2019 Skeeter Hunt Soapbox - Page 1

AD4S - S 8.5 noise level here on all bands.  Did not sound like digital noise but you never know. Still had a good time.  Went back to the gazebo at the entrance to the Harbins Wilderness here near Atlanta.  Used my fathful K2 #1038 that I built in 2000.

WB1V - Could only op for a couple hours, including setup and tear down - but made a few qsos and had fun! Looking forward to next time. Thanks to all to qso'd with me and to the NJQRP group - especially Larry W2LJ!

Very 73, Mike W1BV

FISTS: 17909 NAQCC: 8554 SKCC: 15862S

N2EI - Heavy Thunderstorms throughout the Test. Needed to shut down several times. So it goes. KX3 and Dipole @35'

WB9HFK - Band conditions continue to be poor - but, had fun in a part-time effort. Sorry to those I may have missed down in the noise/QSB.  72,Mark - WB9HFK

VE9ZZ - Thanks to the skeeters who managed to hear me as band conditions weren't the best. I had to change operating position because it threatened to rain. Inserted the legs on my KX3 behind the plastic backing of my seat. Sat in the passenger seat and operated from there, worked out comfortably. Overall enjoyed the day out at the park. Looking forward to next year. 73 de VE9ZZ

VA3NU - Had a lot of fun. Many signals right at the noise floor on 20M and 40M and deep QSB thrown in to add to the fun. I was able to operate for a couple of hours. Looking forward to next year
Larry VA3NU 72

NS3C - Thanks, Richard – NS3C

AC0SR - I used an Emtech ZM-2 that I built from a kit for the tuner. The XCVR is a Youkits HB-1B (2018 model), and the key was built from a kit by American Morse. If the Youkits disqualifies me for homebrew or kit, you can just change the Class Multiplier. Thanks! It was a fun hunt!!

Patrick AC0SR

AJ4UQ - A bust for me today, but nice enough day to sit outside. I intended to work from a local park, but was running behind and set up in the back yard. Could only pull out call signs for NE5DL and N9AW; NE5DL came back to me with a partial call then disappeared again. Heard wisps of four or five other skeeters but not enough to ID let alone work. The potential tropical storm offshore was trying to rain on me, which didn't help.

Maybe next year.... but I enjoyed the effort.

W1PID - Great afternoon in New Hampshire. Sunny and lots of activity. 20 meters was the winning band here. I operated for an hour on a hilltop in New Hampton, New Hampshire. I ran a KX3 with a 30 foot wire as a vertical... sloping a little toward the south.  I made 18 QSOs and had a great time. Thanks all for the QSOs and thanks Larry for all the hard work setting it up. 73 Jim W1PID

NC4RT - Sorry I was late getting on.  A late-developing family conflict kept me occupied for the first 3 hours.

But for the final hour, I had a blast.  Thanks as always Larry for putting this fun event together.

I had a fairly low end-fed wire 80' long, maybe 20 feet high at the far end, 4 feet high for half its length.    I oriented it at about 45 degrees east of north... That didn't seem to make much of a difference, as my qsos were scattered from right off the ends to pretty solidly off the beam.  I forgot to connect a counterpoise; maybe that would have improved my signal a tiny bit. Conditions were not the best, but I was pleasantly surprised how many other guys I heard.  Thanks to all who put up with my shaky fist today.  

72 de NC4RT

WA4AAK - Made only 6 contacts for 3 hrs. of CW operation in Monte Sano
State Park (Alabama), but was glad to get them for my first Skeeter
Hunt!?? Hope to see you all and at least one sunspot next year! Evan, WA4AAK

WA1GWH - Well, I got started at about 2:45 PM EDT on 40M.  The few sigs I heard were very weak.  Managed to work N8BB #10 in MI at 3:15 and could only give him a 449 at best.  Hear crunching crashes for the SW-40+ with no AGC.  Had to quit because a series of thunderstorms drifted through for the rest of the Hunt!  Darn! 

Photo of the rig as used attached.  Built circa 2003.  Every few years I drag it out and make a mod or two.  Maybe someday it will be "finished"!  I like running it with the hood off.  It was set for 1.7W out to a 40M dipole at 16 feet. 

72 and TU!

