by William Eric McFadden



Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, spent a few afternoon hours participating in the 2012 NE QRP Afield contest at the West State Street Park in Athens, Ohio, with his Elecraft KX1. Eric had hoped to be joined by Drew McDaniel, W8MHV, and Pete Wickman, K8PAW, but these operators had last-minute conflicts which prevented their participation.

Eric bicycled from his home south of Athens to West State Street Park for the event, a hilly round-trip ride of 15 miles. Eric carried his KX1 Mini Travel Kit on the bicycle. He also carried a 44' doublet, a clipboard, and an Icom IC-2AT VHF FM handheld. As during the Flight of the Bumblebees 2012, this station traveled very well on the bicycle.

The weather couldn't have been more pleasant for an event of this nature: sunny skies, a light breeze, and a temperature around 72°.

Eric arrived at the park about 1pm, finding the picnic shelter to be unoccupied. He quickly set up the KX1 Mini Travel Kit, throwing a line over a small tree using a half-filled disposable water-bottle, pulling his 28' end-fed wire up, and deploying the two counterpoise wires. Eric decided against deploying the 44' doublet, preferring to first see how well the easier-to-deploy end-fed wire performed. As at previous operations, the KXAT1 antenna tuner in the KX1 had no trouble matching the 28' end-fed wire on 20, 30, and 40m. Eric powered the KX1 with his new 2.2Ah gel cell which he charged with is PowerFilm foldable 5W panel and Micro-M charge controller. Eric keyed the KX1 with his Whiterook MK-33 single-lever paddle.

Few QRP Afield stations were heard on either 20m or 40m. On 20m, European stations were heard operating another contest and at least one Washington-state Salmon Run station was heard on 20m although this station didn't hear Eric's calls. Eric made three QSOs with QRP Afield participants KG3W, AA5TB, and VA2SG. Eric made two excellent ragchew QSOs with QRO stations W3LN and KN4ZQ. Stations were worked on 20m in Texas and Quebec; stations were worked on 40m in Pennsylvania and Virginia.

A group arrived at the picnic shelter about 3:40pm for a 4pm birthday part. Eric finished an excellent twenty-minute QSO with KN4ZQ--who was running 100-watts but also has a YouKits HB-1B he enjoys using--took down the station, loaded the bicycle, and headed home.