Wednesday, July 8, 2015

REPLAY: The 2014 Flight of the Bumblebees

The 2014 ARS Flight of the Bumblebees Scoreboard . . .
. . . can be accessed via this URL:

See 2014 ARS FOBB Photos
Link to:

The 2014 ARS FOBB Soapbox  . . .

K3RLL, High atop Distant (PA) Hill
My gear included a “Yellow Wonder” PFR-3 through a HB 9:1 Unun feeding a 31’ vertical wire.In spite of a terrible weather forecast, the skies brightened for a while, offering a window of opportunity for operating from my favorite local hilltop location, up an additional 300 feet of elevation above my summer home here in rural PA.  Had the almost expected equipment failures, but the Department of Multiple Redundancy packed spares fortunately including spare paddle. Didn’t pack “Bee Spray” however and finally got chased off the hill by aggressive local airborne assailants. 20 Meters seemed really solid with some great signals but not  a single buzz was heard here on 40 meters. Many thanks for a great afternoon, truncated as it was by flying predators and a tornado watch. Gear included a "Yellow Wonder” powered by R/C LiPO and keyed by OEM PFR-3 paddle when my trusty DCP failed in the heat of battle. Now I know why we need a strain relief on our paddles.

WB4MNK, Reed Canal Park, Port Orange, FL
Got started late but finally got the antenna up and working well. Even with temps feeling like 100 F there was a nice breeze and felt great. This nice breeze quit and the the temps were felt. 20 seemed to be pretty good but QSB caused some copying problems. Enjoyed the short time I was able to be on the air and thanks to the 3 stations that we work. Another fun event.

NØTA, from Louisville, KY
First timer - lots of fun! Began with KD1JV Tri-Bander, but switched to K3. Doublet and Gen Log.

W3BBO, from Erie, PA
Ugh! Wait until next year (July 26, 2015)!!!

W1PID, rained out in Sanbornton, NH
Big thunder, lightning and deluge just before the start. I operated from home using a K2 and KX3 and a Windom OCF dipole. Band conditions were truly awful here. All signals just a whisper with deep QSB. My best DX was Sweden followed by K7RE in WY. Worked my old friend Carter N3AO. That was a highlight. Thanks to all for the good time.

K6LG, Riverside, CA
From the "flightless bee" (80 year old wings too frayed to fly) or maybe just lazy. All contacts were made on 20m using 5W to beam. Best DX was KY, MN, IA, WI . . . no east coast heard, so condx were not great.  Heard no activity on other bands.

K9EW, Maple Grove Forest Preserve in Downers Grove, IL
The weather forecast was for thunderstorms starting early afternoon, but it turned out to be blue sky and white puffy clouds.  This was my first adventure into the field with my KX-3, and it was a pleasure to use. I used a new antenna I had made just in time for this event: a 20m full-wave vertical (plane) loop. Didn't have time to trim it to frequency, but the ATU took care of the mismatch. The band wasn't that great, but it was a fun event as always. A big thanks to Richard, KI6SN for making this event possible.  I look forward to it every year.  Thanks everyone for the BB contacts.

VA2SG, From the side of a bike trail in Jonquiere, Quebec, Canada
It was a rainy afternoon, so I had to changed plans . . .

K4YND, from back deck of home in Sterling, VA
My area was under a tornado watch, so I opted to operate from my back deck and not venture too far. Had fun even though I could not hear much on the K2. I operated 20 meters with a Par end fed 20 meter portable ant hanging off the deck and into a tree. Lots of QSB. Heard N4BP the entire time, everyone else was very weak. In 2015 I will do better.

NG1P, from the back yard in Topsham, ME
We got a lot of rain but did make the best of it. My son Willie, KC1AKU, made 3 contacts and I made 9. We used a dipole and setup in the backyard. The rig used was the Elecraft KX3. Willie used the straight key and I used the kx3 paddles.

WM4P, Honeymoon Island State Park (North Beach), FL
I didn’t have a huge number of contacts but had a great time trying. The weather was HOT HOT HOT but being on the beach helped. This was my first attempt at portable QRP operation. I used a home-brew buddistick, Elecraft K-1, and eight AA batteries for power. I look forward to my next portable operation (perhaps in the fall or winter).