Garry WA1GWH, Skeeter #6, near Syracuse, NY

WB4OMM - Got a little bit of a late start at 2:00 PM EST.  Setup in the same park as last year, but got smart this time and wound up under a pavilion and out of the sun!  It was still pretty warm at 94 degrees and 80% humidity, but compared to last year, it was a cake walk!  Band conditions were horrible.  Worst I’ve seen in any operating event in a while.  I used the same rig, an Elecraft K1 running 4W to a different antenna, a 31-foot end-fed wire into a tree.  I also used a lithium-ion battery this time with more capacity (10AHr).  S7 noise on 20M….very few signals anywhere in the CW sub-band.  40M was worse (if it could be any worse)….not a peep except for one or two really weak signals at the bottom of the band.  I went back to 20M and it took 48 minutes for me to hear a signal I could work – NN9K (IL) – and the QSB dropped his first transmission to nothingness.  Got it all on the second.  30 mins later, I heard W3AQC (PA - my NAQCC buddies) up and down with QSB from nothing to S5, and managed to work them.  10 minutes later I could hear K9CW (IL) good enough for a Q.  Hunted around for then next 45 minutes…heard KD3CA several times, but never strong enough (and long enough!) to work him…..ditto NE5DL and W3GW.  Last QSO was with a non-skeeter, W9RAC (IN) who was booming in some 20 KHz down…as he should be with 100W!  Had a nice Q with him, but had to make it short as my laptop battery was just about gone.  5 QSOs in 4 states…..in just over 2 hours.  Not a great rate!  BUT….like always, I had fun, was out of the house and playing QRP CW.  The Best!  I have attached the required “selfie evidence photos” with the Skeeter logo at the station and another shot of the station setup.  72/73 to all, see you skeeters next year!  Steve WB4OMM

K2PHD - Band conditions coupled with Lighthouse on the air contest made frequencies sparse and things difficult for me where I was located, but had fun setting up my portable station (FT-817ND, end fed long wire 32’ long and up 18’ using battery power). Was going to take picture at end of event. However, horrific thunderstorm caused me to hastily pack up and run for cover.

W7GRV - Well I tried to participate in the NJQRP Skeeter Hunt today but the plan did not work out as I wanted. I got Zero as in Nada QSOs. This was my first time operating portable and QRP. So, rather than drag things out to a location and have things go bad I set up on the side of the house under some trees. Just as I got everything out to the table to set up and build some stuff out storms started moving in so I only set up one of the three antennas I wanted to try.

Right after getting setup and trying to get on the air I figured out the IC-817ND is not transmitting, receiving OK though. So I grab the IC-718 and try to use it, but the auto tuner was not working. So I grabbed the manual tuner and all is now working OK. In between calling CQ I fixed the cable the and AT-7000 was started working with the IC-718 (set to 10 watts output power)

The problem was I had lightning to the Northwest of me and all I could hear was noise, sometimes lots and lots of noise. I could faintly hear people but really could not make anyone out (even with headphones on). I found out after putting things away I had pretty good storms to the Southwest of me as well, no wonder I could not hear anything.
Still learned a lot about setting up for remote operations. I now know what I need to do for the next go round which will probably be in the yard again until I work out the kinks and have things set up the way I want.

N3AQC - A beautiful warm day for a Skeeter Hunt without the Skeeters biting. As usual we had a blast operating in the event. Look forward to doing it again next year. We were distracted for about a half hour by some rain, but stayed dry in the park pavilion.

N4RRT - Local thunderstorms cut into my afternoon; packed up the station after only about an hour.  This was my first hunt and was lots of fun and looking forward to next year.  40m quarter wave wire vertical with four quarter wave radials hung from a large tree; FT-817ND.


W8EWH - Local thunderstorms cut into my afThis was my first ever Skeeter Hunt.  Joined 2 hours in because of storms in the area.  Pleased by the number of stations out there participating.  Only wish I would have had more time.  Used my Elecraft KX3 running 5W into a dipole at the top (35 ft) of a Spiderbeam telescoping pole.  Bioenno Battery Power.  All from my backyard.  Attached photo shows operating position.  Looking forward to next year!

N3DJO - Sorry to say I missed the chance for the perfect picture. After I put away my camera a Mosquito landed on my tuning knob and just sat there for about 10 seconds.

Dale N3DJO
SKCC #20333
NAQCC #9976

KE9V - Thunderstorms cut things short. Just two QSO's (N0SS & N9AW) operating from home. KX3 and five watts.

WB5BKL - K3/10 @ 5W to various wires.  Family medical issues made me a part-timer from home.  Removed one obvious non-Skeeter QSO (serial - not Skeeter number - sent) from log.  I hope to be back in the field next year.  My best to all.  Had fun.


