2019 Skeeter Hunt Soapbox - Page 3

K2TD - (AK2S, K2DCD, K2QPN, KC2MTO, KD2RIU) - Hot and extremely muggy. Yuck. Chased out of the park by thunder storms and torrential down pours. All in all, a good time. Rig was a kit built (by me) KX3 5 watts. Antenna was a 35 foot end fed tossed into a tree.   73, Bob Nelson K2QPN


K0RY - I did the Skeeter Hunt with Brady AC0XR again this year, but using my own equipment this time.  All of my contacts were made on a QRPLabs QCX for 20m with a fishing pole vertical.  That worked well.  I also tried 40m on a QCX kit that I finished the day before the skeeter hunt, and using a hastily put together inverted vee antenna (window line feedline & antenna tuner). I did not have any Skeeter QSO's on 40m.  I heard WV0H, but didn't try to work him because I had already worked him on 20m and did not read the rules :)  The 40m setup was working, though, as I made one SOTA and one POTA contact using it (not counted toward Skeeter score b/c we didn't do a proper Skeeter exchange...)  The Skeeter Hunt is a great excuse to get outside and have some radio fun!

N3FEL - I tried a new 40m full quarterwave vertical but encountered high SWR. This was my first contest with the QRP-40 which survived the high SWR.   Had a lot of fun at Lake Caroline, Bucks County, PA made the event especially challenging.

Howard, N3FEL


NK9G - I was all set to go and I received a call from WI9AJR Andre saying that he and his son WI9EJR Etienne "ET" wanted to do the Skeeter Hunt. Both are new Hams and ET is 11 years old. We operated off a bluff above the western shore of Lake Michigan and it started with rain and thunder storms but it all cleared out. So I got a 80 meter doublet together for them and I wanted them involved in everything they could be from getting the antennas up in the trees to setting up their KX3 station and that worked well.Myself I used a KX3, 20/40 Delta Loop at 60' (broadside N/S) and a 88' doublet at 45' (broadside E/W).
I spent a little bit of time with Andre and ET and very little, actually ET worked No Skeeters on SSB. ET made 4 QSO's which was very disappointing but all in all they had fun and learned a lot. We will be going out again in a few weeks to play radio. With all the new Hams and doing SSB only I think the Ham Community needs to promote operating activity such as the Skeeter Hunt or they will give up do to no activity.  Teaching and Testing does not end with a license! 

Thanks to W2LJ Larry for his efforts putting together the Skeeter Hunt. Larry is a True Goodwill Ambassador for our Hobby.
See You all on the bands. Rick  NK9G

Editors note
: - Rick gets a "Gold Star" for his efforts in mentoring WI9EJR and WI9AJR in this year's Skeeter Hunt. He not only loaned them an antenna, but he was also helpful in instructing his "proteges" in deploying it and operating. Rick could have easily just contented himself with concentrating on the contest; but true to his nature, he saw someone in need and helped out. This is what Amateur Radio is all about.

Well done, Rick ........ well done!

W0TG - All operation was by Mary, AE6Q. I was along for the ride, but did log some.

K9DXA - 40M was a noisy mess until the last 1/2 hour when it started up! What a finish. But where were all the Skeeters? Periodic rain here, quite a bit of fun in the north woods. Back home now. Lots of fun again this year from Lac du Flambeau, WI on a bluff overlooking Long Lake. Thanks to all for another great Hunt. See ya next year! 72, Harry K9DXA

You put on a great show, Larry!

72, Harry K9DXA

NJ4Y - Thanks for another fun event!