NQ2W, campsite 202 in Warren County, NY
I didn't have to travel far...just a few yards to the back of the camper. Shoot some EFHW dipoles up in the trees, hook 'em up to the K1, add some battery power, and work the world. Highlight of the event for me was working F6BZG, Arnaud . . . FB! Conditions weren't the best - lots of QRN on 40 and 20 seemed pretty quiet but contacts were made between the static crashes and the QSB. Thanks for the QSOs and thanks to the organizers.

ABØBI, Warren County, MO
Had a great time in the country, no QRN like at home in the city. Running 1 watt on my internal-battery KX1 with a quarter-wave wire in a tree. Two deer wandered through the antenna farm (forest), but I hadn't brought the camera.

VA7NT / W7, Point Roberts Washington
Conditions were really tough. Very few signals heard and those were just above the noise floor. Thought I was going to get skunked, but the four contacts in the last hour were great. Looking forward to next year. Will probably look into improving my antenna situation for next time. Thanks for a great event. Thanks to all who called.

VE3DTI, Rockland, Ontario (Grid Loc: FN25IM)
I operated /P on battery power. Rig: KX3 at 5W. Ant: started with the PY1AHD Alexloop, then switched to the PAR Endfedz "Trail Friendly" tribander held upright with a 43 ft. F/G telescopic pole. The location was beside a large bed of peony plants with actual bumblebees buzzing nearby. My six year old grandaughter felt bad about me being alone in the garden and she brought her "furby" to keep me company. Nice! except that It kept "awakening" at every transmission (not recommended for SSB).

K6XM, Near Lake Tahoe, CA
This is the first time I’ve managed to be on the air for the full BB contest, and all of my equipment worked, for a change. Murphy must have been on vacation. But my score was about the same as previous years. Conditions didn’t seem quite as good this year and I didn’t hear nearly as many east coast stations. 15 meters was open, but no one was on. I only worked 4 stations on 15 this year, and none on 40. But I still  had a great time. It’s hard not to when you are in the wilderness with a radio. Thanks for another BB!

K4BAI, Columbus, GA
Lots of BB activity! I was running a KX3 into a Cushcraft A4S antenna.

WC7S, from the deck in Cheyenne, Wyoming
Looking at Cheyenne Frontier Days during the beginning of the Finals.
Unfortunately, I could only spend 23 minutes looking for BBs. Regretable,
yet, in a way, a teaser too! Accomplished with an AT Sprint, and a 100 ft center-fed Miracle Antenna at 25 feet. It was fun to tune across the band and find friends, although I must also mention, the band wasn't in great shape. Looking for a lot more time in FOBB 2015.

W5ESE, Dripping Springs, TX
Conditions were poor. Only 2 QSOs on 15 meters. All the remainder were on 20. Thanks, ARS, for sponsoring FOBB.

AG4P, from the Smoky Mountains, TN
It seemed to me bands were not in good shape, but my location not very good this time. Here in Tennessee KX0R gets the big signal award never fading out. Had a great time. TNX, everyone, for some REAL radio!

WB3T, under the pines at Whitemarsh, PA
Used my K1 at 5 W out into a 33' wire vertical with counterpoises for 40 and 20m. WX was very humid but I stuck it out for all 4 hours and I was able to work about half the country even though Q's were a bit hard to come by. 15m was dead. Had the pleasure of working KC1AKU, 10-year old Willie in Maine.

WVØH, Highland Park, Bloomfield, CO
Wow! Propagation was poor. The signals were so weak but I had a somewhat high noise level for being in a park as well, S3. I went up to 15 and tried to work someone there but never made it. QSB on 20 was so bad that only partials were copied and the Q rate suffered. I didn't try 40. But I still had fun. One neighbor had to see what I was doing and came over for a visit. Explained what ham radio was and he couldn't get over the fact of no cell towers to go through with my portable setup. I used a KX3 to a BLT and a WVØH Park Portable Doublet. Details here:

K1SWL, town park in Goshen, NH
2014’s theme seemed to be ‘rain . . . and challenging band conditions. I operated from a picnic table overlooking Morrison Lake (the ‘Goshen Ocean’) with a DSW-20 and vertical sloping dipole. What fun!

