by William Eric McFadden



Dow Lake One member of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team participated in the 2013 North Georgia QRP Club Peanut Power Sprint operating event. Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, operated on the Dow Lake Dam in Strouds Run State Park as Peanut #105, in the "Salted" (QRP portable) class. Eric was accompanied by his wife Vickie, KC8MAJ, and his son Miles, KD8KNC. Miles helped Eric hang the antenna and photographed the operation.

Eric's chosen operating location, the Dow Lake Dam, required a short hike up a well-worn gravel path. The view of Dow Lake from atop the earthen dam was lovely, and several nearby trees were suitable for supporting antennas. Because several hiking trails converged very near the chosen operating location, Eric was careful in hanging the antenna so that it wouldn't be inadvertently pulled down by a passing hiker or mountain-bike rider.

Eric's station consisted of his Elecraft K2 and his K2 Travel Kit. Eric had brought both the 44' broad-side doublet and the W3EDP antennas and, given the location of the best tree, chose to deploy the W3EDP end-fed wire antenna. The line to support the W3EDP was thrown over a branch using a half-filled disposal water bottle found on-site. Since weight was of little concern during this junket, Eric had brought his Vibroplex Vibrokeyer paddle to key the transceiver. Power was provided by the K2's internal 2.2Ah gel-cell.

Eric operating as Peanut #105 Eric had hoped to find a picnic table on or near the Dow Lake Dam but all the picnic tables were located near the parking lot, well below the top of the dam and very near the noise of the busy highway. Eric had brought along a three-legged camping stool to use as a table in case no picnic was available and pressed this stool into service as a table. This was Eric's first time operating the K2 without a genuine table. He found arrangement of K2 on the stool and Vibrokeyer on a clipboard to work well enough for this event although he had to be careful to not allow the W3EDP antenna to pull the stool over.

As can be seen in the log, below, Eric was about a half-hour late getting to the key. His first QSO was with Bob Patton, N4BP, in Florida who, as usual, produced a booming signal for most of the period of the event. Thereafter, stations were worked at a pretty good pace on 20m and 40m but no signals were heard on 15m the few times that band was checked. In all, Eric made twenty QSOs, of which six were the result of his calling CQ.

Time (Z) Freq Callsign RST (S) RST (R) SPC Peanut Number / Pwr
2028 14060 N4BP 599 599 FL 143
2029 14062 AB9CA 599 559 AL 75
2039 7060 AD4SA 599 579 GA 13
2042 7061 K4BAI 599 579 GA 88
2047 7063 AA4GA 599 559 GA 99
2049 7062 KB9BVN 599 559 IN 193
2052 7061 WA8PGE 599 569 OH 145
2056 14061 N5GW 559 559 MS 93
2100 14062 W0UFO 599 579 MN 107
2111 7063 AA4GA 559 559 GA 99 (dupe)
2117 14062 N1AIA 559 579 ME 5w
2118 14062 N4KGL 599 599 FL 167
2122 14062 K4UPG 599 569 FL 96
2124 14062 K2WO 599 599 FL 106
2126 14062 W5WIL 559 579 OK 76
2135 7062 NO4GA 599 579 GA 1
2140 7063 AB9CA 559 339 AL 75
2148 14062 WB4MNK 559 559 FL 89
2155 7062 W4KLY 559 559 GA 3
2157 7061 WK4U 559 339 GA 73

Eric calculated his score to be 1290 points. (129 QSO points, 6 SPC on 20m, 4 SPC on 40m)

Eric greatly enjoyed the inaugural Peanut Power Sprint and is looking forward to participating again next year.