|QRP to the Field Report
Craig LaBarge, WB3GCK
April 26, 1997
From the "Home of the Blob"
The theme for this year's contest was weird locations, such as locations of UFO sightings, hauntings, or other similarly strange happenings. After wracking my brain for days trying to come up with a location within driving distance of my home, I decided that there was, in fact, no place like home, when it comes to the unusual. For, you see, it was right here in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania that many of the scenes from The Blob were filmed. This classic science fiction film launched the career of a young Steve McQueen back in 1958. The Blob was a lump of goo which fell from outer space, grew dramatically in size, and terrorized a small community. The famous movie theater scene, in which a hoard of screaming movie-goers is chased into the streets by the Blob, was filmed right here at the Colonial Theater. The Colonial remains a local landmark today.
Ironically, back when I was a youngster, the Blob was the first horror movie I had ever seen. My older brother, Tom, was coerced into taking me along to the movies. He took me to a double feature consisting of I Married a Monster from Outer Space and, of course, The Blob. For weeks afterwards, I slept with the lights on and was very careful about putting my feet on the floor in the morning (The Blob could have been lurking under my bed, you know!) Little did I know that I would come to live in the "Home of the Blob" some twenty years later.
I had a lot of fun during the contest, although I've had better days. I set up in a local school yard at about 1330Z or so. I started off with a vertical using a 19.5 foot radiator (supported by a black widow rod) and eight 19.5 foot radials. I used a small transmatch at the base to load it up. It worked like a champ on 20 meters. I quickly fired up the GM-20 (950mW) and worked Utah and a couple of Colorado stations right out of the box. After a while, I decided to see if I could get anything out of the vertical on 40 meters. No go. My tuner couldn't quite pull it off.
Since it was just about lunch time (and my location had no "facilities"), I headed home for some chow, a pit-stop, and some more wire. When I returned, I set up an end-fed inverted vee (66') using the Black Widow rod as the support and 16 & 33 foot counterpoise wires. This set up worked out pretty well on 40 and 20 meters. I used my trusty SW-40 (950mW) on 40 meters.
I continued bouncing back and forth between 40 and 20 meters up until about
2000Z. In general, the bands seemed "sluggish" and there didn't seem to be
many stations participating this year. Some stations, like K1OJ and N4BP
seemed to be in there pretty much the whole time, but not a whole lot of
new stations to work when I checked the bands. In total, I worked about 20
stations; about half and half on 40 and 20 meters. Still, it was a perfect
day to be outside operating. I had some painful sunburn on the back of my
neck to prove it.
Special "Home of the Blob" QSLs were sent via the U.S. QSL Bureau to all who managed to hear me. As always, I'm looking forward to the next QRP to the Field event.
Power: 6 A-H gel cell battery
MODE: CW POWER: 950mW SPC: PA BAND MODE DATE UTC STATION EXCH-S EXCH-R MUL PTS 20M CW 4-26-97 1419 K1OJ 559 PA 559 TX 0 10 20M CW 4-26-97 1430 W0YSE 549 PA 559 UT 10 20M CW 4-26-97 1431 K0FRP 559 PA 559 CO 10 20M CW 4-26-97 1435 W0YOR 569 PA 559 CO 10 20M CW 4-26-97 1444 W5ON 549 PA 559 AR 10 20M CW 4-26-97 1448 N9AW 549 PA 449 WI 10 20M CW 4-26-97 1726 N4BP 559 PA 559 FL 10 20M CW 4-26-97 1858 N5SAN 559 PA 559 AR 10 20M CW 4-26-97 1904 W3BTN 559 PA 549 PA 10 20M Total 90 BAND MODE DATE UTC STATION EXCH-S EXCH-R MUL PTS 40M CW 4-26-97 1604 N4ROA 559 PA 429 VA 0 10 40M CW 4-26-97 1607 WD8RIF 559 PA 459 OH 10 40M CW 4-26-97 1730 AE4IC 559 PA 559 NC 10 40M CW 4-26-97 1741 KS4XO 569 PA 559 VA 10 40M CW 4-26-97 1751 AA1PB 449 PA 539 VT 10 40M CW 4-26-97 1808 AD8K 579 PA 579 OH 10 40M CW 4-26-97 1812 W2KJ 589 PA 559 NC 10 40M CW 4-26-97 1816 K8JV 599 PA 579 MI 10 40M CW 4-26-97 1830 WA8VTD 589 PA 559 MI 10 40M CW 4-26-97 1939 KC4WX 579 PA 529 VA 10 40M CW 4-26-97 1944 WA8LCZ 559 PA 329 MI 10 40M Total 110 Score = 200 (QSO Points) x 4 (Field location) x 3 (homebrew) = 2400