N2WG, from Hugh MacRae Park, Wilmington, NC
A great contest, although I was only able to work a portion of it.  Equipment I used was my KX3 and W5GI Mystery Antenna at about 60 feet. My XYL, Karen, WA4CR, may be developing an interest in CW. She did my logging and listened to the CW the entire time. We both had a great time.  Looking forward to 2015.

WB9QDL, from the back yard in Louisville, CO
Signals seemed pretty weak this year. Gave the ears a pretty good workout.Lots of fun. Thanks to everyone digging into the noise to hear me. And thanks, ARS, or putting this on.

KX7L, Richfield Woods Park, Richfield OH, (aka SOTA summit W8O/NE-007)
Decided to go for a combination SOTA/Bumblebee operation, at this "summit" in OH, near where I'm spending the summer working. This has to be one of the larger summits in terms of the "peak", as the activation zone is almost a mile long!  This makes it easy to find a public place within it (this park), but a bit tougher than usual to accomplish the requirement to "hike the last 100 feet of elevation into the zone."  I wound up parking in the park, then hiking out of the park and about 1/2 mile away, then turning around and hiking back. Not exactly an alpine experience. I set up my KX3, and my "helium powered antenna pole" and started with the SOTA guys about 1/2 hour before the contest started, then switched over to /BB at 1 pm. Had a blast and was pleasantly surprised at the turnout! Would probably have worked more stations, but the QRN was building and the dark clouds started rolling in, so I reeled in the antenna and retreated. I gave it another shot a few hours later, but another fast moving thunderstorm showed up and I threw in the towel for good. Also, my balloon popped - not because it hit anything, I think, but because the air pressure dropped with the approaching storm, and mylar balloons don't stretch!

K7RE, Bear Lodge Campground, Wyoming
All QSO's were on 20M.  I checked 15M a few times, and called CQ a few times, but could never make a QSO, with only maybe 3 other stations heard on that band.  I also checked 40M twice, but again, no BB signals heard, even with a few CQ's.  I ran my 44 foot doublet fed with 450 ohm line, to a balanced ZM-2 tuner.  It was supported inverted V style with a 25 foot long paint pole attached to my small "A frame" camper. The radio was a KX3.  This is the same setup that I used on FD, and takes only a few minutes to set up. The WX was wonderful, perfect for my solar panel charger. My log is on LOTW if someone needs an LOTW confirmation from WY.  I really enjoy doing field work with this setup.

WB3GCK, Lower Perkiomen Valley Park on the Perkiomen Trail near Oaks, PA
I rode my bike about 1/2 mile from a trailhead on the Perkiomen Trail to a picnic area in the Lower Perkiomen Valley Park. Band conditions were horrendous.  I finally packed it in after about 2 hours or so and rode back to my truck.  As bad as the bands were, it's always fun getting out and operating in the field!

W4QO, City Park in Roswell, GA
Did not hike all that far, maybe 150 yards, to our usual QRP Sunday PM outings. There were 5 club members who came out to observe - NoGA QRP Club and a few operated. Keep up the good work. Always a lot of fun.

NE5DL, Back yard in Mansfield, TX
It was too hot for anywhere else than my back yard near the pool. The temperature was 99F. Poorest I 've done in FOBB. It was 103F at DFW airport. FOBB 2014 was hard work. Terrible noise burst on the band  about half way through. Gear included a KX3 at 5W + Pico Paddles, EFHW 25ft vertical and 7ft horizontal antennas with an AA5TB match box. Logged using Hamlog on an iPad.

AA5B, Along the Rio Grande in Los Ranchos, NM
Station: KX3 and K2, 5 Watts, battery powered. Dipoles at about 30 feet. Seemed like pretty light activity. 20 meters, middle of the day, summer, lots of absorption.

