Amateur Radio WB3GCK 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.

End-fed Vee

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.

Equipment Setup

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


Contest Log:

MODE: CW         POWER: 950mW         SPC: PA                                                         


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                                          


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                                                               

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