Thursday, August 16, 2018

SCOREBOARD: August 2018 ARS Spartan Sprint

For an enlarged view, please click on the Scoreboard.

SOAPBOX: August 2018 ARS Spartan Sprint

Had only a half hour tonight. But it was a fun half hour. Used the K3 at 5w to a 56' Inv V, peak at 40'. This wire is not optimum in that it runs E/W. Would be better from my locale if N/S. 20 was not very productive, only 2 Q's there, CA and ID. The remaining 9 Qs were on 40: PA MN TX GA IA NH ID TX CO. Only 2 bander as Randy, K7TQ, out in ID. Thanks for the Qs. Maybe I'll have more time next month. 73 de dave, ab9ca

7 Qs for 5 states only one was on 20m. Reverse Beacon only showed two spots on 40 meters for my call, sprinters seem to have some very good ears! Thanks for the QSOs. 72/73 Walt

I was late to the party this month, but still found some good folks on 40 Meters and reasonable conditions. I made contact with K4BAI, NØTA and WA9TGT. The ATS-3a was remarkably cooperative. My CW was much better thanks to some attention to the brass key contacts. The batteries appear to be running well also. I use a pair of 170 mAh LiPo cells. It makes 3W out, so it is good to go! I promise to be on time next month.

Thunderstorms along the Iowa/Missouri border and South American SSB QRM made the contest a challenge tonight.   I heard no signals on 20 meters and QRN from the storms rendered 80 meters unusable so it was a single band night.  It was a pleasure to work the usual gang though.  It is helpful to have many of the calls memorized; it makes it easier to pull everyone out of these high noise levels!  As some of you have stated in your comments previously, it would be nice to see greater contest participation.  Many thanks to all who answered my “CQ SP”.  I hope we meet again in September. Larry, KFØN

Part-time this month as the nearby thunderstorms were producing a lot of QRN. Don, K3RLL had a booming signal into E. Central IL. Thanks for the Qs and sorry to those I just could not pull out of the QRN. 
72, Mark Prather - WB9HFK

K3/10 @ 5W to a 40M extended double Zepp or a 20M wire delta loop. Back to the repaired K3 (bad chip on I/O board). RBN could hear me on 15M but no one else. Best signals:  20M - NK6A, 40M - K5GQ, 80M - K4BAI. I think I stayed on 20M too long. The QSO with John on 80M was almost a miracle as I had an S8 noise level. Not my best showing, but had fun.

I operated from the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest east of Moscow, ID using a KX2 at 5 W feeding a SOTABEAMS 20-40 m trap dipole suspended at 40 feet between two pine trees. For other Spartan Sprints I have had this trap dipole supported by a 28-foot Jacklite telescoping kite pole which does well for 20 m one hop paths, but not so good for two hops. I wanted to see how much better the trap dipole would work higher up. The result was better performance for the 20 m two-hop paths to the east coast, as one would expect. Worked K4BAI in GA on both 20 and 40. A good first hour on 20, then slow the second hour on 40.  Thanks to all who stopped by.

Once again I had a great time. I made my first contact using 5W and then turned the power down to 2W. I was calling CQ using 2W and had no takers. So I went on the hunt and pounce method. I worked stations in AL, CA, TX and IL, not to bad on 2 watts from Minnesota, I was really happy to finally make more than two contacts like I had done in the last few sprints. I thought the bands were a little tough last night. 40m was very noisy for me, which was a bummer because that seemed to be where most of the action was. Can't wait for next month. Thanks for the fun event. 73, de KØEAP

Two contacts on 20m, then 14 on 40m. 40m was a bit noisy but usable. Twofer with K4BAI and K7TQ. Thanks for the Qs! Kx2, Palm key, Gen Log.

Only able to operate for about 1 hour and 20 minutes. 5 QSOs on 20, 16 QSOs on 40, and 1 QSO on 80 (WB5BKL). Thanks for all QSOs and see you next month. 73/72, John, K4BAI

I could not find all the parts for my ATS-3. Static crashes peaking S6, 7. I had a couple of stations call me but could not copy all of the calls.

Started out pretty strong on 40m this evening but then the contacts started spacing out a bit, then a bit more, then a lot more. (Smile)  Really need to get something to operate 80m cuz I think that’s where the party goes when 40m works out.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

SCOREBOARD: 2018 Adventure Radio Society Flight of the Bumblebees

The word "fun" was mentioned no less than 25 times in the SOAPBOX for the 2018 Adventure Radio Society Flight of the Bumblebees on July 29. Participation was the best in years, thanks to some good propagation - especially on 20 meters. Operators, both Bumblebees in the field and home stations were out in force around North America.

Scores were really, really good. And even the most challenged operators managed to have a great time. You can see a complete rundown of scores for 2018 FOBB:

Scroll down and you'll see dozens of photographs sent in by Bumblebees, showing the diversity of locations from which they operated. Shown too, is the ingenuity of radio amateurs who love to go Trail-Friendly. Please click on the images, like the one just below, for an enlarged view.