K9DRP - Missed the first hour due to problems with cattle waterer.
Set up my kit built HT-1A and EFHW between thundershowers.  Quit calling
CQ after awhile because I was getting too many responses which I
couldn't pull out over the QRN, with Tstorms working across the state
for the entire event.  A very nice turnout with lots of stations BZZing
on 20 & 40.  I wish I could have worked more of them.  Next year!


Don, K9DRP

K0EMT - I operated at a site in Cedar City, MO with Josh, W0ODJ, #103, and Rick, #108. There were storms first thing the in the morning so we opted for a site that offered a pavilion. It also offered a grill.  We enjoyed some excellent brats expertly grilled by Rick, KC0PET.

My station was an Elecraft K2, Code Warrior JR paddle (with the stability mod I documented on YouTube) and a W3EDP antenna.  I would typically use a trapped EFHW for 20/30/40.  However, with the chance of rain I opted for the W3EDP since there are no traps to worry about if it were to rain.  I used a 9:1 home brew unun, 17’ counterpoise and about a 10’ length of RG-58.  To get some more elevation, I supported the antenna with a 31’ Jackite mast.    With this setup I was able to get a good match on 80-10m.  In the picture the ground is brown because of the recently receded flood waters.  For power I used a 3500mAh LiPo.  After 3 hours of operating, it wasn’t even down to nominal voltage yet.

SPCs worked: PA, QC, TX, MO, IA, WI, OH, IL, AZ, ME, NC, and OR
Band - # Qs: 20m - 13, 40m - 5, 80m - 1

I usually search and pounce.  However, this go around, with my confidence up a bit, I called CQ near the end of the event.  I was rewarded with 5 Qs in a row.  Overall, I think this was my best QRP portable outing.

For my bonus points, I put together a binder with information and log/contact page for potential visitors.

Thanks for your work on Skeeter Hunt!  72 de Bryan, K0EMT

KE1L - I had a partial contact with a station in VA but did not complete it. I copied full exchanges from AZ but was unable to make contact. I briefly heard a W6 station. I don't remember hearing any other sections. I did not attempt to reach out for contacts with non-Skeeter Hunt stations; my one non-Skeeter contact was the result of a CQ call and he knew the exchange without prompting.

I went to a field location that I have visited before: Georges Island, in the Boston Harbor Islands State and National Park. Everything was perforce carried in because the island can only be reached by ferry. Everything except the mast fit in a backpack. I would need a larger backpack for the mast but it would be possible.

Past experience showed me that the island is a poor place to set up a dipole or any similar horizontal antenna. There aren't a lot of trees, they aren't very tall, and they aren't spaced appropriately. So this year I decided to try a vertical antenna instead, as they often work well in coastal locations because of the high quality ground. (It was actually only NEARLY vertical; the wire came down at a slight slope to the other side of the picnic table from where the mast was supported.)

I got to the island shortly before noon and had the station set up in time for the opening bell at 1pm. I shut down shortly after 4 and had everything packed by 4:30. I could have stayed on the air another 15 minutes and not been in danger of missing the boat, but I was also about to lose my shade to the changing position of the sun so it seemed like a good time to pack up.

I used a 23' telescoping mast from SOTABeams as the basis of my antenna: https://www.sotabeams.co.uk/compact-heavy-duty-7-m-23-ft-mast/ I really like that mast because it collapses down to a 2 foot package; great for carrying. I secured the mast to a picnic table using bondage tape, my kinky hint for the radio amateur :) I had various lengths of wire left over from previous portable antenna projects; a piece of 30' or so was cut down to be the almost vertical element, and a piece somewhere in the 60-70' range was cut in half to make two ground radials. I fastened the vertical wire to the top segment of the mast with electrical tape, raised the mast, and then cut the vertical wire to the right length to reach the ground. The vertical wire and the two radials were connected to an LDG 4:1 unun to raise the likely low impedance of the antenna (on 40 and 80 meters anyway) to a value that would be easier for the autotuner in my K2 to match (which it had no trouble doing on every contest band from 80 through 10 meters), and a coax jumper about 15' long went from there to the rig.

The sole rig was my trusty K2 #1984, which I built somewhere around 20 years ago. Power was provided by a BioEnno 3000mAH LiFePo4 battery, which proved to be adequate for the three hours of operation that I did. (I had a second larger battery in reserve but did not need to use it; I started with the small one to test whether it would be large enough for this operation. Next time I can save some pack weight by leaving the large battery at home.) A Palm Paddle and a pair of Klipsch earbuds completed the setup. I used a Microsoft Surface Go for logging; no fancy logging software this time, just a text document in Notepad++.