KW4JS - Rigs used during the event were 20 and 40 meter 4 State Hilltoppers. The antenna used was a 44 ft doublet at 30 feet in the form of an inverted V.  For the activity I decided to include our 4 month old Great Pyrenees, Beau for his first field outing.  40 Meters was dead.  No skeeters buzzing there.  Ventured to 20 meters and found a swarm with faint buzzing.  I began to work skeeters by search and pounce.  I decided to take a break to hydrate and stretch my legs after working VE2DDZ Skeeter #2, 7th contact in my log.  The weather here in East Tennessee was very hot and humid.  As I began to walk away Beau and his long legs got tangled up in the feed line, head phone cable and audio cables going to my audio cw filter.  All the little boxes came off the table and scared Beau.  He ran across the yard dragging the station behind him.  It kinda reminded me of the classic wedding scene where the bride and groom are riding away in the sedan with the cans strung behind the car.    By the time I got him stopped and calmed down, I had several broken wires and my station was inoperable.  This ended the event for Beau and I.  I had a wonderful time working everyone I heard and thanks to those who pulled me out of the static.

John -  KW4JS
Skeeter #43

KK4LW - Not a great showing for my first time but I had a lot of fun with this event. I was only able to operate for 1.5 hours. I was not hearing many stations on 20 meters and was getting a lot of Static crashes from a storm about 30 miles west of my location on Hudson Beach, FL. I set up in a picnic shelter adjacent to the beach with the Buddipole antenna set up on the beach a few feet from the waters edge. I forgot my antenna analyzer at home and when tearing down found one of the counter poise wires had not been tightened. I’ll be double checking everything next time. I’m sure this didn’t help my results either. Other than that the FT 857 running at 10 watts, Wolfwave signal processor and LDG YT-100 worked flawlessly. I had several people stop by to see what I was doing and passed along information so they could learn more about Ham radio. One young man was very interested on getting involved do I gave him the contact info for the local club as well. I’m looking forward to next years event and will be fine tuning my setup to get the best performance possible out of my gear.

AA4XX - Fortunately the coastal NC weather was beautiful for this year's Skeeter Hunt. Band condx were not so hot on my end, as most stations that I worked were near the noise level on both 20M and 40M.
The exception was Gene, N5GW (MS), who was peaking 599 +20 around 1900z on 20M. 40M was a lot of fun toward the end of the contest, pulling out some really weak stations like KB2FCV (NJ) and NU1P (CT), who were hearing me a lot better than I was hearing them.

Thanks to W2LJ and the NJ QRP Club for sponsoring the annual Skeeter Hunts!
72, Paul  AA4XX

WF4I - I operated from Moores Knob in Hanging Rock State Park in north central NC.  I selected that location because it offered the highest elevation (2579 ft.) and the most prominence above surrounding terrain (1439 ft.) within a reasonable drive (~1.25 hours) from my home.  The areas around my home are only just over 800 ft. elevation.  It was a very nice location but definitely the wrong weather for the hike.  The heat and humidity just about did me in on the hike up the mountain.  I had to stop to several times to cool down.  Several of the younger hikers (40+ years younger) stopped to check on me and be certain that I had water – which, of course, I did.  I turned 69 just 5 days earlier.

I used my KX3 and an 88 ft. doublet with 300 ohm feedline.  The center of the antenna was up about 23 ft. on a telescopic mast.  I also used my PaIm Radio Mini-paddles on a leg mount.  I carried [email protected] A123 LiFePO4 2.5 Ah batteries but only needed to use one.  I logged with HamLog on my iPad Mini 4.

I operated on 40 and 20M CW.  My first contact was with Skip, N2EI, in NJ.  The biggest surprise was working one of my fellow KnightLites, Dick, N4HAY also in NC on 20M.  I would never have thought that could happen.  My only regret was not making a lot of SOTA contacts as this was a SOTA summit - W4C/EP-001 (2 pts.).

K0NE - Another great Skeeter Hunt is in the log. The best part was working the Chief Skeeter himself! Station was operated portable from a city park with a bit of a hill.

N7CQR - Myself (N7CQR) and Max K2MAX had a blast operating from Fishhawk Lake in NW Oregon. We had assistance from Nick KI7PTT and George KK7FM(who we hope will get on the air next year!). We combined this trip with a SOTA outing the previous day to Nicolai Mt in the Coast range (W7O/NC-013) which after a long drive on logging roads and a hike into the clouds was big fun, and a dry run for the hunt.