2018 FOBB is a real space eater on the ARS Homepage. When you get to the bottom of your scroll-down, click on OLDER POSTS to see our extended contest coverage. Please note the INDEX to directly to the right of this paragraph for direct links to charts, narratives, and individual operator pictures.

Many thanks to all who participated in this year's event. You all made it one of the best FOBB's ever.


Richard Fisher, KI6SN
Co-founder, The Adventure Radio Society

2018 Flight of the Bumblebees Picture Gallery

Here are almost 40 photographs from the 2018 Adventure Radio Society Flight of the Bumblebees held July 29. A truly diverse body of images from across the United States and Canada.

For an enlarged view, please click on each picture.

Many thanks to all of the operators who took the time and energy to snap a shot of their 2018 FOBB station site.


Richard Fisher, KI6SN
Co-founder, The Adventure Radio Society

AC7A: BB No. 22, Santa Catalina Mountains, Arizona


WB5BKL: BB No. 66, Black Rock Park, Texas

W3ATB: BB No. 53, Mount Kearsarge, New Hampshire

VE3LFN: BB No. 28, Cundick Park on the St. Claire Parkway, Ontario, Canada

N6IET: BB No. 369, Will Rogers State Beach, Pacific Palisades, California

N4KGL: BB No. 54, St. Andrew State Park near Panama City, Florida

KFØUR: BB No. 35, Mt. Blodgett, Colorado Springs, Colorado

K4UPG: BB no. 44, Lake Fredrica, Orlando, Florida

KØJQZ: BB No. 1, BLM Land Near Fountain, Colorado

AB9BZ: BB No. 39, Hidden Pond Slough, Palos Township, Illinois

K3RLL: BB No. 15, Cemetery Overlooking Red Bank Valley, Pennsylvania

W8JIK: BB No. 93, A Back Yard in Morrow, Ohio

K1SWL: BB No. 36, Mount Kearsarge, New Hampshire

AKØM: BB No. 74, Linn County, Iowa

SOAPBOX: 2018 Adventure Radio Society Flight of the Bumblebees

Very fun and friendly.  I got on about 2:30 Eastern, and about 3 Eastern, 40 went dead down here in the Atlanta bushes, so I worked 20 mostly using my OCF.  The contest is great practice for digging signals out of the ether, as they are affected by QRN and QSB at my home shack in Atlanta.  I had AGC off, so every now and then a SKCC Op would CQ and blow my ears off.  The fun QRP events on 20 like this one and Fox Hunt make me want to build a portable hex beam and take it out to the nearby golf course.  Thanks for putting on this fun event.  FWIW, I logged the contacts to LOTW.  72, Jim Ewing N4TMM

Wish band conditions had been better.  Operated this year using my HF Remote station running 5 watts.  Enjoyed handing out contacts to all the portable Bumblebees.  Fun as always!  73's de Jack, WA7LNW

Very late start due to other commitments.  Ah well, so I missed a couple of hours. Rather than bust any more time, decided to set up in the backyard. So out came the Wolf River Coil vertical.  It went together well and looked good but, oh my, the noise was bad.   Also, once again 40 proved to be unproductive.  So with little choice, up went the trusty end-fed. That proved to be a good move.   Worked stations literally from coast to coast on a half charged battery. Did I mention I forgot to charge the battery. The bands were not exactly great, but a number of station kept popping above the noise. As usual, this proved to be a fun event. BTW the weather here was wonderful. Time to pack it up. Thanks for the fun event. 72, MJ, WO9B

Nice cool breeze sitting under a stand of oak trees.  Low noise level made operating enjoyable.

Think this was my best BB entry ever.  Lots of activity. Good signals. Generally good ops.  Thanks for all QSOs, especially the portable BB ops.  73/72, John, K4BAI

Well, I got chased off the mountain again.  It happens every year, as we get thunderstorms in the afternoon here in Colorado Springs, CO. After 2.5 hours, the clouds came, the winds picked up and it got cold. No sooner than I got everything packed up and headed down the mountain, the thunder started, and then the rain. Got home almost dry. But in the time I was on, the CONDX were pretty good considering no sunspots.  And I had fun as always.  I always look forward to this event. Rig: KX3 with a SideKar for all messaging and logging.  Bioenno 3 amp LiFePo4 battery. The antenna was my usual homebrew vertical.  Check out the image in the 2018 FOBB Picture Gallery of my QRP portable "office". 72, Shel, KFØUR

Had a good experience. Most signals relatively weak into temporary 20M dipole just placed for this event 15 feet into the backyard Maple tree, using KX2.  Operator CW speed was good for me, thanks! A great intro.  Would have tried to be a BB and operated from somewhere else if I knew that CW speeds were at my level. Hopefully next year. Thanks for making this happen. Very enjoyable. 73, Mike

Running 2 watts from KX1 on internal battery, but inside using permanent G5RV.

