by William Eric McFadden



The Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team, consisting of Eric McFadden WD8RIF, Mike Hansgen AA8EB, and John McCutcheon N8XWO, along with guest Len Touth KG8SF, operated from the Athens County Fairground Kiwanis Shelter.

Thursday and Friday were spring-time balmy--gentle breezes and temperatures in the upper 60s. (Was this really February?) Saturday, however, found Mother Nature delivering strong, gusty winds, temps hovering about 35 degrees, and spitting snow.

Mike and Eric arrived at the site about 10am local time. Eric had previously purchased a 20' x 40' piece of 4-mil plastic sheeting and had cut it into five 8' x 20' pieces, for the plan was to wrap the open picnic shelter with plastic. Mike and Eric fought the wind for the better part of an hour, having the wind tear the plastic from the staples almost as fast as they could insert them. Finally, Mike had to drive to the hardware store to buy a roll of Duct tape, which was used to reinforce the staple points. The pair were able, finally, to erect the plastic walls, which thereafter served admirably as wind breaks.

Mike and Eric then installed the 80/40m fan dipole from their Field Day arsenal, tying one end to the halyard of the fairgrounds flag pole and the other end to a line thrown into a tree. They also threw a line into the tree to support the end of Eric's W3EDP antenna. (Eric wanted to try it "in the field", in preparation for a trip to France later in the year.)

Mike and Eric set up Eric's QRP+ station and Mike's Ten-Tec Scout station on picnic tables within the plastic-wrapped shelter, and set the lab-grade digital thermometer on the table. Len arrived, and set up his S&S TAC-1 and LDG QRP Tuner. Eric hooked up the W3EDP antenna and tuned it to 20m while Len took the 80/40m feedline. Mike waited patiently for an antenna. (Later, he installed the 20m delta loop from the FD arsenal when help arrived in the form of as-yet-unlicensed Tom Witherspoon who had wanted to see how crazy QRPers can be.) The operators decided to operate independently with their own calls. Mike and Eric quickly discovered that even QRP rigs can't operate on the same band. Len showed the rest of the operators how it's done as he quickly generated a pile-up on 40m. By the time he left about 4pm, Len had accumulated 33 QSOs. Eric found 20m to be pretty slow going, and worked 11 QSOs before retiring to allow Mike to use the band. Mike worked 6 QSOs in very short order using Eric QRP+. (Mike had managed to turn the sidetone all the way down in his Scout and no one had brought a small enough screwdriver to turn it back up.) Sometime during the course of all this the group fired up two kerosene heaters which managed to keep the drafty plastic-wrapped shelter at about 42 degrees, some four degrees warmer than the outside--not much warmer than outside but a lot less windy!

The group decided to drop the antennas before darkness hit, so shortly after Len left they took down the antennas, took down all the plastic, and removed the several hundred staples from the shelter's wooden posts.


WD8RIF Score S/P/C: FL, NM, OK, TX, CA, CO, SK

11 QSO points

x 7 S/P/C
x 4 field location
x 2 alternate power
x 3 temperature multiplier

Points 1848 points

Reports From Other Groups