Skeeter Hunt Soapbox 2020 - Page 2

N8HZM - Yaesu FT818. External battery. 30' end fed sloper. All contacts on 40 meters. 20 meters too noisy for me today.  Not many contacts for time spent. Hard to say why.

N0EAX - I only had two contacts (6 points), both within a few miles from here, N0SS (#73) and N0JBF (#139).  Both contacts were on 20 meters.  I must be working on my Worked All Missouri Counties Award.  I was operating from home but would have been better off getting out portable as I noticed an infinite SWR and very low output power after finishing up with the second contact.  Time to take down the antenna and figure things out. 
As always, thanks for all of your efforts,

Rich Glassner N0EAX (Skeeter #126)
Jefferson City, Mo.

K9DRP - Didn't get to the park this year as duties in the hayfield got in the way.  Also shortened my operating time.  With as many skeeter numbers issued, I was expecting to hear a lot more signals. Propagation
seemed poor here, and I'm sure I gave (and received) a lot of generous 559 reports. But it was fun and I'll be back next year!
Don, K9DRP

KC2WUF - QSB was strong on 40m and never heard any activity on the other bands although I had to quit early. Maybe next year will be better. 73 David KC2WUF

K2WO -  I operated backyard portable this year.  Tough going on 20 meters with LOTS of QSB.  Only one contact on 40.  Had lots of fun as usual.  Thanks for hosting this event!


KF6C - Used paddle for first time on the air in years. Should have allowed more time for setup. Appreciate patience of stations worked. Used a Pacific Antenna 20/40 meter trap kit as inverted V, a little disappointed in its performance. Maybe it was to close to tennis court. Unable to work full contest had to make last minute antenna adjustments to get swr down and had an unexpected visitor (safe family) towards the end.
73 Brian KF6C.

WF4I - Nice day to operate outside from my deck.  Partially cloudy with temps in low to mid-70s.  Propagation wasn’t great but not as bad as for some other QRP contests I’ve done within the past year.  I used my kit-built KX3 with a 2.5 Ah LiFePO4 battery, a Super CMOS III keyer and an N0SA SSP (Super Small Paddle).  My antenna was a 58 ft. aerial up about 15 ft. on the end with a 62 ft. counterpoise both attached to a male BNC to dual banana adapter.  I operated on both 40 & 20M CW with one SSB contact with David, N2PQW, in NJ.  I also listened briefly on both 80 & 15M but didn’t hear anyone.  My first contact was Craig, WB3GCK, in PA and my last contact was Rick, NK9G, in WI.

As always, I had a great time and I look forward to next year with NO COVID-19 and much better propagation.

Derek WF4I
Pleasant Garden, NC

AF3Z - My first Skeeter Hunt was memorable, and I hope I wasn’t an annoying skeeter! I made 7 QSOs in 3 hours**… using my rock-bound Lil’ Squall txcvr from QRPMe putting out about 550 mw into an end-fed halfway inverted U shape with the top about 20 feet up. I used one xtal the whole time. So, I couldn’t change frequency… and I couldn’t hear well… I hope I wasn’t creating a lot of QRM! If so, I apologize!

I was almost totally ‘homebrew’ except for the AGM lead-acid 2ah battery: my drawer handle “knee-slapper” key (made for a recent SKCC home-brew key WES); an LED SWR indicator; toroid and Variable Cap matching network; EFHW; and the Lil’ Squall with added slightly variable receive offset (outboard variable cap), volume, RC audio filter, and sidetone.

The Lil’ Squall’s rcvr was quite a challenge, as was 550 mw. The rcvr may have been the most limiting factor. The RSTs given out were totally a relative guess ;-). Interesting: my QSOs varied only from 367 to 319 miles: New England, North Carolina, and Ontario. Thanks and 72! AF3Z ** 1 QSO was a dupe, but at my rate, the dupe was much appreciated as well!

AI9IN - First Skeeter Hunt in a while. Propagation was not good, but still had a good time hunting signals or calling "CQ BZZ". Most QSOs on 40 m, with just one 20 m. Rig is YouKits HB-1B with 4 watts to an end-fed wire. Key is a Vibroplex Vibrokeyer wired as a sideswiper (cootie).