Dave K1SWL, Tim W3ATB and I (Jim, W1PID) operated the 2018 FOBB from the side of Mt. Kearsarge in Winslow State Park. It was a gorgeous day. We each had a rig and an antenna. Dave beat us all with 14 QSOs using his homebrew Hilltopper rig. We had lunch in nearby Andover then headed up the mountain. It was a perfect day! Tim set up a half wave vertical and made three bumblebee QSOs before Dave and I were even on the air. He was using his KX2. Dave brought his 20-meter Hilltopper with a half wave sloper and did a fantastic job. His best DX was Cam N6GA in California. I (Jim) brought the KX3 and set up a 44-foot dipole fed with twisted pair. It worked well on both 40 and 20. My best DX was Russia, but he wasn't a bumblebee. . . We all quit after two hours and a really perfect afternoon. The activity was good, the weather was the best and the company couldn’t have been better.

Poor conditions and a not-ready-for-prime-time antenna were discouraging.  Only made 6 QSOs for a total of 54 points. Used a K1 running 5w into an EFHW + tuner on 20m.

Fun time! Great activity on 20 meters. My first Bumblebee, camped out at The Ridges, Athens Ohio’s former Insane Asylum's Cemetery. Bands were up and down, but lots of buzzing to be heard! Thank you es 73, Josh

Compared to my surroundings, I thought the bands were fairly “lively”.  20m was the money band today here with signals a good bit down on 40m and not so many of them. But then I was using a 16’4” vertical with switched toroid base loading so that’s not much wire on 40m.  The weather here today, however, was stunning: 75F and low humidity. Sitting there under a big maple tree looking out into Redbank Valley was a real treat today. Thanks for the fun.  This is a GREAT hobby! (No residents were disturbed by this field experience.) 73, Don, K3RLL

Reasonable conditions for this part of the sunspot cycle. Got a late start but contacts came fairly rapidly on 20 and 40 meters. A thunderstorm was heard at a distance, so I shut down, about 15 minutes before a light rain started up. So, only had ~ 1 hour to operate.  I could have fired up after the shower passed, but clouds were still threatening. Sorry, no pictures. I didn't want to take time because of threatening rain.

This is the first time entering BB Sprint.  Due to band conditions and my keyer developing a total mind of its own (sent whatever it wanted regardless of what I keyed in), it's almost embarrassing to even send this report.  Thanks to the 5 stations who managed to pull me through!!!  Better luck next time. . . it can't get much worse!  ‘72, Bob, K8RJW

Several interesting things: the ratio of bumblebees to total contacts was higher than I expected. Apparently, most participants are portable. In fact the one non-bumblebee
I contacted was pedestrian mobile. My16-24 volt input, 12-volt output mobile (lighter plug input) computer supplies were apparently switchers, not linear as I had been led to believe, with drifting noise. Operating direct solar through the regulator seems like a good idea until the high cloud layer rolls in, and solar panel output no longer keeps up with the transmit current for the 20-meter DSW-II.

I don’t think I worked this contest in 2015, but my experience this year was great!  Here in N. Texas we only have 2 seasons, Summer and Not Summer.  Summer lasts from April through November.  This contest is in the heart of summer.  The official temp was 98, feels like 105.  We had a nice breeze so it was a bit like a convection oven.  I met a guy in the park and he was really interested in radio so I let him come over and watch for a while.  I think I might have melted his mind when I told him there wasn’t a computer decoding anything, I was the decoder. LOL!  Good day making Qs, got to introduce someone to radio, and the family was off doing other stuff so I didn’t miss any dad time. It was a good day! Hoping to put up a YouTube video on my experience in the next week or 2. Use your favorite search engine with my call sign and I’m sure you’ll find the video in the near future. Steve, KF5RY

The thunderstorms held off so only had light rain.  I mostly S&P, didn't have much luck calling CQ.  20m was pretty good with QSB at times.  Didn't hear any BB's on 40m until later in the contest. Had a great time. Looking forward to next year. 73, Mike / NØZH

I enjoyed the event operating from Binder Lake here in Jefferson City, Mo.  Propagation was great as signals were very strong.  My 1 watt and Hustler mobile antenna made for easy contacts.  Thanks to the great operators for finding this Bumblebee. Thunderstorms prevented operating during much of the event.

I seldom operate QRP. I broke out my trusty FT1000MP set it to 5W and had a blast. Sorry I missed 2 - 3 stations calling that I just could not pull out. A very neat on-air operation that I will have to do again. 73, K1EEE

The rig was a QCX with a dipole at 30’. Like pulling teeth. Deep fades, weak sigs. Hi to Dave, K1SWL who would have been my best DX except that he was nosed out by KØZK in Maine. TNX to the ARS for another fun outing!