AI4BJ, Central Park, Northern KY
With showers moving through the area, I abandoned my original plans and headed to a picnic shelter at a local park. My KX3 drove a half-wave vertical on 20 Meters. Made a dozen contacts all over the country (and Canada), so came home happy!

K4AHO, Lake Sylvan Park, Seminole County, near Sanford, FL
Bands were stinko. I was off the air for an hour due to lightning and rain. No activity heard on 15 meters. Not my best effort.

KZ2V (KZ2V, and K6EI), Windy Hill Open Space Preserve, Portola Valley, CA
K6EI and I hiked about 1/4 mile up to the summit of Windy Hill which is approximately 35 miles southeast of San Francisco (37.364995, -122.246138).  Our 360 degree view included the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. It was sunny and quite hot, but the hill lived up to its name and cool breezes kept us comfortable most of the time. Actual bees frequented our operating position, but did not sting us. Several hikers stopped and asked what we were doing. We have not yet learned how to pack light so it took a few trips back and forth from the parking lot to move all of our gear. Our station was an Elecraft K2 with an American Morse Equipment DCP miniature iambic paddle. We had two antennas and a coax switch so we could compare signals on each antenna. We used a 12 Ah SLAB for power, but K6EI gamely carried another, much larger and heavier battery to the summit and back as backup. It turned out the smaller (but still a brick!) battery was sufficient. We used in-ear headphones; Jim also used over-the-ear noise cancelling headphones to reduce wind noise.  One of our antennas was an end-fed half-wave 20M dipole oriented vertically and supported by a 31-foot Jackite pole. Details: Our other antenna was a 20M inverted-V with feed point about 30 feet high supported by a K6EI custom fiberglass and aluminum pole. This antenna was fed with ladder line with a large MFJ tuner. We used the tuner to operate on 15M. We also had two camp chairs, a portable operating table, a three-pound hammer for setting guy rope stakes, an MFJ antenna analyzer, and assorted other heavy things. Logging was pen and paper with a separate dupe sheet. We had considered computer logging but decided against it because we would not have been able to read the screen in the bright sun. We operated almost exclusively on 20M. On 15M we worked only N4BP in FL. Signals were mostly weak, some at "ESP" level. We were disappointed to work no one east of IL other than N4BP. We were glad to have a QSO with our fellow WVARA member Greg K6XM who was near Lake Tahoe. Signals were sometimes as much as 1-3 S-units louder on the inverted-V than on the EFHW vertical dipole. Sometimes the two antennas were about equal, but I don't recall the vertical ever being noticeably better than the inverted-V.

VE3DQN, at home in Kemptville, ON, Canada
Didn't hear much here. Would love to go portable next time.

WB5BKL, Longhorn Cavern State Park, TX
K1 at 5w to a 20M dipole at ~20' between a cedar and a live oak.  Started late as park visitors were curious as to why I was using a fishing pole to throw a sinker over a tree.  Visited with 7 folks wondering what I was up to.  For 2014 FOBB I had a hand-out ready.  Did not do as well as last year, but it was much cooler - only 99F.  The previous two years were much hotter!  Thanks to all.  Had fun.

W2JEK, home station in River Edge, NJ
Had 9 QSOs on 20M, and 2 QSOs on 40M. Conditions were not great. Had QSB on both bands. Rig used was Yaesu FT-840 at 5W to 40M end fed wire and 20M groundplane. Would the rules permit a portable station in my back yard using a temporary antenna, battery power and one or more of my QRP rigs? (Absolutely! - KI6SN)

N4HAY, Portable at Lake Jordan, North Carolina       
It was sunny, humid and 85F. I used a Norcal 40A on 40m    with an end-fed half-wave inverted L, Sloping from 40 feet down to 8 ft. Band condx were poor. QRN was very high. I copied a number of stations who could not copy me. It was an enjoyable event, as usual.

N4KGL (N4KGL and WBØHBR), Solomon Park in Dothan, AL
WBØHBR and I  walked a short distance from my parents' house to Solomon Park in Dothan, AL. All twelve contacts were on 20 meters. Seven of those were with Colorado. I worked six using the Wilderness SST-20 and six more with the YouKits HB-1B. The antenna was a 33-foot End Fed Half Wave matched with a Hendricks SOTA tuner. We were out for three hours with no rain and were comfortable in the shade.

