After an abnormally warm November and December (December was the warmest since records have been kept), Ol' Man Winter had decided to kick New Jersey right in the kisser! It was downright frigid for my lunchtime QRP session this afternoon. Ok, so it wasn't as frosty as the Winter of 2014/2015, but today's 30F (-1C) felt like a slap in the face after the balmy Autumn/beginning of Winter that we enjoyed.
Thank the Lord that the Buddistick takes less than a minute to set up. After I plopped it on the Jeep roof, I was able to quickly take refuge in the unheated, but wind-less confines of the Jeep interior. When the weather turns colder, all of a sudden coax and paddle cables and ear bud cables become a lot less pliable, and tasks that take even a few seconds feel like they take longer!
I was on the air in a matter of just a few minutes. Both 15 and 17 Meters seemed "meh" after a quick dial twiddle, so I resorted to calling CQ on 14.062 MHz after a "QRL?" brought no responses. My first contact was a 2X QRP QSO with Tim KD8GZ, who sent a most gracious e-mail to me immediately after. Thanks, Tim!
The second QSO was with Jim W9JDH. Both QSOs were short, as QSB and QRM were not our friends today - but any contact is golden as far as I'm concerned. Just knowing that my 5 Watts of RF is travelling and that the possibilities are open and endless is what this is all about.
However, the weather did bring to mind some words for NPOTA activators in the colder parts of the United States- especially those who are not used to doing portable/outdoor activations. These words are not mine, but are the words of the Arizona ScQRPions who sponsor the Freeze Your Buns Off event.
"NOTE: This is a fun contest, NOT an episode of Survivor. Be aware of the temperature and the possibility of cold injury! PLEASE be careful."
And these words are sound advice. If you're not used to doing this kind of portable work, use common sense. Stay out of the cold - seek shelter if you can. Hey, for a lot of these NPOTA locations, as long as you're on the property, it counts. There's nothing wrong with working the event from the inside of your car on the site's parking lot. For the colder climates - above all - stay warm and stay dry!
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!