I used an Elecraft K1, battery-powered at 4 watts into an end-fed wire in a sloper configuration. The band propagation was poor. Practically the only activity I heard on the bands were ARS BB contestants. Despite that, I had a great time. Pictures from my operating site are in the 2018 FOBB Gallery. Note the Blue Heron at water’s edge.

Thanks once again for wrangling all this together! The weather forecast called for some rain and I was a bit hesitant at first but went anyway. It never rained so that was alright.
I set up in a city park in Broomfield Colorado using the KX2 and a 20m EDZ up 39 feet broadside E/W. The 20m band was in decent shape at the beginning (11:00 local) but seemed to fade a bit about a half hour into the flight. I heard the usual suspects such as Randy K7TQ and John K4BAI. I worked Greg, N4KGL down there in Florida. So in all, I worked Maine to California and Washington to Florida, so not too bad all around, no DX except Canada. Only nabbed a couple of Missouri Qs on 40 so back to 20 to finish the flight. I worked N6KR Wayne down on an island possibly no doubt trying out his new portable vertical. I will email you the link to the YT video once I get it done. Myron, WVØH

I haven't participated in FOBB since one of the first ones years ago. I had a good time, and all the operators were good. I only missed a couple of QSOs where one or the other of us couldn’t dig it out. My rig is a K3, and the antenna is an 80m horizontal loop. Next time, with a little planning, I could get out one of my old QRP radios and hit the field.

I had a good four hours in the forested mountains. Managed to stay in the shade the entire time although there was not a cloud in the sky. Operating time best described as "several opportunities for improvising." With all the backups I brought along all the "opportunities" were solved. Thanks to all who stopped by for a Q.

I used an Elecraft K1 at 4.8 watts. The antenna was an end-fed Zepp vertical wire fed with a ZM-2 tuner. Best long distance contact from Alabama was K7TQ way out in Idaho. N6GA in California had a good signal also. Propagation in the eastern US was generally North-South on 40 meters. However, on 20 meters, it was all over the map. Signals were weaker than those on 40 meters, but more stations were heard. It was a nice way to spend an afternoon under a shade tree.  – Tom

It was a great day and a lot of fun. I realized some limitations with my Youkits EK-1C
that I will have resolved soon (the receiver audio was too low for outdoor use). This was my first FBB event, I had a rocky start - I moved over to Buffalo Woods Picnic Grove North because there was too much activity at Hidden Pond woods. While setting up my linked dipole - I had the Forest Preserve Police checking me out, I stopped to ask them if they were going to chase me out, but he said as long as I take everything back with me, I'm OK. I'm looking forward to participating in future events. Thanks for a great event. My station setup is in the 2018 FOBB Gallery.

I had a great time with W1PID and K1SWL. I was stunned when I tuned my radio to the QRP (low-power) frequency on 20 meters. There were all sorts of stations calling! This past year propagation has been dismal and there have been times I’ve turned on the radio and heard just one, or two, signals. Within a few minutes, I had already contacted two other bumblebee operators! After the third contact, I stopped and thought about how just three years ago I would have been thrilled with two contacts for an outing. See W3ATB’s full story at: Thanks for all the effort. I know what's involved as I do the annual QRP Cookie Crumble contest. 72, Tim

Rain was forecast for the afternoon but we were fortunate and it stayed very nice. The temperature was about 80 degrees and there was a nice breeze out of the NE. Mark, KØNIA and I set up under a very large 100+ year-old maple tree. It was a perfect place to chase Bumblebees. I was using a KX3 at 5w to a homebrew portable 31 foot vertical with a 4:1 unun at the feed point and four 30 foot counterpoise wires elevated about a foot. Mark was running a HB1B at 5w to a 17 foot home brew vertical with four radials sloping from approx. 4 feet to the ground. Both antennas performed pretty well. I managed to work stations on both coasts (left and right). Most of the activity we heard was on 20m. We took turns switching between 20m and 40m which worked out well. The antennas were separated about 80 feet and we had a small amount of interstation interference but it was manageable and we didn't have any real problems. I tried both 15m and 10m a few times but did not hear anything on either of those bands. It was a very relaxing and enjoyable afternoon thanks to both Mother Nature and all of the awesome operators that we worked. I love QRP operating and QRP ops are patient and determined; which makes it more fun for everyone. Thank you to all that answered me. I hope that next year, conditions are a little better and I have the privilege of working more of you. 72, Dave, NI9M

My rig was an Icom 7300 @ 5W and the antenna was a Hustler 6BTV, ground mounted with 60 radials.