N5GW, near a cabin on the TN Cumberland Plateau   
I had the KX3 to CFZ in a big tree. WX was certainly nicer at 2000 ft elevation compared to home QTH down in MS where heat index was 110. Unfortunately the bands sounded poor. Most activity on 20M, but generally weak QSB sigs. A few on 40M. Nothing heard on 15 or 10. After the first two hours, no CQ's answered and tuning across entire 20M QRP band yielded NO sigs, so I gave up.

AI2T, Milford, DE
Rig: IC-7200 at 5 watts output to 3 element yagi at 17 feet (home operation).
Lots of activity the full 4 hours of the contest, lots of Bumblebees to work – great stuff!

NØSS, Pine Ridge Campground, Mark Twain National Forest, near Guthrie, MO
The Mid-MO Amateur Radio Club of Jefferson City, Missouri, operated the 2014 FOBB event using NØSS, the club's memorial call sign formerly held by Tom Hammond, SK.  We were BB Number 7.  Club president, Mike Dolson, NØZH, along with Dave Bagge, KDØCCP, and Kent Trimble, K9ZTV, operated from Pine Ridge Campground in the Mark Twain National Forest near Guthrie, Missouri, using a KX3 and a Carolina Windom at 50 feet.  Temperature was in the low 90s with humidity in the high 90s.  An afternoon breeze did much to make the event semi-comfortable.  We logged 48 total QSOs and 29 Bumble Bees for a total score of 4,176.  Notable contacts included a JA7 prior to the contest, Rooster and Peanut with WGØAT, our good friend Carter Craigie, N3AO, and an email from K9FD (formerly KH7C) saying he was copying us on the Big Island in Hawaii. Not bad for 5 watts.

K9DXA, Elburn Forest Preserve, Kane County, IL
Threats of afternoon rain did not materialize. Nice afternoon. Could not raise a soul on any band except 20M. Thanks to all who made the day for me. And thanks for a few who popped in the last hour. I managed to work WGØAT again - hope they had a nice day. BZZZZZ! My trusty SLA batteries barely got me through after about 6 years - borrowed time?

F6BZG / P, near Bergerac, France in (Grid Loc. JNØ4HW3ØRT)
This is my second year among bumblebees. This year, only 3 bumblebees. I worked with a kx3 and a dipole 2x5m plus twinlead at 10m high erected between two trees for this event. I heard more stations but I have been unable to exchange reports. It was too noisy (thunderstorm far away) and signals were too weak. I think the propagation was asymmetric. I was better received than I received. Proof: After the FOBB contest, I contacted a QRPer in Japan, a friend of mine, and I was 419 and he was 539. It is always a pleasure to work QRP-QRP portable stations over the pond. Even with 3 stations, it was worth the game. Have fun and thanks for the nice QSOs.

AC8AP, Milan, OH
I, like many, got rained (stormed) out for the most part. I did manage to get on the air and make a few contacts. Sure was disappointed but stayed safe.  We didn’t have any storm damage here but others did to the east of me.

WØUFO, near Finlayson, Pine Co., MN
Rig: K2 at 5W to a dipole. I worked AZ, CA, CO, GA, KY, MO, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OK, PA, QC, TN, TX, UT, VA. There were good condx, wx, and contest. Wish I had gone portable with a BB number. As it was, I was at my cabin but inside shop using usual dipole, etc.

AA2AD, Mead Park, Corry, PA
FOBB 2014 was very unusual for me. I did not blow up a rig by reverse polarity, forget a critical piece of equipment, or stay up too late the night before. I did not hurt my back or twist an ankle. I did get the antenna up as high as I wanted. The tornado watch was not posted until near the end of the contest, and the weather did not get really bad until several hours later. In spite of the almost total lack of excitement, I still had a blast. Thanks to all, see you in 2015!

WNØI, Bonnots Mill, MO
Thanks for a great event!