I set up my trusty NJQRP/N2CX gusher dipole for 20 M. I think I bought that back 15-20 years ago and still use it regularly with great success-hopefully Joe is smiling down on us when we deploy it! Max K2MAX has a cabin on Fishhawk Lake and it was a perfect place to set up our KX3 station. No surprise propagation was not great, but it gradually improved towards the end of the contest. Can’t wait until next year-in the meantime listen for us Oregonians! SOTA/POTA/ NAQRP/Foxhunts/Spartan Sprint-we try them all if possible! Thanks Larry for organizing this great event.

WB3T - Just one QSO! The band was dead most of the afternoon. But it was a good excuse to break out the portable equipment and GOTA. I worked WB3GCK (Nr 25) at 1811 Z on 7.038 MHz. That was it, I met more real skeeters than Skeeter ops! Equipment: K1 @ 4W, portable NVIS vertical with two counterpoises on the lawn.

KB2FCV - I had limited time this year due to other activities going on, so I setup again in my back yard, which happens to be right on the skeeter infested river bank of the Passaic River. Weather was warm but nice and my daughter and her dollies joined in for the fun. Rig was my Elecraft KX-1 and antenna was a 28 foot longwire tossed up in the trees with some mason's twine. Looking forward to next year!

James KB2FCV

VE2DDZ - I went to a SOTA peak (VE2/LR-106) near Mont Tremblant, QC for this year's Skeeter Hunt.  I had planned to be on the air at 1600z which would have given me an hour for a quick SOTA activation before the Skeeter Hunt, but it was not to be.  A distraction on the drive to the trail head combined with a huge traffic hold-up from an Ironman event put me quite late at the trail head.  When I finally did got there I found a paper announcing a bear in the area, I didn't notice until I was back home reviewing my photos that the announcement was from fall 2018.  I headed out to the summit anyway, but all-in-all I was 90 minutes late on the air.  That meant I was juggling alternating SOTA callers and Skeeter Hunt callers for the first part of the afternoon.  Good fun, but a little challenging for me - I still consider myself a beginner as a CW op.

I worked totally CW for about three hours and had good success on 40 and 20m with a KX3 to a 44 foot doublet up about 20 feet.  I tried 15m, but no luck there.  I worked Skeeters as far as TX, QRP into CO, even some SOTA DX into Portugal, Sweden, and Spain (non-Skeeter).  And it was a gorgeous day, there were only a few real skeeters unlike earlier in the summer when the bugs were voracious. I was set-up by the side of the trail and had a number of conversations about radio with hikers passing by.

I had a great time on and off the air.  Thanks very much to NJQRP and Larry.  CU next year.

Malcolm VE2DDZ

KB1ZHU - All contacts made with TenTec Eagle @ 10 watts, using 85' sloping end fed antenna.

Got set up in the AM, and during the pre game warm up made twice as many contacts in half the time as the Skeeter Hunt.  Noticed that it took longer and longer to make contacts as the day progressed.  Still, I wouldn't trade lousy conditions for the best day at work (hi hi).  Oh well, next year can only get better.

72(3), 18   Don,  KB1ZHU

VE3EDX - Was pleased to work you for my first contact. Thanks for all your work in organizing this event. 72, Mike VE3EDX

VE9BEL - This was my first participation in the hunt. I had a great afternoon. My setup was at a park near my home. My Rig was an FT-817 running at 5W and it was powered by an SLA battery. The antenna was a Buddistick vertical with a long whip mounted on a park bench. My key was a Palm Pico single paddle used as a finger tap key.


N5NAA - KX2, SOTABeams linked dipole and mast, Bioenno battery, Palm paddle

102℉ in the shade. Eventually the KX2 seemed to be throttling back on power in the middle of a QSO (or maybe it was just QSB) - sorry for all the repeats Myron. I ended up putting the radio into the cooler every few minutes.