I joined W1PID and W3ATB at a scenic picnic area, where we had room to spread out.  I ran my 5W Hilltopper 20 for a total of 14 QSOs. The antenna was a homebrew 20M EFHW. The copy was rough when the others were transmitting, but not surprising with a minimalist rig. Great activity levels on 20M- nice to see it, and hope next month's NJ Skeeter Hunt does well also! - K1SWL

I transported my portable HF station (KX2, LiFePO4 battery and Hustler MO3 mobile antenna with resonators for 40, 20 and 15 meters) on my bicycle to Will Rogers State Beach, where I operated QRP from two nearly identical locations: (1) The last restroom stop along the Marvin Braude bike path half a mile northwest of where Temescal Canyon Rd intersects Pacific Coast Highway in the part of Los Angeles known as Pacific Palisades; and (2) the center restroom stop, at that same intersection, where I enjoyed a bacon cheeseburger and Diet Snapple during a half-hour lunch break. I made a total of 12 contacts during the sprint in 7 states: 6 on 40 meters and 6 on 20 meters. Only three of them were /BB stations besides me and two or three more were QRP. 15 meters was dead the whole time. I got poor signal reports on 40 meters, even from very strong stations, but on 20 meters the reports I got were about the same as those I gave out. Signals were generally weak on 20 meters and plagued with deep QSB. The strongest 20m station (in Wisconsin) was 589, but he was running 500 watts! Photos in the 2018 FOBB Picture Gallery show two different perspectives of me operating at the second location but using a larger ‘cutting board’ rig (with amp and solar charge controller) and the Hustler configured as a quad-bander with four resonator coils on it. I operate from this location at least once a week, usually on Friday mornings.

Using a pneumatic tennis ball antenna launcher, I put up a CFZ up about 60 feet in tall oak trees. My KX3, batteries, and homebrew tuner were placed on a portable table in the shade. A battery operated fan and ice chest with drinks allowed me to withstand the heat index of 100. 20M was in good shape for this time of day, year and sunspot cycle. 40M not so good, but got five contacts on 15M. Next adventure: NJ Skeeter Hunt.

Ok, so who removed the ionosphere over Central Avenue Garden last Sunday? Could hear activity on 20 and 40 but most signals were S 1 to 2 and not strong enough to work. I turned it into a bit of an antenna shoot out – a homemade mag loop vs. a N2CX design sold by QRP guys. To my ear the N2CX produced stronger signals and 3 of the 4 stations were worked on the N2CX antenna. Thanks to KI6SN for organizing this event. On my calendar, ARS FOBB is one of the premier operating events of the year. Bill, VE3XT

Had originally planned to go over to a not-too-distant SOTA peak. However, I ran by there one day last week. Had operated SOTA from there but did not recall the exact layout. When I got back I found I had been overrun by chiggers. More than a dozen bites. Decided to not go back there and sit on the ground for 5 or 6 hours. Operated from my field. Set the rig up in the pole barn. Condx seemed decent but not great. Heard a lot of guys making contacts while I CQ'ed with no takers. But did manage 55 Q's. 20 on 40m and 35 on 20. Tried 15m but nothing there. 40 was noisy and the QSB seemed to be worse there. Rig was K1, antenna was a link Inv Vee peak at 32'. Had a long coax run to the pole barn. Probably too long. Temps were moderate. High of 84 with a light breeze. Thankfully no thunderstorms. Power was provided by a 10 pack of AA NiMH, which, interestingly, lasted the entire event. Worked guys from CA and WA to ME and NH and from MN to FL. Was a fun afternoon. Could always do with more activity. But that is SOP. Thanks to KI6SN, who does the work to make this fun event possible! And thanks to everyone that gave me a shout. See y'all next year. 73 de Dave, AB9CA

Well that was a hoot, Got a nice start on 20 meters but 40 was near dead. As the day progressed I finally made a few 40 meter contacts. Had a few on 15 meters also. I forget who suggested listening on the hours there but it was a good suggestion and paid off. Thanks to Greg, N4KGL for finding me on 3 bands! I noticed one station sending BB4 but the list shows BB6. Logged it as 4 and had fun doing it. It's a hobby. Most fun contact was ADØBI as my last second contact and he was booming at 2 watts! The first part of the day was by the Haw River Canoe Trail Then on to Gibsonville Garden Railroad Park: My rig was MTR-4b at 5 watts Antennas were W4OP Loop at 10 feet and an LNR Trail Friendly 10/20/40 at 25 feet Keys were Kungsimport Sideswiper, and an RCAF Bug. 73 for now, Randy, KB4QQJ

My goal was Lookout Mountain but I did not get an early enough start so we stayed on the BLM land and found a good spot with views. I had no noise floor on 20 meters save the occasional electrical discharge from some storms. My initial strategy was to listen for CQs and pounce as much as I could to save battery but near the end, I called CQ a few times which yielded a few stations. I was surprised that there were only about half a dozen stations that could not hear me. I am guessing but think I started out at a little over a watt and was probably down to half a watt at the end. The antenna was a twin lead 20-meter dipole up 50 feet for a total of about 8050 feet of altitude. Contacts were very casual as I had the XYL with me and we chatted about different things. We had to secure the last hour due to a fast-moving storm. We packed up under heavy rain and made it out ok. If we were 5 minutes quicker we would have missed the rain altogether.

