As you can probably tell from other pages on this website, my extended family and I usually make an annual trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for our vacation. This year, we stayed in a rental home located in Duck, North Carolina, on Currituck Sound. Having stayed here the previous year, I knew exactly what to expect in terms of setting up antennas, situating radio gear, etc.

I planned to do more operating than I did the previous year but there's always so much to do here other than radio. So, whenever I had some downtime, I got on the radio and made some quick contacts. I managed to get in a handful of contacts each day.

For the main station, I set up my FT-817 on a small, portable table in one of the bedrooms on the second floor. The antenna was my "Up and Outer" located on a 3rd story deck overlooking the sound. Although there were some suitable trees for supporting the horizontal wire, I took the lazy approach. (What the heck... I was on vacation, right?) I used a partially extended 20-ft Black Widow pole instead. There was some strong, local noise on 40 meters, so I mostly hung out on 30, 20, and 17 meters.

When Ospreys Attack

One afternoon, we noticed the 28-foot Jackite pole supporting the Up and Outer antenna suddenly bent way over. We initially thought it was a very strong wind gust causing it, until it suddenly popped back up. When that happened, we saw a rather large osprey from a nearby nest fly off in a hurry from the deck. It appears that this large bird either flew into the pole or tried to perch herself on it. Either way, the pole was undamaged and didn't even collapse.

Gazebo Operations

The house we were in has a really nice gazebo out in the sound at the end of a long dock. It was about 45 yards out on the sound. I brought some extra equipment along this year to do a little portable operating from out there. For use out at the gazebo, I brought my little YouKits HB-1B (about 4W), Elecraft T1 tuner, Palm Mini paddles and a small Li-ion battery pack. For the antenna, I used a 30-foot wire supported by a 31-foot Jackite pole. I fed the antenna with a 9:1 unun and an 18-foot length of RG-8x coax cable.

I initially tried to attach the pole to the dock railing with bungee cords. They proved to be no match for the strong breezes out there, so I used some long, nylon cable ties instead.

The first night out there was beautiful: quiet and peaceful with a warm, gentle breeze. I made three contacts that night and had some nice rag chews. The next evening was different... I again made three contacts but the wind was so strong it was hard to hear with the earbuds I was using. (Note to self: Bring noise cancelling earphones next time!) My apologies to those stations I was stuggling to hear. All things considered, it was a lot of fun operating from out there.


My casual operating yielded 23 QSOs during the week. Some notable QSOs:

  • I started off the trip with a nice QSO with Gary K1YAN in Maine who was running 500mW. Later in the week, I worked Phil KB0ETU in Alabama who was running 800mW. I always enjoy working QRPp stations.
  • I worked fellow QRP Polar Bear, Ken WA8REI, twice - once from his home and once while he was operating portable in his camper. Always a pleasure to work him.
  • One evening, IZ2BKP called me on 30M CW. I love when that happens!
  • I started following Burke N0HYD's blog a week or so before we left for the Outer Banks. When I worked him one day on 20M, I didn't connect his call to the blog. A day or so later, I was surprised to see a mention of our QSO in his blog, along with my picture.

Back to the Real World

All good things must come to an end and this trip was no exception. I had a lot of fun playing radio from Duck this year and I'm already looking forward to going back again next year. Thanks to everyone who worked me from Duck this year.

73, Craig WB3GCK

20130909	1319	30M	CW	K1YAN	559	579	MA		Gary		QRPp 500mW
20130909	1606	20M	CW	W7CNL	449	449	ID		Jack	
20130909	2352	30M	CW	N4QR	589	599	NC		Bob		QRP 5W
20130910	1503	20M	CW	WA8REI	569	579	MI		Ken	
20130910	1822	20M	CW	HA5JI	599	589	Hungary		Gyuri	
20130910	1826	20M	CW	N0HYD	559	339	KS		Burke	
20130910	1956	20M	CW	AE0SL	569	559	MN		Stan		QRP 5W
20130910	2334	30M	CW	IZ2BKP	599	499	Italy		Giorgio	
20130911	1404	20M	CW	KC4PAR	569	599	AL		Mike		QRP 5W
20130911	2045	20M	CW	N9ODY	569	459	WI		Greg		QRP 5W
20130911	2336	30M	CW	N1EP*	569	579	ME		Phil		QRP
20130911	2352	30M	CW	N3YWQ*	559	569	PA		Steve	
20130912	0052	40M	CW	WB8AJR*	579	569	OH		Bill	
20130912	1602	20M	CW	VE1BA	589	579	Canada		John		QRP 5W
20130912	1828	17M	CW	CO0CW	599	579	Cuba		Ed	
20130912	2305	30M	CW	W8PWQ*	559	559	MI		Jan	
20130912	2316	30M	CW	N4QR*	569	599	NC		Bob	
20130912	2349	40M	CW	NG2T*	589	559	NY		Jeffrey	
20130913	1509	20M	CW	KB0ETU	549	569	AL		Phil		QRPp 800mW
20130913	2015	30M	CW	KB4JR	599	579	FL		Bernie	
20130914	1535	20M	CW	WA8REI	589	599	MI		Ken		/P nr Midland, MI
20130914	1556	20M	CW	WA4ZIQ	599	599	FL		Angel	
20130914	1847	40M	CW	K9EZ	569	559	NC		Kent		SOTA V4C/CM-068

* These stations were worked from out on the Gazebo.

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Up and Outer Vertical Support

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Up and Outer Support Poles

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Indoor Station

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Gazebo and Jackite Pole

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Aerial View

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Gazebo Operation

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Sunset on Currituck Sound

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