NN9K - As usual a well organized event that I look forward to every year. A very pleasant day with mid-80 degree temperatures and a nice breeze from the north kept the non-RF skeeters away. Lots of participation and from northwestern Illinois propagation was pretty pretty good. Single band operation on 20-meters using an 9 foot vertical antenna that was built from Hustler and Buddipole parts and mounted on my van. CU next year!
Peter, NN9K

WB7GR - 2020 Skeeter hunt was my FIRST endeavor into QRP ops.  I didn't make many Q's but I did have a lot of fun with my IC-7300, homebrew 20M vertical and straight key.  Thanks to NJQRP for making it simple and easy for a beginner.  I look forward to the 2021 Skeeter Hunt. - 72, de WB7GR

Greg Rix, WB7GR

K2QPN - Cloudy and rainy day in NJ. Wonderful day for mosquitoes. Put up the doublet in the rain. Should have done it on sunny Saturday. Set up a PFR-3 - soldered with my own hands. Bands seemed too quiet. Something is wrong. Should have tested yesterday. Moved to the KX3 - also a kit. Now working.
73, Bob K2QPN

NE5DL - 100 degs for 4 hours in the backyard for 17 contacts. Portable setup in that temp is getting a bit much for an old geezer nowadays. 3 poles supporting 88ft doublet with homebrew ladder line, had some 4" spacers from Sotabeams and finally got round to using them. Disappointing performance, many callers I just couldn't pick out in the noise. KX3/PX3 4 aH LFP battery. Check out the video on the Skeeter Hunt Facebook page. All my Qs were short skip, in fact, half of my contacts were with MO.....strange. None for far N/S/W states at all. Skip or antenna performance ? I did hear Brazil on 15M but didn't try a call, probably would have gone via MO, hihi. 
Got to simplify the antenna next year.

KR9Z - Rig was 5Watt PFR-3  Antenna was a Hustler Mobile Antenna mounted on a picnic table umbrella stand setting on grd with 4 radials...Rig battery powered...Band Conditions TERRIBLE...but it was fun but I couldn't work my brother in MO  AB0MO #252. Thanks Larry for all your effort See ya next year... 72 de Bob Z   KR9Z

N5BI - I was on the air doing S&P with no luck all day..It was fun though. Could hear weak signals here in central ga, but no joy this time. Thanks to Larry for his hard work in making sure we all had skeeter numbers, and all others who helped put this together. Looking forward to next year. Conditions should be improved for qrp.. 73 all, Gary N5BI .

AA4W - Started out with marginal to sad propagation and went downhill from there. Heard a couple stations from PA through the whole afternoon. Path seemed to be mostly north from Florida to PA, IL, IN and MO with a stray every now and then. I did work a few old friends along the way and was surprised to work Steve, WG0AT, in CO. About half way through I was called by a YV5 station in Caracas! Then about 5 minutes later I worked another station from there. I can only think that the first one called a buddy and told him there was a US nut running 5 watts on 20 meters!  Both gave me 339 reports. Thanks to all who participated. Thanks Larry. See you next year.. Rick AA4W

W0TG - The 110 degree heat, pandemic, and setting up solo kept me close to home this time. Don’t know if it was my marginal antenna or band conditions, but didn’t hear as many folks this year and most signals were pretty weak, but still it was lots of fun. N5GW, N0SS and W4RK had great signals the whole period.

K4UPG - Once again weather cut my time very short. After carefully checking the weather-guessers forecasts I chose to go high as I could get my homebrew segmented dipole for 40-30-20 meter work.  I figured as soft as the bands seemed Sunday morning, I would need all the height I could get down at my lakeside setup. I was 15 min late in setup so started at 1:15 EDT on 40m and it was noisy and only 2 too weak to copy stations heard. That meant dropping the antenna to shift to 20m which was a bit better. More time lost. I got back into action and made a five contacts in 4 states before I was surprised by lightning strick and huge thunder clap at 2:20. My smart phone wx app has a lightning alarm if lightning is within 8 miles. I live in a country club complex with lightning sirens that I can hear from my operating location. However, this was the first strike so not much warning. I don't think I've ever pulled down my antenna and packed up so fast, despite taking the lightning position and ducking from repeated flashes. Too close for comfort. About 20 minutes after I got home it poured rain for a bit and slowly cleared up about 4:40 PM EDT... If I was a real contester, I might have shifted to my EFHW antennas and tried to make a couple more. But glad to give some QSO points to W0ITT, N0SS, N3AQC, N5HCW, and NN9K who had the strongest sig all day. N5HCW was my last contact and was in midst of connecting when lightning started. Hard to send when your hands are shaking and heart is racing. My apologies that my keying was a bit odd Clyde! YIKES! Didn't get any photos but did screenshot my phone app after I got home to show our storm.

Love this event, despite being scheduled in peak thunderstorm season for Central FL which is the lightning capitol of the world. Glad to get out and hear some familiar callsigns. Sorry I didn't get to connect with some fellow Polar Bears that were out. Maybe next year will be better wx. Thanks for the efforts and time you put into this one Larry and NJQRP Club.