Rain fell during the entire event.  TNX to everyone who worked my QRS!  Heard only KG5YTS on 15, but couldn't get him to answer my call.

Setup on our cabin deck for the last hour or so of the contest.  SOTAbeams link dipole and small fiberglass pushup mast. KX3 battery powered. Had a great view down and across the lake. Great fun making a few QRP QSO w/BB contest. FB!

I was camping over the weekend but I didn't think I was going to be able to participate this year. I didn't sign up for a BB number but It turned out that I was able to catch the first hour of the contest before I had to head home. It was great to work some familiar callsigns. Hopefully, I'll have more time next year.

Due to approaching thunderstorms, I didn't set up my normal 45 ft up dipole in case I needed a quick getaway. (Which I did) Used my HB1B and a 20m EFHW rigged inverted L and mostly NVIS at 10 ft up on Jackite and Crappie pole combo. Heard many familiar callsigns but didn't get out well as no responses to my calls or CQ BB attempts. Did snag my FL friend Greg N4KGL up in the Panama City FL area. This time of year is lightning and thunderstorm season here in the lightning capital of the world. I have a wx app on my iPhone that sounds an alert if lightning is within 8 miles of my GPS location. It was near 2:20 PM EDT so I closed up and got to my home as the downpour and lightning began. Almost too close for comfort! 4 years in a row since I've had a full 4 hr run!

Thanks for the fun!

Sure was a lot of fun. I will look forward to more Adventure Radio Society contests. Many thanks to all! 73, Don, KD3CA

“Cheated” this year on my birthday with indoor operation. Had family commitments and operated for an hour using a K3 @ 5W and a Hex Beam. 20M seemed to be in good shape while I was on. The 100 degrees outside temp sure encouraged indoor operation. Sorry to the ops that I just couldn't pull out of the noise. Did get the "the goat man" (wGØAT) from CO though.

K1 @ 5W to a 20M dipole up about 20 feet between two live oak trees. My location is a popular LCRA park on the Colorado River. Had some terrible noise issues which vanished as the FOBBs started. Worked 15 S/P/Cs including two SOTA stations. KX0R, N5GW and K7TQ had strong consistent signals here in the central Texas hill country.  At 2100Z it was 100F (cooler than the two previous days) and I was into my second two-liter bottle of water. My thanks to all. Had fun.

That was the most QRP Ops I've heard in a long time. Great participation! While far from our best, the participation made this year’s BB so much fun. Operated on the western shore of Lake Michigan using 40 Meter Delta Loop at 50'+ and a 20 meter Delta Loop at 35'. Getting those antennas up makes the difference. Rig was KX3 and it purred like a kitten. Arn, KØZK was the powerhouse of the day, Good to work N6GA in CA and AC7A in AZ. 9 states on 40 and 19 states on 20. Thanks to KI6SN for his efforts and the Adventure Radio Society. This was the best Bumblebee Event in a couple years for me. Thanks to all the participants. Rick, NK 9G

Not my best effort. Better luck next year.

Outdoor patio operation (change of plans due to family activities). A grand total of 2 contacts (on 20 meters), both stations were BB stations. (NK9G #24 WI and KB4WWJ #49 NC) I did try some CQs on 40 and 15, but 20 was the band in better shape. The rig was my KX3 at 5 watts, feeding an original AlexLoop. 73, de Ray K2ULR

No shelter - operating from an open field, a few minutes of very light rain. Band conditions were pretty good on 20M and 40M. Two inverted vee dipoles up about 28 ft. I could hear several stations that could not hear me. Thanks to all for another great FOBB! TNX to KI6SN. 72/73, Harry K9DXA

this year I chose Carl Grey Park in Panama City, Florida as my venue which is on the shore of North Bay. I like to place my vertical antenna on the saltwater shore. My vertical this time was the N6BT Bravo 7K. I setup up the vertical for 20 meters which was the most active band. I also set up a low dipole for 40 meters. The rig was the Elecraft KX2. Blog post at and video at

Tough conditions, but we still had fun. There's no such thing as a bad day in the field working QRP.

5W to 18 foot vertical. Very few strong signals. Quit early with an incoming thunderstorm. TNX and 73, Mike

Got on for the last 30 minutes due to church and family priorities. KX3, Palm Paddles, and homebrew 13’ magnetic loop antenna. On the air in just a couple minutes after short hike out to the tree in the front yard by the road. QSOs were all on 20m; no BB ops or CQ responses on 40m. This was the first use of the 13’ mag loop, and I was pleased with its performance. Enjoyed the event even if only for a brief while!