Still fun, though! Radio in the outdoors always is.

Loudest here: N0SS, N9CW

WG8Y - Worked the Skeeter Hunt from the backyard this year. My wife is still ill & I must stay close for her. I set up my 817 & gel. Used a jacktite pole & HB low power 10-40 OCF at 25ft.  I set up under a small Maple to stay out of the sun. That was gud for app 2 hours when I got chased off by a thunderstorm! Didn't break my heart! It was  90F + but no Skeeters bites Too hot for them Hi Hi. Liked to have worked more &  sorry, no pics. Had my Skeeter sign ready but when it started raining any thoughts of pictures was gone.

 Mark WG8Y

VE3LFN - Family medical issues kept me close to home this year. This year was the first operated from my backyard. Despite band condx it was still a lot of fun as usual.

72 until next year

N2APB - It was a HOT 94-deg afternoon by the water's edge on Tellico Lake outside
Knoxville, TN.  Kids were kayaking, families were grilling in the pavilion right behind K0RGI and me (N2APB), and we were having a devil of a time electrifying the ionosphere with our QRP signals.  Nevertheless we had a great time looking for BZZ on the bands ... and for adult refreshments at the local restaurant bar afterwards!  Thanks to all for the great time, and to Larry for the great organizing of this annual event!

VE3DQN - The setting was idyllic:  on an island in the Big Rideau Lake, gentle cool breeze, loons lounging just off the shore--I could hear them calling when the earbuds weren't blocking my ears, hi! Plenty of signals active in the Hunt on 20m and 40m to keep up interest. Used my FT-817 on battery power and an 80m OFC dipole up 30ft at the apex. The Perseverance Trophy goes to Myron WV0H in Colorado for staying with my pipsqueak signal for 10+ minutes to get all the data accurately. This is the first time I've ever received an initial RST 119 and the operator persevered until he got the full exchange, instead of giving up after two tries. Bravo Myron!! He should be awarded 30 points for that QSO!

K1OJ - Heat index 100+ here in Texas but no storms. Bands were not kind. My partner Mario Monaco, KI5CEA gave it his all on ssb but only 1 contact. Fun time none the less and looking forward to next year! Thank you! BZZZZZZZ!

Editors Note: - K1OJ and KI5CEA win the Special Prize for the most ingenious display of the Skeeter Hunt logo. While the Skeeter they chose is the older logo - anyone who would don a Skeeter mask and wings in 100+ degree heat deserves special recognition!

W2LJ - When I woke up it was pretty dark and gloomy. As I showered and changed to get ready to head out to Church services, I was thinking that I would probably set up in the backyard, under the patio umbrella, as it looked like rain. Lo and behold, halfway through Mass, the sun poured through the stained glass windows! It was turning out to be a decent day, after all.

I came home for a light breakfast, printed out a Skeeter logo and got everything else ready. At Noon, I headed out for Cotton Street park in town, which is only about 1/4 mile or so from my house. The trees are tall and there's plenty of open space, certainly enough for this new-to-me MFJ-1982LP that I purchased.  (That goes against my grain, but I was intrigued enough by the YouTube videos on it.)

MFJ recommends installing the antenna as an Inverted Vee, with both ends tied off close to the ground, and the apex as high as you can get it. I brought my antenna launcher and got a line shot over a limb at the 40 foot or so level on the first try.  The antenna is made of that "silky" type wire which pulled through the leaves like a hot knife through butter. The thing that took me the longest was untangling the antenna out of the package. I'm not sure whether it was the way I took it apart, or the way it was coiled and inserted into the package, but I managed to untangle it in relatively short order - short enough where frustration didn't get a hold on me.
Of course, when you take a picture of your wire antenna installation, it never photographs well unless the wire is against the sky.  For illustration purposes, I provided the yellow lines to make it easier to see how the antenna was configured. The apex is out of the top frame of the photo. It was up pretty high.

