This year’s theme for QRP to the Field was Battlefields. A little research on the ‘net led me to the site of a fort built in 1755 just after the beginning of the French & Indian War. In 1755, Delaware Indians declared their independence from the Iroquois, who were allied with England, and attacked British settlers near present-day Lehighton and Stroudsburg PA. The French and Indian War (Seven Year’s War) had begun, and the Pennsylvania and New Jersey legislatures authorized the building of blockhouses and fortifications. These “forts” were often little more than stone or wood farm-houses strengthened against attack and enclosed by a log palisade. This particular fort is the Van Campen House, located at the end of an 8-mile dirt road that runs right along the Delaware River.
Back to the Monobanders
I’d been looking forward to this contest and spent the day prior to it getting the antenna built, packing the gear and making sure there was no reason I could get called in to work (are you reading this HB?)! I decided to go “retro” by using my old monobanders. They’ve been suffering from a severe case of sibling rivalry ever since the K1 took up residence here, so I thought I’d take them out and show them that I still care. Also the ZM-2, Island Keyer, etc. The antenna was a 40m dipole fed with cheap Radio Shack twin-lead, suspended at about 35 feet between oak trees. For 40m, I mainly use the Norcal 40a but also used the SST-40 for six contacts – AD6JV, N2JNZ, K4JSI, VE3QDR, NX2ND and VE2HAC. All contacts on 20m were made with my original DSW-20. Thanks guys, to everyone I worked with these rigs. Their self-esteem is much improved and we are a happy family.
QRM & QRN-Free
I got started about an hour after the contest began and was happy to find lots of activity on both bands and the ease with which the ZM-2 tuned the dipole for both 20 and 40-meter operation. The weather was perfect, bugs were nowhere to be found and only 3 cars drove by the entire 7 hours I was there – and this is New Jersey, folks! The QTH was quiet in all respects. But toward the end of the contest, after sitting in the sun all day, I could detect the faint aroma of black powder from those battles 249 years ago.
Highlights of the Contest:
First off, the theme of the contest was great. The best yet, in my opinion. I researched the site with my daughter Meghan, who already wants to be a history teacher. She’s 11 and reads everything she can find about colonial life and that particular period. She’d rather go to Williamsburg VA than Disneyworld, so this contest interested her in the research that we had to do. She thinks it’s cool when she knows something that I don’t, and there were a lot of those moments as we settled on a site for me.
Second, it was lots of fun working you folks whose posts I see to QRP-L. Puts a dose of reality into the impersonal fog that the internet can seem to be at times. Lots of booming signals came my way, so I know a lot of you really put some effort into your set-up.
It was also fun being called by DX. HB9FMU and EA1CS both called in answer to my CQ.