W1OH Freeze Your B___ Off 2008 from Cape Cod, MA

This year, I operated FYBO from my car while parked at Sandy Neck Beach in Barnstable, MA (on Cape Cod a few miles from home). 


Sandy Neck Beach looking northwest towards Plymouth, MA

The rig was my new K2/QRP finished a few weeks ago on Christmas Eve. Antennas were 40M, 20M, and 15M Hamsticks.  Paddle was a Code Warrior Jr. perched on my right knee.  Power was one of those 10AH jump-start packs you can buy at WalMart.  With the windows open the first hour, temps were in the mid-40s; then the wind came up, and a bit of blowing sand, so I was a little warmer after rolling up the windows most of the way!   I didn't get going until 1600z as my 5 year old grand-daughter called from the local Border's bookstore and asked if Grandma and Grandpa would meet her there for reading and a snack in the coffee shop!

I started on 20M and immediately worked N4BP with a very strong signal here on Cape Cod.  20M sounded pretty good with lots of activity, though mostly not FYBO stations, and too many signals piled on top of one another at 14060.  Receive conditions were GREAT compared to my usual condo-bound, indoor antenna situation.  Over the next hour and a quarter, I worked several stations, both S&P and in response to a few CQs.  G3RSP, Alan called at one point for my only DX contact. Later I ran across a lonely NQ7RP for a 10K bonus!  And then, there was KK6MC, weak but readable from New Mexico.  A few minutes later, just after 1700z, I made my first try on 15M, and there was KK6MC again - in the end, my only 15M contact.  Come on, guys!  NM to Cape Cod on 15M with 5W and a Hamstick on my end!  Ya gotta get on the band to use that propagation!  My last 20M contact of my first session was with W0RW/pm at 12000 feet on Pike's Peak!  I was at about 10 feet above sea level - is there a multiplier for vertical differential?!

After a break for lunch at home, I returned to Sandy neck Beach and resumed operating around 1845z.  I worked several more folks on 20M, then gave 40M a shot near 2000z.  Wow!  RTTY and FOC all over the bottom of the band!  I managed only one contact on 40M with W2KJ before heading back to 20M for three more contacts.  I wrapped it up at about 2045z and headed for home.

One interesting note - several times I could copy K0ZK from ME on 20M, usually at least as strong as NQ7RP or KK6MC.  I tried calling several different times without any luck.  I wonder what form of propagation got that signal from Maine to the shore of Cape Cod facing north in Barnstable?  Some sort of backscatter, perhaps?

FYBO 2008 for my 3.5 hours of operating time was a lot of fun.  I only made 16 contacts, with 13 SPC multipliers, but bright blue skies, temps in the 40s, and a spot facing north so the sun wasn't blinding made for a great day!  Only put a couple of pounds of beach sand into the car running in and out to swap Hamsticks for band changes!  The K2 performed flawlessly and was a joy to operate! Do we really have to wait a whole year for FYBO 2009?!

 

For info on the FYBO contests, see the Arizona ScQRPions website under Operating Events.


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- last update: 29 Jan 2008