audience of their own. Darkness fell, and another Ft Tuthill QRP event was drawing to a close.
The AZ ScQRPions would like to thank all who attended and took part in the activities, and to say that we all enjoyed visiting and meeting each and every one of you. Thanks again to the vendors, speakers, and to Tom Hammond for helping to make this event so enjoyable and informative. We'd like to invite all of you to come back next year, and, if you haven't been there, make plans to be in Ft Tuthill during the last full weekend of July, 2001. We'll try to keep you entertained.
Bob Hightower NK7M
Besides lots of fun at Ft. Tuthill, we gave away a couple of prizes. Many thanks to April Surrency for playing Vanna White and drawing the winners for us.
Since the grand prize was special, everyone was given a chance at it even if they had already won a prize.
And the prize winners were.....
Name, Call, Prize
Bob Kimbrell, AC7BN, Ft. Smith Paddle/key kit
Steve Schroder, KI0KY, World Radio Subscription
Brian Kassel, K7RE, Kanga Gift Certificate
Jerry Haigwood, W5JH, Norcal BLT Tuner
Bob Hightower, NK7M, Norcal BLT Tuner
Bertie Hightower, N7XJW, Tick SMT kit w/ enclosure
Judy Ann Lowman, W6YBS, Tick 4 kit
Dick Palmer, WB6JDH, Buckmaster CD
Doug Hendricks, KI6DS, PW-1 Antenna
Joanna Jones, KD7GLY, Ft. Smith Paddle/key kit
Mike Connor, NQ7K, World Radio Subscription
Steve Thompson, N7TX, Ft. Smith Paddle/key kit
Gary Hembree, N7IR, QRZ CD
Stan LaPoint, K7NUU, QRZ CD
John Moriarity, K6QQ, World Radio Subscription
James Serilla, W7LM, QRP License Plate Holder
Karl Larson, K5DI, QRZ CD
Bill Phinizy, K6WHP, Emtech Ladder Grabber
Damon Raphel, W7MD, Ft. Smith Paddle/key kit
Jim Lowman, AD6CW, ARRL Handbook
Kent Torell, AB7OA, World Radio Subscription
Yoshikazu Sano, K7YS, ARRL Handbook
Gary Surrency, AB7MY, San Luis Key
Melissa Surrency, KC7MML, Norcal BLT Tuner
Clay Cadmus, KA0GKC, Tick Basic Kit w/ enclosure
Tim Pettibone, K5OI, Tick EMB Kit w/ enclosure
Jerry Parker, WA6OWR, Emtech Coax Grabber
Bert Davidson, W2GOB, Emtech Coax Grabber
Norm Melick, KQ6SD, World Radio Subscription
Jeff Johnson, KJ7LO, NA5N Data Book donated by K7QO
Jimmy Parker, (no call), World Radio Subscription
And the grand prize winner of the Small Wonder Labs PSK kit.
............. Jeff Johnson, KJ7LO.
Thanks to the vendors who donated these items. We appreciate their support and hopefully, when you have needs, you'll support them too!
Gerry Elam, K7LRO
As Bob Hightower reported in his Ft Tuthill post, I was in charge of the building contest. This years contest was judged by Doug Hendricks KI6DS and Jay Bromley W5JAY. They did an excellent job. Doug Hendricks also MC'd the event. I have posted pictures of the winners on my web page and the URLs are listed below. Plaques were awarded to the winners.
And the winners are...
BEST OF SHOW - Dan Tayloe was awarded this honor for his mini-Stinger 40 meter transceiver built from scratch. This transceiver uses Dan's patented Tayloe Mixer and provides high performance in a small low cost package. Look for Dans creation to be kitted by Norcal in the future. http://www.swlink.net/~w5jh/ft108.jpg
XCVR/RCVR/XMIT - Norm Melick KQ6SD won this catagory with a SST20 modified to 40 meters with a VFO added. This modification will be written up for QRPp. http://www.swlink.net/~w5jh/ft105.jpg
UGLIEST THING - Brian Kassel K7RE won this catagory with his keyboard/keyer combination. This is the second year in a row Brian has won this catagory! http://www.swlink.net/~w5jh/ft107.jpg
QRP ACCESSORIES - Dick Palmer WB6JDH won this catagory with his Jim Kortge designed 6 meter converter built manhattan style. http://www.swlink.net/~w5jh/ft104.jpg
SMK1 - Vern Wright W6MMA was the winner in this catagory. http://www.swlink.net/~w5jh/ft106.jpg
Everyone had a great time. There were a lot of very good entries. I am sure Doug and Jay had a hard time selecting the winners. Congratulations to all the winners!
73, Jerry Haigwood, W5JH, Peoria, AZ USA
web page http://www.swlink.net/~w5jh/