Monday, June 12, 2017
Yesterday was the inaugural Cookie Crumble QRP contest and even though I got to spend only a limited time behind the key, it was great fun!
The contest lasted from 1:00 - 6:00 PM, but I was not able to sit down behind the KX3 until nearly 4:45 PM. Yesterday was my Sunday to volunteer at the soup kitchen. So I had it all planned - or so I thought! Early in the morning, I set up my antenna and portable station out at the backyard picnic table so that everything (except the radio, which I left inside the house) would be ready when I got home at 4:00 PM.
The problem was I didn't get home at 4:00 PM. The meal yesterday was meatball sandwiches along with potato salad, chips and a dessert. Everything was going fine until we discovered that the marinara sauce at the bottom of the two big cooking pots had burnt. Have you ever had the honor of being the one chosen to clean burnt marinara sauce from the bottom of two big cooking pots?
To say that a sandblaster would have come in handy is an understatement. Since I didn't want to be there all evening,and miss the contest entirely, I let the bottoms of the pots soak in super hot water and liquid dish detergent for about 10 minutes. Then I used a metal serving spoon to literally scrape off as much of the burnt sauce and gook as I could manage. Then I followed that up with Brillo and some good ol' fashioned elbow grease until the posts were clean. No mirror finish; but you'd never be able to tell what bad shape these pots were in unless you use an electron microscope.
I hurried home, grabbed the KX3, paddle and earbuds and hooked everything up to the antenna and battery that were already positioned and waiting for me. I started out on 20 Meters and heard a lot of SKCC Weekend Sprinters, but no Cookie Crumblers. I did work Jimmy K4YFH in North Carolina who must have been confused when I relayed that I was "NR 173" as he came back to me "49C" which is my SKCC number.
I decided that 40 Meters might be the better band on which to find Cookies and that proved to be true. I worked Dan KA3D, Ralph KW8G, Bob W3BBO (who was on his newly acquired HW8. It sounded great, Bob!), Ken N3CU (Cookie Monster), Emily KB3VVE, the Cookie Queen herself, Dave K2FI and finally K3SVA Gene (Cookie Monster).
So in a total of an hour and 15 minutes I made 8 contacts. Nothing to set the contest world on fire about; but I had fun and that was the main point! It was in the 90s (30s C) yesterday, and after the long Winter and extended damp and chilly Spring that we have had, sitting in the sun with a warm breeze blowing felt just oh, so good! That I was playing radio at the same time was just icing on the cake, or perhaps, sprinkles on the cookies - if you prefer!
The setup was my usual. The antenna was the PAR End Fedz 40/20/10 held aloft by my 31 foot Jackite pole. The battery was not my normal portable ops lithium battery, as I opted to use my Field Day PowerWerx SLA. The paddle was the Palm Pico.
Thanks to Emily KB3VVE and Tim W3ATB for coming up with another gem of a QRP Sprint. Tim has already posted on Facebook this morning that Emily has decreed that the 2nd Cookie Crumble will be on Sunday, June 10th, 2018. If you didn't participate this year, you deprived yourself of a very, very good time. Make sure not to miss it next year!
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!