I got set up with about a good 15 minutes to spare, so I decided to do a little investigating. One of the parts of the video that intrigued me was how low the SWR was across all the bands. I took the KX3's autotuner out of the loop and test transmitted at all the QRP Watering Hole frequencies on 80, 40, 20, 17 and 15 Meters. In each case, the KX3 measured an SWR of 1.4:1 or better. 80 Meters was actually 1.2:1. I was impressed - cautiously impressed. After all, a dummy load has a perfect SWR, right?  Time was fast approaching to see how well it radiated some RF energy.

The weather stayed nice for the Hunt. My little Realistic travel alarm has a built in thermometer, which read the ambient temperature as 90F (32C), but in the shade and an occasional breeze, it was comfortable enough. Mosquitoes weren't a problem for me, but the gnats were. Tiny little critters that you can barely see, flying right into your face. Ugh! But after settling down into the operating chair and cooling off after the job of setting up, they went away. They must be attracted to body heat or sweat or something. Luckily they were not a problem, or a distraction during the Sprint.

When 1700 UTC came around, the bands came alive - at least 20 Meters came alive. I was working stations at a pretty good clip and then after the first hour, activity seemed to die off some. I spent the rest of my time jumping between 40 and 20 Meters, alternately calling CQ and hunting and pouncing.

Around 4:15 PM (2015 UTC) the skies started turning that heavy lead gray color that tells you that thunder and lightning are on the way.  It was then that I pulled the plug and started to tear down. I hadn't worked anyone new in about 15 minutes anyway, so it seemed as good a time as any to head home. Tear down was a breeze and I was packed up and ready to go in minutes.

In all, I made 24 contacts. 22 were Skeeters and the other two were 5W stations. 15 S/P/C's were logged. I was a bit disappointed with propagation.  Before the Hunt started, I had set a personal goal of working 40 stations. With 210 Skeeters signed up, I thought that was a reachable and reasonable goal. The Propagation Princess slapped me upside the head, "You silly Ham, you!", she whispered in my ear.  I didn't have the pipelines that I normally have into New England and Virginia and the Carolinas.

QSB was tough with stations being 579 or better upon the start of a contact to going down to 339 or worse by the end of the contact. I did work everybody that I was able to hear with the exception of two stations - one of them being Dave NE5DL down in Texas. I tried calling him several times, but no joy.

Drew K9CW gets the distinction of being the loudest station that I heard all day - he was 599+ from Illinois. Jerry N9AW and Rick NK9G were close seconds. When I heard them not quite as loud as I usually hear them, i knew that propagation was off. I did work two stations on both 40 and 20 Meters - Bob W3BBO and  Steve VE3LFN. Malcolm VE2DDZ was a two-fer in that I worked him as a Skeeter and also as a SOTA peak. My best DX was Blaine, K0NE in Nebraska.
Two things I should have done, but didn't - hindsight being 20/20, after all.

1)  I should have brought my lightning detector with me. I left it home on the counter that it normally sits on. I probably might have stayed longer, even with the leaden sky if I was sure there was no lightning in the area.

2) I should have also set up my PAR ENDFEDZ  for a little "A to B" comparison. That would have provided me with some valuable information. Of course, I thought of this as I was driving the short distance home. Maybe I'll do this for the Peanut Power Sprint, which comes up soon.

Again, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who participated, as well as the NJQRP organization for sponsoring this event. It would not be the success that it is without all of you out there. For that, I am eternally grateful!

72 de Larry W2LJ

Epilogue - As I had stated before the 2019 NJQRP Skeeter Hunt, this year's Sprint was dedicated to the memories of three exceptional QRPers who passed away since the last dits and dahs of the 2018 contest were heard. Within months, we were shocked and saddened by the deaths of Ken WA8REI, Hank N8XX and Joe N2CX.  These gentlemen were "QRP'ers QRP'ers". They always had a friendly word or a timely tip to share with their fellow Hams. Heaven's gain is our loss. May they rest in peace.