Norcal "To The Field" TTF  April 30,2000

Location:    St. Simons Island, GA NA-058
Op:            Sam Billingsley  AE4GX
Op Time:   Two hours

Gear:    Index Labs QRP+ @ 5 watts
            Parking Lot Portable Vertical  (on 10/15/20 meters)
            PRA1 WA4YGG Reel Dipole (on 40 meters)
            Power: Gell Cell
            Power Monitor: NOGAPIG "Power Indicator and Monitor"

Well I had planned to check out a couple of locations but ran out of time in
the morning and just decided to setup near the end of the beach. Beautiful

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Got all the gear out of the SUV and ported it to the site. There was a tall
"No Swimming because of Heavy Currents" sign conveniently located so I
decided to put my center mast of my new reel dipole.

My mast was a two section 16 ft aluminum light blub replacer and a 16 ft three section old
time bamboo pole with brass fittings for coupling. So with about 32 ft of
pole and an additional 5 ft of sign pole support I got the reel dipole
antenna up and lashed to the sign pole. Thanks a stranger walking on the
beach for helping me and as he walked off I realized that I had forgotten to
attach the RG-174 coax to the center of the reel antenna at the top. So down
comes the shakey mast ducktape everywhere and the coax is attached and with
super human strength I managed to get it back up on the sign pole again. I
was too embarassed to ask for help this time. By now I'm eating into my
planned operating time and hurry to get the dipole elements up in a
inverted Vee fashion, one to the end of a nearby dock and the other to a
rock in the dunes. With the remaining 10 ft of coax on the ground I set the
location of the rest of the operating location.

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The PLPV goes up in record time (less than 5 minutes) and I decide to start
on 20 mtrs.

My second biggest frustration of the day was  hearing my NOGA buddies
calling CQ TTW on 40 meters and them not hearing me. They were a good 579 at
times but my location was noisy so I didn't get the contact. I only heard a
couple of stations of 40 but only tried during the 1700-1800Z timeframe.

Funniest contact was with W0CH apparently his battery was getting marginal
and everytime he would come back for about 10 seconds he as OK then the
signal would get shakey and just die off. The only way I got through the
exchange was getting him to only give one piece of the exchange at the time.
Check out on NOGA web site  the NOGAPIG might have helped warn you about the
problem. My little piggie ran throughout my two hours with no alarms. I
taken a spare battery for insurance.

I used a couple of beach chairs as the operating position. I've used the Index many times in the field and keep it permanently in the converted fishing equipment bag. It has great pockets and is reasonably weather resistant.  I moved from 20 to 15 back to 20 and then ended on 10 meters.

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My last contact for the contest was at the two hour mark with AL0HA on 10
meters. I decided right then that I had reached a stopping point that I
could be happy with
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Not be be outdone by those Norcal boys I noticed a few bikini clad young ladies just up the beach from the operating location. Notice the figure arranging her beach towel. Well...back to the contest.

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Unofficial summary  q's 22, spc 15 and a total of 18000 points. my OC
category helped for sure.

BTW I forgot my digital camera and had to buy a disposable 35mm to get the required OC Pixs.

Had lots of fun and I am looking forward to other outside events this summer.

Sam AE4GX  ST. Simons Island, GA  NA-058