Goodby to Summer 1999 Expeditions

Approaching Slate Gap Island

I had wanted to operate from Slate Gap island for QRP To The Field, but had the flu and only operated from my north 40 field. But as soon as I got well I made plans and this time it all worked out. Beaver lake is about 30,000 acres in size and was completed by the Corps of Engineers in 1966. Its located 9 miles NW of Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Damming and flooding this area of the White river valley created several islands that are uninhabited. Ideal for ham radio portable operation.


At this time in the late summer lake levels are down. Navigating on the lake means you have to watch out for shallow areas, and sand bars. I found the best approach is from the east end. Two anchors is what it takes to hold the boat, and keep it from drifting to the right or left into rocks, or tree stumps.

From the beach

I set the antenna up about 25' from the shore, and ran the RG58 coax up to a shady area.

The antenna

For portable operation I have a 20' Black Widow collapsible fishing pole, and hang a wire vertical on it. There are two raised radials, but they don't show up well in these pictures. The antennas vertical "stinger" can be separated and cover 15 or 20 meter bands. And the radials are marked and rolled up for 15M or extended fully for 20M

Milliwatt station

My milliwatt QRPp ham station consists of the Index Labs QRP+ transceiver, Oak Hills QRP Wattmeter, TICK keyer (in Celestial Seasonings tin), home made CW paddles, and C cell nicad battery pack charged at home by solar panel.

October 1 1999

My first expedition was on October 1 1999, starting at 18:40Z. Calling CQ @ 400mW I made my first contact in about 10 minutes, with my friend Ken N4SO in Alabama on 20 meters. I was able to reduce my power to only 15mW with Ken.
Next at 19:00Z came Al, WA3PTY/QRP in PA. He was running a Ramsey QRP-20 transmitter @ 600mW and I was set at 750mW for our QSO. Both stations running only milliwatts, we had no problems and had a little rag chew.
Then I moved to 15 meters and found W3ION/4, Bill in Florida. I started at 400mW but had to raise my power to 700mW to finish the QSO.
I went back to 20M after that, and met Jake N4UY in VA. This time my power was set at a cool 730mW.
At 20:40Z along comes a call I always remember. VE3ABT, Des in Ontario Canada. At 550mW Des gave me a 569.
To round out the first day I met another portable station, W0UFO who was at his cabin in MN running 5w.

October 5 1999

The second expedition was on October 5 1999. First contact this time was at 19:06Z with Ray, W5XE of El Paso, TX. I was running 400mW and so was Ray! We had a fun QSO, and Ray told me he had been following my exploits on the QRP-L list, and was inspired to try milliwatting himself! What a nice compliment! So with that, we proceeded to do the "QRP Limbo"! I reduced my power to 100mW and he gave me a 539. He reduced power to 70mW and I gave him a 339. I then went down to 35mW and got a 229 from Ray. He went down to 30mW and I sent him a 229! WOW! That was FUN! A 2X Limbo!
I gave 15M @ 100mW a try and found Bill in NY at 20:19Z. We had a short QSO, he had to run.
Then back to 20M again, and found Don N3LAZ/QRP at 20:37Z. He was using his new K2 running 5w in PA. For fun I ran my power down to 15mW and he copied me but not very well.
The last OSO of the day was one of the best. N9GBB in WI came along at 21:04Z. I was CQ'ing @ 400mW. Jim gave me a 439 @ 400mW. I quickly reduced my power to 10mW, and got a "339 amazing"!
That wrapped up another great day on Slate Gap Island!

October 12 1999

My third goodby to summer trip got a slightly earlier start, right at 18:00Z. I called CQ at 200mW and had my 1st contact at 18:05z. K7XYV/QRP in MS. Pretty close in for 20M band, but we had a good QSO, he gave me a 339 with my 200mW, so I didn't try to go lower. Too bad, because I need to reduce my power for MS.
After that QSO, Ken N4SO was right there so I just ran my power on down to 20mW where he gave me a 229. We ran clear down to 2mW at 18:26z. A new low pwr mark for Alabama! Next at 18:32 came KI8AF/QRP in the woods of MI running 4w. Took a short break and got right back on the air at 19:00z.

After CQ'ing for 13min with 200mW, along comes Des, VE3ABT/QRP in ONT. I've met Des many times and have his QSL card on my wall. Right after Des, came another ONT stn, VE3MPQ Gary.
My last two QSO's of the day were KG2OK, in NY, and KB5GXD, in MN.
But the QSO with KB5GXD was one to remember! I guess I started at 700mW and ran all the way down to 5mW! That was one for the memories!!

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