Two members of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team participated in the 1998 NJ/LI Doghouse Operation Sprint from the campground at Strouds Run State Park in Athens, Ohio. The participants were Mike Hansgen, AA8EB, and Eric McFadden, WD8RIF.
This is the first time the pair operated this event. Even though this event isn't necessarily intended to be a to-the-field type of event, Mike and Eric chose to operate outdoors. Because of weather concerns--the forecast called for snow flurries--the pair set up Eric's tent.
However, the weather was cooperative. Once the sun rose above the surrounding ridges, temperatures climbed into the forties. Winds remained fairly calm and no snow fell. The tent was sufficient shelter against the coolness.
The location in the campground proved to be wonderful for antenna support. The trees were tall and well separated and well situated.
Eric set up his QRP Station in a Bag and suspended the 20m Extended Double Zepp which was used on 15, 20, and 40m.
Although Mike brought his Ten-Tec Scout station, he chose not to set it up or to operate, instead concentrating on erecting additional antennas for use and for analysis with his recently purchased MFJ-259B Antenna Analyzer. He suspended and analyzed a 20m and a 40m dipole. He intended to analyze the 20m and 40m delta loops but time ran short.
During operations, the power cable attached to the 2.5Ah battery failed in two places due to stress fractures at solder joints. In addition, the 20m EDZ's TV twinlead failed at the connections to the dual banana jack due to stress fractures. (Both the battery and the twinlead connections were re-engineered by Eric after the event.)
Eric made twenty-one QSOs: four on 20m and seventeen on 40m, and worked stations in nineteen telephone area codes. Forty meters was the workhouse-band. Both bands were fairly quiet, but 20m had few contest signals. Several of the stations worked on 40m had strong signals.
Both Eric and Mike had a good time operating. This event was probably the last opportunity either will have to operate from the field until January's FYBO '99. The 20m EDZ acquitted itself well, and Mike's new MFJ antenna analyzer proved itself to be a useful tool.
This was a fun event, and is one Mike and Eric will try to operate next year.