Grrrrr and 72, K4UPG

VE9BEL - I completely forgot about the event. when I heard CQ CQ BZZ I decided to make a few QSO’s. It was a lot of fun! Running my FT-817 at 5W with a SLAB battery and a 40W solar panel. The antenna was a Buddistick vertical antenna.  73

AD4S - What fun.. still really noisy at my lake place.  I did operate in my back yard but I used my KX1 that I built around 2004 at 4.5 Watts and a HB OCF antenna.

K4VIG - Enjoyed the brief time I had to operate.  Conditions were not too bad, but some heavy QSB at times. 73,  Gary

AD4TA - Thanks for a fun event especially for a CW newby! Especially thanks to
those Ops that heard me sending with my left foot and it in a cast (Hi
Hi) and immediately slowed down for me. All the Ops I contacted made it
a very enjoyable event.
Attached is a picture of the QRPLabs QCX 40m 5w rig I used. Fantastic
little radio.

Thanks again es 72,

Tim - AD4TA

WA5BDU - Woo-hoo!!

I used my ATS-3 for the first time in years since it was home built. Great little rig. Homebrew antenna is an 88' dipole fed with window line via a Johnson Matchbox. Worked 20 meters only,. Fun activity!

Nick, WA5BDU

N0SS - 2020 Skeeter Hunt, in spite of everything else in this star-crossed year, came off in fine fashion for the Mid-MO ARC (Jefferson City, Missouri) despite having to work around last minute glitches.  It should be noted that the club registered no less than 13 individual CW Skeeters.  Unfortunately, my multi-op buddy, W4RK, had responsibilities that kept him home this year, so NěSS (the club's memorial call sign) ended up a single op station.  Secondly, our favored field location in Westphalia, Missouri, some 22 miles away, was unavailable, thus (in deference to local Covid suggestions) I put NěSS on the air from my basement using a hastily erected home-brew doublet fed with home-brewed 600-ohm open-wire line, and my battery-powered KX3 (kit).  It was a fun four hours (as usual) with surprisingly good conditions that netted 72 contacts in 26 states/provinces (78% on 20 meters, 22% on 40 meters).  Kudos to Larry for the biggest turn-out yet.  See everyone next year!  72/73, Kent Trimble, K9ZTV.

NK8G - This is the first time I have participated in the NJ Skeeter Hunt! I enjoy operating QRP in the outdoors so this seems like a natural event for me. While I generally operate solo, I occasionally think about inviting others to go along for the fun as well, but usually not until the night before, but this time I invited Mark, K0LO, to join me a couple of weeks in advance as he had gone along on several of the SOTAdventures that I had done in the past couple of years. Mark has a great ear and enjoys logging while I get to be the "Master and Commander" of the radio. BTW, his logging style is handwriting par excellence as you can see in an example log photo attached.

As I had recently completed the Mountain Goat achievement for SOTA (on March 14th just as the COVID-19 pandemic was ramping up) I didn't really feel like doing a serious hiking effort to get to a nice place to operate, although there are many summits that were reasonable drive-ups. I've found plenty of places along the way that have a great view that are not at at summit that deserve some RF Cool Wave love as well, so I picked a place near Spruce Creek, PA, about a half hour drive from home, on a ridge in Rothrock State Forest. There is a beautiful overlook with a parking area along the State Forest road that is about 2000' ASL and 1000' above the valley below. A bit farther to the west is a short hiking trail to another beautiful overlook called Indian Lookout at about 1500' ASL. The place I selected to operate from, however, was a bit farther west, also at 1500' ASL, at Campsite #2 which gave us a nice picnic table to operate from and the trees were a bit more sparsely populated so that we could stretch out one of the longer dipolish (that is, dipole-like not like two people like Larry Makoski, although it did take two of us to get it hung up properly). The campsite also had a nice overlook.

I try to maximize on multipliers for these sort of events so instead of taking my Elecraft KX3 along I decided to take the as-of-late less used Elecraft K2 that I had built between 15 and 20 years ago. It was my primary radio for many years but after purchasing the KX3 and getting more comfortable with that radio and realizing it seemed to be pretty good to use for contesting as well the K2 sort of just got set off to the side and not used much. As I pretty much solely do portable operation since I don't have a hamshack at home the K2 has been in a storage/carry case, but Sunday was a good day to "air it out a bit" and it performed well! The antennas we used were homebrew also for the bonus points. The first we put up was a QRP version of the W5GI Mystery Antenna which gave us gain on 20m in selected directions as it operates as a 3/2 wavelength colinear dipole. Yes, 20m was our best band for sure with 24 of the 36 logged contacts on that band! It also is a bit short of being a half-wavelength on 80m but can be tuned there okay however I did not get any response to my calls of CQ BZZ DE NK8Q on 80m. As the K2 has all the options I also installed a second antenna, one that I often use for SOTAdventures with my MTR3B, a 40/30/20m linked EFHWA (a single link for 30m as the 40m length when the link is made is a full-wavelength on 20m so works fine on that band too). The antenna was installed as a sloper going away from the Mystery Antenna. We managed 12 QSOs on 40m, mostly around 7.040 and not so much activity around 7.030.