Either my rig and/or antenna weren't working very well or band conditions were poor. Given how things have been recently I suspect the latter. Signals were not very far above the noise (even the rather low noise floor on the island, which is away from major land-based noise sources), and there was a substantial amount of QSB that made some contacts difficult to complete. 20 meters was my main band of operation; I also made two contacts on 40. I listened to 80, 15, and 10 meters at various times but never heard any Skeeter activity. 15 and 10 weren't COMPLETELY dead; I did hear some weak signals lower in those bands in the early afternoon. I didn't expect much out of 80 on a summer afternoon but checked it anyway; switching bands on the K2 is quick because it remembers the autotuner settings for each band.

I heard somebody work one of my fellow New England QRP Club members, W1PID, but I did not hear his signal. That was on 20 meters so that's not a surprise; we weren't close enough for me to hear a line of sight signal but too close for any mode of skip. If I were going to have any hope of contacts within New England it would have been on 40, but my only contacts on that band were with PA. I heard WU7Y in Arizona, which would have been a great QRP contact for those band conditions, but was unable to make contact with him.

Mostly I listened and called other stations. I made some CQ calls and made three of my contacts that way but was not able to sustain a run. Also, if I were going to try to hold a frequency for the contest I would have needed the big battery!

It was a beautiful sunny day on the island. I was set up near a tree so I was in the shade. The city got hot that day but it was cooler on the island, so much so that I needed to wear a light jacket for the first hour.

I displayed the Skeeter Hunt logo on my computer, using about half the screen for it. The other half was for the log.

WB3GCK - I operated from Valley Forge National Historical Park this year. I mounted a homebrew vertical on my truck and ran a coax cable over to a picnic table in the shade. The bands were in fair condition but there were some loud static crashes from storms in the area. I only planned to operate an hour but there was lots of activity, so I stayed an extra half hour. I had a lot of fun and it was great to work some familiar QRPers again. Thanks, Larry, for running this fun contest. -- WB3GCK


NN9K - Great contest Larry! I operated from a bluff in Illinois overlooking the Mississippi River. For me 20-meters was the place to be, very little heard on 40-meters.

N4HAY - I operated from a lovely spot at Jordan Lake which is about a 20 minute drive west from my QTH in Morrisville (nr Raleigh) in NC. A short walk from the car park. The temperature was in the lower nineties and quite sweaty, however a light breeze across the lake  provided welcome relief.

Operating conditions were my trusty, (now ancient), K2 and EMTECH ZM-2 ATU into an 80m doublet fed with 450 Ohm ladder line. The doublet was an inverted vee up about 25ft. The skyhook was a pine tree on the edge of the lake.

My first call was at 2:30pm local. The band was fantastically quiet. Signals were low and conditions were reasonable although I could copy many more stations than could hear me. I attributed this to the very quiet condx. I had fun through until about 03:10pm and then the band dropped off. I was sorry that I had not become QRV earlier! (lesson learnt hi). I then switched to 40m and enjoyed the quiet band although a little QRN. Condx picked up at the end. I noted that most stations were operating around 7040KHz which I enjoyed. My antenna seemed to favor northern stations with a number of VE's, IL and WI in the log.

What a great time it was and many thanks to all stations and the contest organizers.

72 de Dick N4HAY

NU7Y - Thanks to Larry Makoski W2LJ for hosting this contest. Bill Leahy K0MP and I escaped the 104 F heat in Tucson and we set up on Mt. Bigelow northeast of the city in the Santa Catalina Mountains. The weather was great at 72F and partly cloudy skys. Bill made a 20 meter wire beam that was featured in June 2018 QST and the KD1JV tribander. We used painters poles to suspend the antenna. The parking area on the summit is small and when we arrived there was a family camping nearby. We setup on the opposite corner to stay out of everyone's way. We were going to setup our 40 meter antenna but with everyone around we decided to operate on 20 meters only. Last year, we probably saw 5 people up there. This year it was more like 50 so I guess everyone had the same idea as us. Bands were fair and the antenna worked well. We swatted 27 skeeters and a few QRP and QRO. Not bad for being way out west. I've attached a few pics of the operation. See ya next year although we may look for a quieter location. NU7Y

AD0YM - Equipment: LNR Mountain Topper 5B, Aerial 51 OCF Dipole on a 40 foot Spiderbeam pole up about 36 feet, and Palm mini paddle.  Powered using a 12 V 12 Ah gel cell battery.  I planned but then opted out of using an antenna match box. 

Weather was suppose to be an issue, but forecast for thunderstorms did not pan out.  Would have kept the clouds because clearing left full sun with humidity for full effect.  Still, been out in worse.

