The day dawned sunny and warm, and everything needed to go hunt Skeeters was sitting in the living room, waiting to be loaded into the Jeep. The kids and I attended Saturday evening Mass, so with that obligation taken care of, I was awarded with a quiet Sunday morning.
As Noon approached, I loaded up the Jeep and made the 7 or 8 minute drive over to the historic Frazee house in Scotch Plains, which sits right on the Washington-Rochambeau Historic National Trail (TR23).
The house in abandoned and in dis-repair, but a major effort is being made by several organizations to restore it to its original, Revolutionary War era state, complete with gardens and out buildings. The wooden cutout is a drawing of Betsy Frazee. Legend has it that Lord Cornwallis was marching his troops back to their base after the Battle of the Short Hills. As the British marched past the Frazee house they smelled the bread that Betsy was baking. Cornwallis was going to commandeer provisions, and demanded a fresh baked loaf. Supposedly, Betsy gave him one saying, "I give this to you, Sir, out of fear and not out of love." According to the legend, Cornwallis was so moved by her bravery that he marched his troops on without taking any bread - but probably took everything else that wasn't nailed down!
Across the driveway, you can see what remains of the old well.
Union County has a community garden in the back, on the site of the original garden which belonged to the Frazee's.
I set up across the gravel driveway, making sure that I was well within the 100' limit for activating a national historical trail. Not sure how many visitors might show up, and how "protective" they might be, I decided not to throw any wires up into the trees. Instead I used my drive-on mast support, my Jackite pole and my PAR END FEDZ 40/20/10.
Set up went easily and I was able to walk around and take these photos before the Hunt started. I also chatted with a few visitors who drove up and asked me what I knew about the garden and the restoration effort.
At 1700 the Hunt started and I jumped into the fray. There was plenty of activity on 20 Meters, which was so good to hear. There was not as much activity on 40 Meters, but I was pleasantly surprised that background noise was low on both bands. That allowed me to work several stations that were pretty weak. It's always nice when you can work stations that don't have to be 599 to overcome the noise floor.
The station set up was the same. The KX3 with the Palm Micro paddles, and I used my deep cycle battery for power. Yesterday, I went to Dick's Sporting Goods to buy an ammo box to make toting the battery a lot easier.
The cooler with water bottles was essential. Although it wasn't as beastly hot as it has been, the humidity was pretty high and it felt hotter than it actually was. It was very nice to be able to grab a few swigs of cold water throughout the Hunt.
As the Hunt progressed, the partly cloudy skies changed to totally cloudy. From about 1900 UTC, it spritzed droplets of rain on and off. Nothing to cause me to go QRT until about 2017 UTC, when with about 45 minutes to go, the rain changed from a spritz to a bone fide drizzle. Not wanting to get the equipment wet, I packed up and headed home.
My goal was to make at least 40 QSOs and I ended up making 41. I worked 19 different S/P/Cs and 6 different NPOTA entities. It was a very delightful day and I thank all of you who participated and especially the New Jersey QRP Club for sponsoring the hunt and making it possible.
And last - but very much not least, I'd like to thank all those diligent QRPers who activated NPOTA entities. By my tally, the following were activated - NP51, NM05, TR23, TR01, TR05, SS05, RC17, HP11, TR04, MN29, NS60, HP46,
HP30, RC04, TR10 and TR06. And these were just the ones I knew about
beforehand. I'm sure there were a few entities activated on the spur of
Here's my summary:
Larry - W2LJ -TR23
Skeeter #13 - All CW
Skeeter QSOs - 39
Non-Skeeter QRP QSOs - 1
Non-Skeeter QRO QSOs - 1
S/P/Cs or NPOTA Designators - 25
Station Class Multiplier X4
NPOTA Bonus - 100 points
Final score of 12,100 points - not that it matters, as I don't figure into the mix, but I like to see how I did vs. all the other participants.
So thank you, one and all, those who participated and those I worked. If it weren't for you, the Skeeter Hunt would not be the success that it has become. I'm already looking forward to the 2017 Skeeter Hunt!
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!