by William Eric McFadden



Three members of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team operated the 1999 Freeze Your B___ Off, an operating event sponsored by the Arizona ScQRPions. Mike Hansgen, AA8EB; Drew McDaniel, W8MHV/9M2MC; and Eric McFadden, WD8RIF operated the event from the Kiwanis Shelter at the Athens County Fairgrounds in Athens, Ohio. Each operator used his own station and callsign.

As they had the previous two years, the RATs wrapped the Kiwanis shelter in sheet plastic. Eric and Mike arrived about 8am to find grey overcast skies and a temperature in the mid-forties. The forecast called for a daytime high in the upper fifties, but there was enough breeze that Mike and Eric decided to put plastic on two of the sides of the shelter as a wind-break. (This was fortunate--it got quite gusty in the late afternoon.) After installing the plastic, Eric threw string into two trees to suspend his 300-ohm ladderline-fed 70' doublet, only to discover that neither his MFJ-901B nor Mike's Emtech ZM-2 would tune it on any band but 40m. Eric dropped the ends to cut off about three feet on each side, which allowed it to be tuned on 15, 40, and 80m but not on 20m. Mike then suspended a 20m dipole. Eric set up his QRP Station in a Bag and while he made his first QSOs--with a recorded temperature of 46 degrees--on 40m, Mike suspended a 15m delta loop.

Drew arrived about 10am and set up his recently re-acquired QRP Plus station with new LDG QRP Auto-Tuner and DSP-9 audio filter. (He had sold this second-generation QRP Plus after purchasing his ICOM IC-706, but missed the QRP Plus enough to negotiate to buy it back.) Mike set up his Ten-Tec Scout, Emtech ZM-2 tuner, DSP-9 audio filter, and new Super CMOS III keyer. When the sun eventually appeared, Eric set up his 10-watt solar panel to help maintain the charge of the 2.5Ah battery. Drew hung a 15m dipole--at waist height!--and demonstrated how easily the little LDG easily tuned it on several bands. After seeing Drew's LDG, Mike decided he has to have one. (Eric did too, but lacks the means to purchase one...)

Mike, Drew, and Eric swapped bands and antennas throughout the afternoon. As was expected, even on different bands and QRP power levels, the rigs interfered with each other. Very few FYBO signals were heard on 15m and few QSOs were made there. Twenty and forty meters were hot with FYBO signals--as well as with New Hampshire and Vermont QSO Party signals.

Eric prepared the gourmet lunch: canned beef stew, Conn's potato chips, and homemade oatmeal cookies baked by Eric's wife, Vickie.

By the time the team tore down at 5pm, the temperature inside the shelter had risen to 61 degrees, while the outside temperature stayed a degree or two lower. The RATs shut down operations about 5pm so as to drop the antennas and remove the plastic from the shelter before darkness fell.

Eric logged forty-two QSOs on 15, 20, and 40m, two of which were dupes. The majority of Eric's QSOs were made on 40m. Mike logged 28 QSOs.

The FYBO '99 Results from Joe Gervais, AB7TTM

Reports from Others