It rained the night before but the good Lord smiled down on us and we had fair skies for operating with no need to put up a push-up canopy over our fairly private picnic bench. We got a 40 minute late start due to the time we spent putting up antennas and then after our first 4 QSOs we had a 45 minute lunch break. Total operating time was 2-1/2 hours. While propagation wasn't great, we had a very relaxing and enjoyable afternoon out in Penns Woods. The location may be a new favorite spot for me for similar events when I just want to relax and enjoy operating from a beautiful location! See you again next year. I've been bit by the Skeeter bug! Maybe next year I can convince a few others from the local ham club to join me and we could have a Multi-Multi operation going!

73 de Mark, NK8Q & Mark, K0LO

AF4NC - I had a lot of fun.    It was raining at Core Creek Park when Roy KB3LNP was sitting up.   We found a pavilion not being used he was at one end I set up at the other end.  My KX3 was performed beautifully.   My XYL brought me a sandwich for snack!   Already looking forward to next year!    Thanks for a great event!

Tom Mills AF4NC

WA1GWH - There was quite a bit of QSB with some stations varying from strong down to difficult copy in a short time.

I worked 40M only and am very pleased to have worked way out to WI twice from here near Syracuse, NY.  Both contacts were in the last hour or so.

Attached are small and large file photos of the setup I used.  The rig runs about 4W and my antenna is a 40M dipole at 15 feet.




AD0YM - I did better than last year, which was my main goal.  I had a total of 22 QSOs from 12 S/P/Cs (PA, MS, MO, GA, IN, CO, WY, TX, ID, OK, NM, and QC).  All were on 20 meters.  I got distracted working some SOTA activator pile-ups which used up some valuable Skeeter time.  (Note for self: next year, stay on task.)  I was pleased to work four of my fellow Mid-MO Amateur radio club members.  Some of the Skeeters were familiar calls, but many were new to my log.  The bonus, include a homebrew antenna, was an interesting challenge.  I raised a linked dipole for this occasion.  Ironically, my past Skeeter Hunt favorite  antenna, an OCF dipole, was commercial made but was the model for the homebrew version serving my home station.  Not the first time I have been out of phase.  I have not had much extracurricular activity during the pandemic.  This was a nice distraction.  Fun event!  Great interest and participation.  Many thanks to the organizers.  Hope to play again next year. 

72, Mike - AD0YM

NN0JS - First time participant. Spent time getting organized. Part of the bunch from Mid-MO Amateur Radio Club in Jefferson City, MO. Great experience and had fun. Great to be outside in good weather. Will be more productive next year since I have idea what this is like. 73 Jerry NNěJS

KD0V -I decided to try operating on 40M this year. I have not used my home brew 40M short folded dipole in a while, because the difficulty of getting it high enough in the air. Last year I purchase a sling shot line launcher. On the third try I had a line over a branch 40 feet in the air. I have never had the antenna that high up, it has usually been at 20 feet at best. WOW! It really worked well considering the current state of the ham bands. The first two hours were not to bad. By the third hour I was getting tired. During the fourth hour thunder stormer were starting up in the mid-west and the noise was peaking at S9 making copy difficult considering signal were S2 to S5, so I called it a day. No mosquitoes around this year, but we had plenty of biting flies. I am not sure which are the worse of the two. The radio used this year was my Elecraft K2 and I used two keys a 1953 Vibroplex Blue Race and a 2019 Begali Blade. I had them wired in parallel. I had a 5W foldable solar panel to maintain charge on the battery. It is always nice when everything work as expected.  I am looking forward to August 15, 2021, the next Skeeter Hunt. 73’s Merlin

W8CDC - I know its not much, but I am new to CW contesting and it is hard for my 75 year old brain to get with it.  The rig is a QCX for 40 meters which I built, and the antenna is a G5RV which I homebrewed from the old QST article. Thanks again Larry. Tony W8CDC

W1ND - Honestly, I don’t care about the score.  I had a lot of fun working in the field (literally a soccer field) with my NorCal Doublet that I made a few years back out of ribbon cable and a HB 4:1 Balun.  The Doublet was strung up in my 31’ Jackite pole.  I used my KX2 with a 4 Ah Bioenno pack.  Logging done with my super technical mini Field Notes book that fits nicely in my KX2 bag.

My whole station (sans the Jackite pole) fits in a small backpack. I hope to do this next year, but I suspect it will fall on the 15th of August, which is my wife’s birthday, so I might have other plans.