I recently acquired some new QRP gear for portable use and wanted to get out to do some field testing. This lined up nicely with the annual "Skeeter Hunt" contest sponsored by the New Jersey QRP Club so I registered as a "skeeter" for the contest. This year's them was "bodies of water." I decided to operate from a picnic area adjacent to the Schuykill Canal in Oaks, Pennsylvania.

This park is also a trail head for the Schuylkill River Trail. Since I often ride my bike here, I decided to arrive early and go for a short ride before setting up for the contest. After my 30 minute ride, I stowed the bike and set up my radio equipment on a picnic table in the shade of some large trees. It was a great spot and the weather was excellent.

My antenna was a 30-foot wire and a homebrew 9:1 unun fed with 18 feet of RG-8x coax. I ran the antenna without radials, similar to the EARCHI antenna. My new Elecraft T1 tuner loaded it up quickly on both 40 and 20 meters. (I also checked 30 meters and it loaded up fine also.) I was lazy today so I just supported the wire with a 31-foot Jackite pole held up with a Jackite ground mount. I was operational in less than 10 minutes. My rig for this event was a YouKits HB-1B I recently purchased through Ten Tec. It was running about 4 watts, powered from a 5 A-H gel cell battery. I also used my trusty NorCal paddles and NorCal keyer.

For some reason, the restrooms were locked and nature was starting to call, so I packed up a little early and took a few pictures. I've seen better band conditions but I managed 13 contacts in an hour and a half. Once again, I managed to work my old friend, Carter N3AO, down in Virginia. It was a beautiful day and my new equipment appeared to be working fine.

73, Craig WB3GCK


Craig - WB3GCK - PA
Skeeter #145 - All CW
Skeeter QSOs - 13
Non-Skeeter QSOs - 0
DX QSOs - 0
S/P/Cs - 10
Station Class Multiplier - X3
Claiming Bonus - Yes
40	1707	W3BBO		559	559	PA	14
40	1710	WQ4RP		579	579	NC	122
40	1714	WY3H		549	339	PA	105
20	1722	NK9G		569	559	WI	18
20	1724	AB9CA		569	559	AL	125
20	1729	K9DXA		559	559	WI	36	
40	1741	KX9X		559	559	CT	1
40	1745	N3AO		459	449	VA	29
40	1751	NK9G		559	559	WI	18
40	1801	N3AQC		569	569	PA	111
20	1811	WB3T		579	579	PA	109
20	1813	N0SS		569	569	MO	20
20	1821	WB5BKL		559	579	TX	58

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My bike

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Jackite pole, ground mount and homebrew 9:1 unun

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Operating position

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Schuykill Canal bulletin board

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Schuylkill Canal map

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Schuylkill Canal

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