Checked 15 meters several times, but spent the rest of the time on 20 and 40 meters.  Seventeen total QSOs, 14 on 20 meters and the remaining few on 40 meters.  Nine SPCs: NC (3), TX (4), PA (2), MI, AZ, MO (3), QC, OH, and CO.

Many thanks to the organizer(s) for providing the opportunity.  The Skeeter Hunt is a great event!

Mike, AD0YM

N0SS - At 81 and 74 years of age, with a touch of peripheral neuropathy, ocular cataracts, and medical cautions to stay out of the sun, W4RK and K9ZTV put the Mid-MO Amateur Radio Club of Jefferson City, Missouri, into 'skeeter infested Westphalia, Missouri (population 390, elevation 610 feet), for yet another wonderful Skeeter Hunt sprint.

Using K9ZTV's kit-built KX3 (s.n. 21), Skeeters were swatted for four hours from an air-conditioned building 20 miles south of our respective QTHs.  Because QRP and solar minimum require efficiency over simplicity and convenience, this year we opted for a home-brew 134-foot doublet fed with open-wire line and supported at 40-feet in an inverted-vee configuration by a Spiderbeam fiberglass mast inserted in a home-brew drive-on steel mount (see pictures).  The open-wire line ran directly to an MFJ-974HB balanced line transmatch which smoothly matched working frequencies on 80, 40, and 20 meters.  Power came from a Bioenno 3Ah Lithium Iron Phospate battery and the paddle was a Begali Adventure.

Light sprinkles and overcast skies were welcome while erecting the antenna with the sun shining gloriously throughout the afternoon taking temperatures into the 90s.  A slight breeze made for a perfect summer Sunday.

Band conditions were much better than they were three weeks ago for Flight of the Bumble Bees.  We managed 47 total contacts in 20 SPCs, 35 of which were Skeeters.  The expected QSB on nearly every signal required patience and numerous requests for fills.

Our thanks to Larry, W2LJ, and the NJQRP group for another fun event.  Our sympathy to the families of N8XX, WA8REI, and N2CX in whose memory this year's Skeeter Hunt was dedicated.


Kent Trimble, K9ZTV
Bill Gerth, W4RK
Mid-MO Amateur Radio Club
Jefferson City, Missouri

K7TQ - Headed out off for my favorite location in the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest with plenty of time to spare.  Fifteen minutes out I remembered that I'd forgot the stakes to guy the 30 foot fishing pole, so back home.  Made it to the operating location and began setting up.  First attempt to put up the SOTA Beams 20-40 m Trapped Inverted Vee went fine until the fishing pole collapsed as I was staking out the back guy.  Same thing with attempt number two.  For the third try, I made sure each connection was tight and twisted into place.  Success on try number three.  Was on the air only four minutes after the event began.  Made four Qs in short order then no success for the next hour on either 20 or 40.  I could hear folks on 40, but they couldn't hear me and 20 wasn't any better.  Had time only for a short outing, so took it all down and headed home.  Still any time you can get out in the forest and have some radio success is a good day.  Thanks to NJ QRP for hosting the event and catch you all next year under better conditions.

Randy, K7TQ
Moscow, ID

KM3D - I sure wish some would have tried 15 meters.  I heard a W-zero ragchewing up there but nobody else.  It would have been a good band!  I chickened out and stayed home, but had a great time anyway!  - KM3D

W0ITT - Meanwhile, here is the first part of my list of excuses:

1 - We had a big rain storm right before the Hunt
2 - I couldn’t find my Jackite antenna pole (it takes special talent to lose something that’s 31’ long)
3 - It was too hot or too cold, depending on when you asked me
4 - One of my dogs ran away, and I had to chase him down
5 - (Your excuse here……  I can use it next year)

I had a great time, excellent to talk to everyone again.

72 de Gary W0ITT (#121)

AK3X - Good activity and conditions, thanks to everyone for the QSO’s.  Thanks for the fun. Thunderstorm interfered.  72. Pete

KA3D - Congratulations on a great event again this year!


My original plans were to set up at a vacation home in the Poconos. My family (16 of us)spent a week there. To my surprise, Our check out time was 11:00 am. I was able to get to my daughters house in Denver Pa. and set up on the deck about 1:30pm. I used a Buckmaster antenna that I have deployed there for a future remote site. Thus the “Home “commercial entry, KX3 That I did not build. Next year I think I might try my QSX-40 that I recently built. A bad storm rolled in the 3rd hour( wind, rain, and hail).


I had a great time!