W1B (WA1ZCQ/1)
Up at 4AM, printed-out newest BB list at 6AM, arrived at Hilton State Park (Dover, NH) at 7AM. Setup antenna (end-fed random wire) and station (703 & Li-Ion battery) by 8AM. Did some RBN skimmer testing on all bands. Beautiful day to be at this State Park along the saltwater. Lots of people in the Park and I had more eyeball QSOs than on-air QSO's. Fun time. Broke-down station and antenna at 7PM and went out for supper by 8PM. Back home at 10:30PM. What a great day of operating, getting exercise, and lots of sun and fresh air. Looking forward to next year already. Thank you to ARS, and all who participated. 73, Carl - W1B (Whiskey One Bumblebee) WA1ZCQ/1

I operated from a picnic area at nearly 8,000' elevation in the Santa Catalina Mountains. This mountain lays just north of Tucson, AZ, in the Coronado National Forest. I had used this location for my past 4 FOBB operations and it works nicely because it is spread out and has many Ponderosa pines that can be used to support antenna wires. My radio for this FOBB was an Elecraft K1, equipped with the auto-tuner. The antenna was a 68' wire strung up the side and across the top, of one of the tall pines. I used a wrist-rocket equipped with a fishing reel to launch a fishing line over the top of the tree. The wire ended up being nearly vertical with a small amount of it placed across the treetop. The K1 autotuner did a nice job matching the wire impedance on 40 through 15 meters. The FOBB conditions were pretty decent this year compared to the past couple. I operated very casually on 20 meters and I tried 15 and 40 meters, but didn't find any FOBB signals on those bands. My total number of QSOs was 27, with 20 of the bees sporting a BB number. About an hour and a half before the end of the FOBB period the clouds started building up above the mountain ridge I was perched upon. Afternoon thunderstorms were predicted for the mountains so when the clouds started building up I decided not to tempt fate. I made my last QSO with a little more than an hour of the FOBB remaining, and then pulled the antenna down and packed the gear. It actually didn't storm while I was up there, but I don't regret playing it safe and shutting down early. It is always great being up in the mountains here in Arizona. The temperature was in the 70s, and everything was nice and green from the recent summer rains. Thanks to all the other bees and operators, and to the Adventure Radio Society for sponsoring this annual QRP operating activity. It is one of my favorite outdoor QRP activities. 73, Thomas, AC7A

Decided at the last minute to play Patio Portable from the backyard here in Salisbury, NC. Right before the start, I threw up my lightweight HB 10-40m OCF app. 20ft into a tree. Grabbed the FT-817 and was impressed at how many bees I heard. Thought 40m would be the way to go but 20m was GUD here in NC. Bounced between 20 and 40 trying to catch some bees. Kept trying 15m but only heard one signal from 5-land. Couldn't get back to him. I tried calling CQ on 15m with no takers. The reverse beacon was showing several hits in the New England area. Oh well, guess not enough honey on my signal for the bees. HI HI. Had fun from the back patio.

I stuck to 20 meters and had put together a makeshift antenna on the fly for 40 made from a 9:1 UnUN and a run of counterpoise wire thrown into a tree which modeled perfectly on my antenna analyzer right off the bat, however I would never get to put it on the air it turned out due to the severe WX approaching. The unpredictable and always untimely rumbling of motorcycles and cars on the highway behind me by a couple hundred feet or so necessitates the wearing of a headset much of the time. And even then they can overrule what I'm trying so desperately to hear: QRP signals. Band conditions were fair to poor but anytime I can get to the park and make a contact, the day is a huge success not to mention tons of fun! All in all, another great FOBB, I’m already looking forward to 2019. 72, Steve, VE3LFN.

I planned to operate from the summit of Elk Mountain and had set up my end-fed random wire antenna with the KX2 ready to go. Unfortunately, the weather had other ideas: rain and lightning sent me packing off the peak. By the time I got back to the picnic area by the trail head the rain had ended, so I set up at one of the tables. Conditions were not great, but I managed a handful of contacts. Things were not as planned, but I still had fun and got to talk about ham radio to several curious hikers. 72, de Mike W5RST


Sunday, August 5, 2018


Adventure Radio Society 2018 Flight of the Bumblebees, Sunday, July 29
            The Adventure Radio Society Flight of the Bumblebees is a four-hour event held annually on the last Sunday of July. It is open to all radio amateurs.

2018 ARS Flight of the Bumblebees
Sunday, July 29
1700 to 2100 UTC

·                    1 p.m. to 5 p.m.   – Eastern
·                    12 p.m. to 4 p.m. – Central
·                    11 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Mountain
·                    10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Pacific
·                    7 a.m. to 11 a.m. – Hawaii

The contest period accommodates multiple time zones simultaneously. No matter where you live, there will be time for Bumblebees to travel to a field operating site, set up their station, operate the contest, and travel home.

