Saturday, September 29, 2018

Success at Sandy Hook

It was one of the Top 10 Days of the Year, weather-wise. It was all we could have hoped and asked for - beautiful crystal blue skies and comfortable temperatures, With that, five intrepid Hams K2VHW, W2OU, KD2FSI, KC2PGX and W2LJ arrived at the North Beach Observation Deck at Sandy Hook, to set up a few HF stations and operate - and answer questions from visiting Boy Scouts from the 2019 Raritan Valley Camporee.

I set up the KX3 and ol' reliable - the PAR ENDFEDZ 40/20/10. The antenna was held up by my Jackite pole which was lashed to a kiosk some 50 feet or so away from our operating point.

Photo courtesy of W2OU

As usual, the antenna presented an almost perfect match and I was able to start making contacts immediately.

Dave KD2FSI had a bit longer to travel than the rest of us did; but he finally arrived to set up a SSB station.  He used a variant of what I was using, but instead of using his end fed as a horizontal wire, he spiraled it around his Jackite and used it as an end fed vertical.

For the most part, we both operated on 20 Meters and there was some interference with each other, but it was held to a minimum. It was a casual demonstration type of operation, so I would pound brass while Dave took a break and he would operate when I went idle. It worked out.

It got to be a bit too breezy for Dave's free standing vertical from his pack frame, so he ended up lashing it to a bit of the Observation Deck structure.

And we had visitors - lots of visitors. Here's a photo of KD2FSI holding court, explaining HF propagation and operation to a group of Scouts and their Scout Masters.

And Morse Code attracted its fair share of attention, too. Here's a photo of yours truly, working the bands and explaining how Morse Code contacts are made.

Photo courtesy of W2OU

And when Dave and I weren't engaging the Scouts, Marv K2VHW was front and center. Marv has a natural talent for teaching and his friendly and warm personality only make it more effective.

Propagation was not bad! Dave was running close to 100 Watts and worked Italy, France, Germany and a bunch of TX QSO Party stations. I stuck to 5 Watts (of course) and had my fair share of contacts which included Lithuania, France, Quebec (Malcom VE2DDZ - a Skeeter Hunt regular), UR3IDD/MM (have no idea where he was exactly, he didn't give his maidenhead square) as well as my share of TX QSO Party stations as well. I even had a few nice rag chews with Alan W4MQC and Bill AF4YF.

Photo courtesy of W2OU

On a clear day such as today, you can see New York City, across Raritan Bay.

In all it was great success. We made QSOs, and we showed the Scouts how they were made. We let them get a feel for the equipment (especially the Morse Code paddles) and they showed definite interest. Some of the Scouts and their Scout Masters will be in touch with us so we can help them earn their Radio Merit Badges. Did I mention that some of us (including W2LJ) are now BSA Certified Merit Badge Counselors?

From left to right - W2LJ, KC2PGX, KD2FSI, K2VHW, W2OU

Tired and happy, we closed up shop around 4:00 PM local time and headed back to our respective homes. The scouts returned to their camping area. I wish them well, as it's supposed to drop down into the 40s F tonight (7C). It's going to be a chilly night for them, especially considering how close they are to the water and any breezes coming off the cool water.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:08 AM

    Larry looks like you guys had a blast - Thanks for your support of Scouting! John, N2DV