by William Eric McFadden



Four members of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team traveled to Rock House in the Hocking Hills State Park for the 2005 Adventure Radio Society's 2005 Flight of the Bumblebees. Participants were Mike Hansgen, AA8EB; John McCutcheon, N8XWO; Eric McFadden, WD8RIF; and Tom Witherspoon, KF4TZK. Tom drove up from his Ashville, NC QTH just for this event.

The four intrepid Radio Adventurers parked their cars near the chosen operating location. Mike, Eric, and Tom hiked both the upper and lower trail loops past the Rock House formation while carrying complete stations. The paths were short but were quite challenging vertically, making the hike somewhat strenuous. Mike carried his Ten-Tec Scout station and battery, while Eric carried his ICOM IC-706 station and battery.

Eric erected his version of the 44' NorCal doublet using the 20' Black Widow for support. Mike, John, and Tom hung Mike's ladderline-fed 100'-ish doublet from a handy tree. Eric set up both his QRP Station in a Bag and his ICOM IC-706 station. Mike set up his Ten-Tec Scout station.

Both Mike and Eric had registered for Bumblebee numbers prior to the event. Mike operated as Bumblebee #90 and Eric operated as Bumblebee #58. Mike and Eric took turns operating on 20m and 40m. Eric made twenty QSOs. Most of his QSOs were made with his IC-706 station, but several were made with Mike's Scout. Mike made nine QSOs, all of which were made with his Scout. Neither John nor Tom operated but both practiced copying CW and helped with logging while Mike and Eric operated.

The chosen operating location at Rock House worked very well. The trees provided good protection from the bright sun while also providing for antenna support. The site also put the operations into the public eye--on two occasions attractive women approached the RATs to inquire about the operation. (The author can not remember this happening at previous operations.) John suggested that this location would make a good Field Day location.

Since having trouble tuning the 44' doublet on 40m with the LDG AT100Pro tuner during the "Great Colorado Gold Rush" event, Eric experimented with both the LDG Z-11 and AT-100Pro tuners and both the LDG and homemade baluns. He found that the AT100Pro would not tune the 44' doublet on 40m while using the LDG balun but would tune it with the homemade balun. The AT100Pro would not tune the antenna on 80m with either balun. The Z-11 tuned both 40m and 80m with the homemade balun.

At the conclusion of the event, it was agreed that a good time was had by all.

(See more photos by KF4TZK.)