Monday, July 17, 2006

July Run For The Bacon

Last night was the July edition of the monthly "Run For The Bacon" a two hour QRP CW Sprint that is sponsored each month by The Flying Pigs Amateur Radio Club International. I was having a good time despite getting a late start - my kids wanted me to finish a book I have been reading to them each night before bed this week. I got on the air at 9:15 PM EDT and was having a little bit of success searching and pouncing on 20 Meters and then 40 Meters.

Then I decided to sit on a frequency and call CQ and try to do a "run". I found a clear frequency on 40 and proceeded to do just that. I was having a good time. I had a mini pile-up going and I was getting into a good rhythm. My goal was to make at least 30 QSOs for the night and possibly break the 1000 point barrier. Just as I was answering Tom, KA2KGP and was starting to give my exchange - the power went out! The lights in the shack got dim; then got real bright and then went out altogether. A few seconds later they came back on and I tried resending my exchange to Tom. Just as I got a few letters out, the power died again; and this time for good!

I never found out the reason; but I did hear fire engines travelling nearby, with their sirens wailing. I guess maybe there was a transformer fire on a local utility pole or something. My entire street was without power as well as the two streets on either side of me that run parallel with me. The streets that run perpendicular to us still had power. That seemed very strange to me as I though the entire neighborhood would have been on the same grid. By the time I got back from a little drive to try and determine the area affected, it was late and I didn't even think of getting out my 12V sealed lead acid battery that I use for portable ops. The thought to do that actually occurred to me this morning as I was driving into work. Duh!

So I settled for 18 QSOs for about 45 minutes worth of operating. These kind of things always seem to happen when you're having a grand time! By the way, power turned back on at 6:30 the morning. As with all the rest of you in the States, we're going through a pretty good heat wave here in NJ. It will be in the 90s all this week. Not a great time for the electricity to go out! It does, however, make you mindful and thankful for the conveniences we have today. The house I grew up in had no air-conditioning to speak of. Living through intense heat waves is not new to me; but it's amazing how fast you become accustomed to having central air conditioning in your house!

73 de Larry W2LJ

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