FD 98.....what a time!

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From: Rick Arland (k7sz@juno.com)
Date: Sun Jun 28 1998 - 18:01:28 EDT


Hi Gang:

Just returned from the Wyoming Valley QRP Commandos' FD site at Francis
Slocum State Park in NE Penna. The Commandos kicked some serious butt in
the 2A-Battery class..

854 Qs total.

501 Qs on SSB

300 Qs on CW

53 Qs on 6 meters

Our best ever showing!!

Those in attendance were: Rich, K7SZ, Fran, KA3WTF, Mike, KL0KV, Jay,
N3WWL, Dave, N3PBV, Lou, KA3ICD, Joe, WA3WMI, Paul, KA3JZS, Dean, N2TNN
and his son, Nick and Rich's wife, Tricia.

Lou and Joe were advanced party and secured the FD campsites on Thursday
evening. They also provided Commando Power and Light with a slew of deep
cycle batteries and an inverter to power an AC supply for one computer.

Friday evening we set up tents and the screen room. Saturday about 8 AM
Fran and Mike arrived (Lou and I and Tricia had stayed at the site
overnight in campers) and we started erecting antennas. The Radio Works
Carolina Windom went up facing N-S at about 55 feet. The Radio Works
Superloop, with it's brand new balun, was strung out on the ground ready
to go up facing E-W when Dean and Nick arrived from New Jersey.....

Dean promptly ran over the new Superloop balun with one wheel of his
Suburban....we now know that these baluns are not stressed for steel
belted radials! The defective balun is being retuned to Jim
Thompson....in a baggie....with an explanation! Since Dean is also a
KnightLite, we have nicked named him "Sir Dean, the Balun Slayer"! (Don't
worry, Dean....you won't ever live this down.....)

Actually Dean did us a favor....we put the old balun from a Radio Works
BigSig Loop on in its place and proceeded to raise the loop antenna. Both
these antennas played extremely well, as witnessed by our outstanding
scores.

This year we upgraded the 6 meter station....Argosy-II driving an T-T
1208 transverter, feeding a 3 element MFJ beam at 20 feet. All day
Saturday and until about 9 AM on Sunday 6 was flatter than last night's
beer. Then suddenly the band opened up....wide up! I managed a total of
53 Qs on this band, which was about a thousand percent better than last
year. About 1630 Z Sunday 6 snapped shut and I dismantled the station.

Mike, KL0KV, made 400 Qs single handedly on the phone station. Fran,
Dave and I accounted for the other 101 Qs on phone. Fran and Dean along
with Jay and Paul cranked out the 300 Qs on the CW station. I did some
logging duties on the CW station, but lacking QRP Bob and his "I'm going
to fall off this chair" comic relief routine....it was rather ho-hum.
This year we actually had enough operators to fill all the time slots.

In our "after the FD debriefing" we all felt that our showing this year
was stellar. All our gear worked great, even the little Toshiba 1000
series laptops we used for logging (they are slow but sure). Aside from
one dead balun (courtesy of Sir Dean, the Balun Slayer) the only other
causality was Fran....his back went out on him late Saturday night. He
tried sleeping in his car and then in a tent, and finally decided to go
home to try a hot shower and real bed......he drove the 15 miles home
only to find he was locked out of his house! Back he came....grouchy but
ready to make some more CW Qs.....what a trooper! A hand full of
percadan and a six pack of Miller Lite and he was fine! Of course, he now
wants to join a commune in California, wear a do-rag, and learn Yoga
.....hey, you gotta take a few hits in a big operation.

Dean's son, Nick is now studying for his license....so next year, the
Commandos may have a novice station on the air....Tricia is working on
her license too.....hey, a new excuse to buy radios!

Bottom line: we had loads of fun...had the best showing ever, anyone who
showed up got to work a station, and we are now talking about
improvements for next year. God, I love this hobby!

73 rich K7SZ
Wyoming Valley QRP Commandos, Leader of the Pack.

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