by William Eric McFadden



Three members of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team operated in the 2005 Freeze Your B___ Off, a winter-time field day event sponsored by the Arizona ScQRPions. Eric McFadden, WD8RIF; Mike Hansgen, AA8EB; and John McCutcheon, N8XWO, operated the event from a tent at QTH WD8RIF near Athens, Ohio. Only one antenna was installed, and John, Mike, and Eric took turns operating with their own callsigns.

Eric erected the tent before the start of the event. John arrived in time to help erect the 44' doublet. This antenna is fed with 72-ohm military twinlead and is supported by a 20' Black Widow crappie pole.

Eric set up his QRP Plus station and began trying to make contacts as the temperature in the tent began climbing toward 60 degrees. When Mike arrived, he set up his Ten-Tec Scout 555 station, which he affectionately calls "Miss Maisy Belle", but he didn't try to make any QSOs with it. He did, however, make several QSOs with the QRP Plus. Eric enjoyed seeing the Scout and was again impressed with the performance of the receiver.

John is not a CW op, so the trio attempted to make some SSB QSOs. However, none were made. The 20m SSB QRP frequency was completely covered by a strong AM signal, and no FYBO operations were heard on 40m. John did, however, enjoy practicing his CW copying skills while copying the QSOs that Eric and Mike made.

This event was the first use of Eric's 44' field-portable doublet. It worked well on 20m and seemed to work reasonbly well on 40m. The LDG Z-11 could achieve only a 2:1 match on 80m and no signals were heard there, so the jury is still out on the performance of this antenna on 80m.

The temperature inside the tent was 56 degrees by the time the first QSO was made, and rose to 61 degrees just past noon. As darkness approached near the end of the eight-hour event, the temperature began dropping, and Eric's last few QSOs made were at 39 degrees, earning him the x4 temp multiplier.

Eric made twenty-five QSOs on 20m and 40m. Stations were worked in TX, MI, WI, CO, OK AZ, ON, WA, ID, and NV. A highlight of the event was working the Arizona ScQRPions's club station, NQ7RP, for a bonus of 10,000 points. Eric calculated his score to be 18,448 points.