Unfortunately, I will only be able to join with you all for a limited amount of time at the beginning and at the end of the contest. A few months ago, without paying attention to the date, I agreed to volunteer at the St. Mary's Soup Kitchen in Plainfield from 2:00 to 4:00 PM (the middle two hours of the hunt) tomorrow afternoon. When I discovered the conflict, I have to admit that my first reaction was the human one, I thought of trying to find a substitute, or possibly make an excuse and just back out all together.
But as important as the Skeeter Hunt and Amateur Radio are to me (and they are VERY important!) some things are more important. The people that are served, who are down on their luck, depend on this facility for a decent meal. And even though my presence isn't mandatory for the kitchen to open or run, it wouldn't be right to blow off a commitment to people who are in need. Besides, the Amateur's Code reminds us that the Radio Amateur must be "Balanced - Radio is an avocation, never interfering with duties owed to family, job, school or community." In the end, I had to ask myself, "What's more important, my fellow man or my hobby?" I think you'd all agree with me as to the answer.
Still, I can't begin to tell you how much I want to be on the air for the entire event, but this year, that's just not possible. So for as much as I can manage to squeeze in out of the first and final hours, Skeeter #13 will be in the basement shack, handing out as many contacts as possible. And believe me, I am going to squeeze in every possible last nano-second that I can, so keep your ears peeled for W2LJ.
Now, with all that said and done, I have a huge favor to ask of all of you who are participating. Along with your log summaries and soapbox comments (and photos ... please, plenty of photos!) please let me know what changes if any, you would like to see for next year's Skeeter Hunt. We added SSB this year - digital modes, next year perhaps? Would you like to see that? Different time of the day, i.e. a later start? Anything that you would like to see modified will be taken under thoughtful consideration.
For those of you who are not participating for one reason or another, but just might in the future, I'd be very happy to read your comments and suggestions, too. Just send an e-mail titled "Skeeter Hunt Suggestions" to either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Once again, thanks for participating and for making the NJQRP Skeeter Hunt the success that it is - signups for Skeeter numbers exceeded last year's requests! And a very special thanks to the NJQRP for sponsoring this event - with out them, this wouldn't be possible.
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!