KXØR, on an unnamed mountain 8900 feet high, 3 miles east of Nederland, Colorado, near the old Magnolia mining area in Roosevelt National Forest
This FOBB was really fun and challenging! I hiked up to the 8900 foot mountaintop site early with all my gear.  The forest was damp from rain that fell the previous night, and it was cool and refreshing. This year I erected a simple triangular 40M fullwave loop 40-45 feet high, supported by three pine trees.  The main lobes were ENE and WSW.  This primary antenna was fed with 50 feet of window line, with the operating position right below the feed point.  I also erected a 20M dipole with pattern orthogonal to the loop’s pattern. Details: ATS-3B radio with 5W out, 12V lithium-ion battery, BLT tuners, headphones, paper log.  All contacts were on 20M. The first two hours were great - there were many stations on, and conditions were pretty good into most parts of the country.  There were many familiar calls, but it was impossible to work them all! The weather was very cool and humid for July, but it warmed up right before 1700Z.  The sun burned through the clouds, and conditions were nice for the first two hours.  There was plenty of activity with all the bees buzzing.  At about 1900Z things started to slow down, cumulus clouds began to appear, and then the first thunder was heard from a few miles away.  By 2000Z there was plenty of thunder to the south, but no close bolts, so I was able to stay on until the end.  One of the highlights was when K1ZZ called me during the last hour – we had an easy contact. At 2100Z it was over, the weather improved, and I took a pleasant walk around the mountain I was on.  I took photos and enjoyed the solitude.  There actually were numerous real bumblebees buzzing around the wildflowers at the site, and they were all nice.  For once there were almost no bad insects the entire day! I untied the Dacron lines, lowered the loop and the dipole, rolled up the wire and window line, loaded up the pack, and headed down the half-mile slope to the car. It was great to participate again in this subtle and challenging event. There were many familiar calls again, and many sharp operators! I have included photographs of my operating position and gear, of my 140-foot horizontal loop and 20M folded dipole/FW loop, and of the view from the mountain-top looking east across the FOBB site, which is back near the sunny area. Thank you for setting up, running, and perpetuating this wonderful event!

WA7NCL, Thorp Lake in the central Washington Cascade Mountains
Very good WX and camping condx. Very poor radio condx. Did a SOTA to Thorp Mtn. on the Saturday before FOBB. Had fun!

VE3DX, near Upsala, Ontario, Canada
Good WX, had fun. Looking forward to 2015. Thanks.

KG3W, in a field near Grove City, PA
Had to quit about 45 minutes early. Thunderstorms North and South of me all afternoon. Antenna was a full wave delta loop, with the apex supported by a 20 ft. fishing pole on a 3 foot wooden dowel and a 6 inch spike on the bottom. The bottom of the loop was held off the ground with 4 foot fence insulating rods. Rig was my HB1B with a T1 tuner and a 1500 mah lipo battery. Also took my newly built Mountain topper radio .  It's only the size of a pack of cards, weighing only 4.2 oz. Love this little rig. It's just amazing what it does for the size! Only had 1 contact on 40 mtrs, with NQ2W. The static crashes were too much for the ears. All the rest were on 20 mtrs. Highest number of contacts per state was Colorado, with 7 qso's; All bee contacts.My first contact was with George (KX0R) whom I have worked many times over the last 2 years as a chaser with the SOTA group. Thanks to all fellow Bees and also the qrp point givers who showed up to support us . Had a lot of fun and didn't even get wet! Looking forward to the Skeeter hunt in August. I have included a picture of my Mountain Topper MTR v2.

K1CGZ, Peaks Island, ME
A big t-storm hit at the beginning of the contest period. Rain coming down in sheets.  Thunder, lightning, and loud static crashes in the earbuds. I abandoned the idea of operating from the beach; set up the Bee station on the covered porch of the cottage. Equipment was a SWL DSW-II on 20M with a delta loop hung from a telescoping mast tied to a fence post with a nylon strap. I could hear many stations even though I think conditions on 20M were fairly poor.