Both home-based and portable operations are encouraged.

Participants who operate portable from field locations are designated as Bumblebees. They get to their operating site principally under their own power by walking, biking, boating, and so on. The distance traveled to the site is at the Bumblebee’s discretion. Bumblebees add /BB to their calls. (NOTE: Home-based stations do not add /BB to their callsign.)
If you plan to operate the 2018 FOBB portable – in other words, from a field location – you’re invited to request a Bumblebee identification number. Instructions for obtaining a Bumblebee number are in the next section, below, headlined "Apply for a 2018 Flight of the Bumblebees Number."
There is no limit to the number of Bumblebees. You may apply for, and receive a Bee number at any time up to July 29 prior to the contest.
Group operation is welcome in the Flight of the Bumblebees. You may operate under a single call and report a single score, or under multiple calls and report multiple scores. In any event, you are limited to operating a single transmitter at a time.
To keep with its minimalist theme, maximum FOBB power output is 5 watts.
We operate CW on 40, 20, 15 and 10 meters, around standard QRP frequencies.
  • /BB: If you are a Bumblebee, your exchange is RST, state/province/country, and your Bumblebee number.
  • Home Stations: If you are home based, your exchange is RST, state/province/country, and your power.
Here are examples of exchanges:
Bumblebee NE6SW / BB (Bumblebee No. 73) sends:
BB 73 or NR 73
Home-based station WN1DWL sends:

Everyone in the contest can work anyone else in the contest. In other words:
·                    Home-based stations can work other home-based stations and Bumblebees.
·                    Bumblebees can work other Bumblebees and home-based stations.
Here are the details:
·                    Each contact is worth one point.
·                    The same station can be worked on different bands for additional QSO points and multipliers.
·                    Contacts with Bumblebees generate a multiplier of three. NOTE: If you worked NE6SW/BB on two bands, it counts as two Bumblebee contacts.
Here’s an example of how your score will be calculated:
  • Say, you make 21 FOBB contacts on 40 meters.
  • You make 32 FOBB contacts on 20 meters.
  • In that combined total of QSOs, you contacted 14 Bumblebees. NOTE: If you worked KI6SN/BB on two bands, it counts as two Bumblebee contacts.
  • To determine your multiplier, multiply 14 Bumblebees times 3.
Using the FOBB Scoring Formuala:
  • Contacts: 21 + 32 = 53
  • BB Multiplier: 14 X 3 = 42
  • Total: 53 QSOs X 42 BB Multiplier = 2,226 Total points
Separate but equal commendations are awarded to the high scores for the home based and Bumblebee participants. We will also commend Bumblebees in the following categories:
  • Most interesting equipment
  • Most fascinating FOBB venture
  • Most beautiful site
Send your FOBB 2018 Reports via email to:
  • Full name
  • Callsign
  • Location of FOBB operation
  • Total number of contacts (all bands)
  • Total number of Bumblebees (all bands)
  • Comments about your 2015 FOBB experience:
Photographs of your adventure are welcome and encouraged.
Results and soapbox comments will be reported on the ARS Spartan Sprint and FOBB website. That posting will be announced on the QRP-L mailgroup.
As with all ARS events, please keep safety in front of mind when conducting operations in the field. Such things as weather, power lines, terrain, dehydration and fatigue can be lethal. Above all, we want all participants to have a fabulous and safe experience.

– 73, Richard Fisher, KI6SN,
The Adventure Radio Society

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Apply for a 2018 Flight of the Bumblebees Number
            The Adventure Radio Society Flight of the Bumblebees is a four-hour event held annually on the last Sunday of July. It is open to all radio amateurs.
2018 ARS Flight of the Bumblebees
Sunday, July 29
1700 to 2100 UTC
·                    1 p.m. to 5 p.m.   – Eastern
·                    12 p.m. to 4 p.m. – Central
·                    11 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Mountain
·                    10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Pacific
·                    7 a.m. to 11 a.m. – Hawaii
The contest period accommodates multiple time zones simultaneously. No matter where you live, there will be time for Bumblebees to travel to a field operating site, set up their station, operate the contest, and travel home.

If you plan to operate the 2018 FOBB portable – in other words, from a field location – you’re invited to request a Bumblebee identification number. Here’s how:
1. CHECK THE DATABASE: An online database has been set up to show assigned Bumblebee numbers. Visit: 
2. OFFER THREE OPTIONS: Check the database for eligibility. Then send an email to: with:
  • Your Callsign
  • Your First Name
  • The field location you anticipate to be operating from
  • Your Top 3 Choices for FOBB Number

3. YOUR FOBB NUMBER ASSIGNMENT: Check the database, after submitting your top three choices to see which number you have been assigned. The number listed in the database is your official 2018 FOBB number.