N3AO, on the front porch, on Brush Mountain, near Blacksburg, VA
Threatening rain and high winds chased me out of the woods and then up on the front porch of my home. I did not use my usual home antenna. My goal was 25 QSOs, and this year I made 26! I started about 25 minutes late, but I got home late from church. I quit just before the official finishing time. I found the bands to be very noisy with QRN. I used both my Elecraft K1 and my new KX3 rigs. Working Donnie AB3I, Craig WB3GCK, and later Jim W1PID (Jim on two bands) were highlights for me. Bob N4BP had his usual BIG BOOMING signal from Florida on 14.060. I operated on both 40M and 20M. Even with the poor CONDX, I love this contest! Working N0SS always gives me a "start," as I remember Tom Hammond so very well, for the gentleman he was, and for all of the help he gave me over the years, as I was building Elecraft QRP kits. I am already looking forward to FOBB 2015.

AB9CA, Little River State Forest, Atmore, AL
It was the hottest day so far 2014. Heat index peaked around 107-108 F. Fortunately there was no rain, thunder, or lightning. Heat and humidity are much less damaging than is the lightning. I had walked in to my spot fairly early, before the heat built up to its peak. By 10:30 I was under the shade of the gazebo at Little River SF near Atmore, AL. Its about a mile in from the parking area. Up a dirt road. One used to be able to drive in but they have permanently closed and locked the gate. I set up the 20m Inv Y on the fiberglass crappie pole and pulled the ATS-3 and NoGA power meter out of the backpack. Did not have a hammer to drive the stakes for the mast, but there was a loose stone in the fireplace of the gazebo that served nicely for that job. Connected everything up. I had tested the antenna at the house to be sure of a low SWR and it was. Very little reflected energy coming back to the TX. Listened around the band and heard . . . not so much. 20m seemed awfully quiet. Heard some stations in the county hunters contest and a few others. But only a few. The band sounded weak. Called a few CQ's but got no takers. At 1700z the Bees started buzzing! I heard other stations cq'ing and they were getting 2 or 3 responses. I thought, 'This is good!' But I had no success in getting through the mini-pileups. Moved up the band a bit and called. No one came back. Called a few more times. Eventually guys started hearing me. But the first 30 min yielded only 11 contacts. And the first 30 min is usually the busiest time. What seemed to work best was to find a clear freq. It appeared that my signal was weak but guys could hear me if I could get on a freq with no one else too close. The problem with this was that the band was long and I could not hear anyone close by. So two of us would end up on the same freq. When I thought that was the case I'd move off a bit hoping the other guy stayed put. Still lost at least 1 (KF4???) due to QSB. Had one or two that disappeared but made contact later. It was fun even if condx were not all that great. Hope to see everyone next year . . . and Thanks! go to KI6SN for doing the work to make it possible!

KIØI, West of Creighton,MO
I did a portable setup on my land near Creighton MO. It is very quiet there with no power lines within a quarter mile or so. Ran 5w from a 706mkllg to a Carolina windom pulled up in a large pecan tree. Battery power from an old car battery. I didn't hike bike or row far from my truck but had a very nice afternoon of operating in the peace and quiet of the woods. I worked KH6ZM, Max on 15m for a skcc nr and when I told him what I was doing he reduced power to 5w for a two way qrp and another FOBB QSO! Hats off to all who went afield to work the event and thanks to all who made a QSO with me.

W8HF, McArthur, OH
Thanks to everyone for their patience with my poor fist and CW ear.  I actually passed a 20 WPM code test when I got my Extra years ago but sadly never used the skill enough to keep up my speed. I need to do more of these QRP events for practice! I had originally intended to operate from a little patch of land in the middle of Lake Hope but the weather forecast was very nasty for SE Ohio and I didn't want to risk getting caught in electrical storm with only a little row boat back to shore!  I instead operated from near my parents house in McArthur where I had an escape plan!   As is often the case the forecasters missed the boat (no pun intended).  We had some nasty lightning to the North and the South but I only had one fairly short period where I disconnected everything and retreated. Thanks to ARS for such a fun event!

NK9G, Sheridan Park, Milwaukee County, Lake Michigan
I was set up within a few hundred feet of the shore of Lake Michigan. Rig used was Elecraft KX3 running 5 watts. Antennas were a 20 meter Delta Loop and a 40 meter Dipole. Weather always an issue. The static crashes at one point were louder than any station on 20 meters. As always, I had a lot of fun.

N9OHW, Bay Trail, Sunnyvale, CA
Biked from home to the Bay Trail in Sunnyvale, California, 30 miles south of San Francisco on the southern shore of the San Francisco Bay.  KX1 with internal AA's putting one Watt out to a Superantennas MP-1, a 6 foot tall loaded vertical antenna.  The whole station weighs a couple of pounds and fits into a small mountain biking backpack.  The antenna was set up a couple feet from the salt water of the bay, and the spot I found to sit down was surrounded by salt water on three sides.  Very RF-quiet location.  20M signals were all very light, and nothing heard on 40M.  Farthest stations were NK9G in Wisconsin and K9DXA in Illinois. Only operated for an hour but had a lot of fun working 12 stations and 8 bumblebees with one watt.

KØRGI, Milton, WI
Worked half the event before threatening skies put an end to my day.  20m was the only active band here and then only to the west for some reason.  Had a great time far in excess of the few contacts I made and am looking forward to next year.  Thanks for holding this event each year!

K7TD, Mount Cutler, overlooking Colorado Springs, CO
FOBB is a great excuse to get off your butt and challenge both your physical and radio skills. I just wish more people would participate. As is typical in Colorado in late July / early August,  thunderstorms roll in around 1-2 pm and 2014 was no different. I was watching the radar map on my iPhone and made the decision to get off the mountain after about 90 minutes of operating.  The storm passed in about an hour so I repositioned to a lower and much safer location. At that point I only had a 20 delta loop instead of the G5RV that I managed to get about 50 ft above ground with a sling shot. I have a much better location scouted for 2015 that is almost at  9000' ASL vs. 7500' ASL and a 1000 foot drop off to the east. Thanks to all those that were able to hear my QRP signals !

K3TW, Lecanto, FL
It was fun to be back in the FOBB again. I ran 5 watts to dipole antennas from my home station here in Lecanto, but found activity to be much less compared to previous years. I look forward to operating as a bee in FOBB 2015.

AC7A, Santa Catalina Mountains, Coronado National Forest, Inspiration Rock Picnic Ground, AZ
The force (propagation) was not with me this year. Despite using the same
location at 8000' elevation and 31' EFHW vertical, and an added inverted-V, I had difficulty finding many FOBB stations to work. The radio was a KX3 instead of the K1 I used last year, but that shouldn't have made any difference. Switching between the EFHW and inverted-V didn't seem to make much difference either, except for the N4BP contact that was clearly
better on the inverted-V. Despite the low contact count, I still enjoyed going out to the field and operating portable. I plan to be back in 2015 to give it another try.

W2LJ, South Plainfield, NJ
The threat of bad weather and a waking with a stiff lower back on the big day kept me indoors and limited my operating time. As always, though, activity seemed high, and 2014 brought another FOBB success! Success here being measured by the amount of fun that was had, despite the fact of FOBB unfriendly personal circumstances. Thanks to KI6SN for once again sponsoring the Flight of the Bumblebees. It just wouldn't be Summer without it!

NK6A, Los Angeles, CA
A hiking injury the week before 2014 FOBB in Alberta prevented me from heading out to the field. Operated from home with my KX3 on 20M. I missed going out this year.

KFØUR, Colorado Springs, CO
Spent 1.5 hours on the mountain near my QTH before I was chased off by a thunderstorm. That was too bad since I was doing well and having a blast.

N1AW, Leyden, MA
I had too much going on to get out in the field for FOBB this year. But I did work a few FOBB participants from home: KX0R, AB9CA and N4BP. All worked using an FT-817 at 5W, dipole at 20' or HF6V with elevated base and radials at 12'.

VE2DDZ, Forillon National Park of Canada campsite (Grid Loc. FN78vt)
My wife and I were on vacation in the Gaspésie region of Quebec. I wasn't able to operate for very long, but I was glad to get on the air and make a few contacts. Thanks for organizing the event. See you in the 2015 FOBB.

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