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ARS BumbleBee Contest July 30, 2001

Near Conifer, Colorado
July 30, 2001

View Log - Log of all contacts made
 I operated the 2001 Adventure Radio Society BumbleBee contest from the top of a huge granite outcropping about 2 miles from my house.  This is the 2nd time operating from there, the first was the 1999 bumblebee contest.  This spot is hard to get to but makes a great operating spot because there are several hundred feet drop offs on all four sides of you.  Basically, you're sitting on top of a huge tower.  I left the house on foot at about 8:30 AM and was on location by about 10:00 AM leaving a full hour to put the station together!  

Equipment this year was my new K2, a ZM2 tuner, bulldog paddle and... this year I'd constructed a 3 band vertical to be supported by a 20 foot black widow pole.  The radiator is made of 300 ohm twin lead.  One side of the twin lead is cut for twenty meters.  The other side I cut for 15 meters.  Then I constructed a loading coil that I insert on the end of the 15 meter element, also tying in the remainder of the ribbon on that side above the loading coil for a stinger.  If working only 15 & 20 I leave the loading coil out.  If working all three bands I put in the coil and use a ZM1 tuner to load the antenna for 40.    There is no where on top of the rock to drive stakes so the pole had to be supported by tying it to a large boulder.  Then the radials are just draped along the top of rocks and over the sides of the dropoffs.  Anyway... I had the antenna in place by about 10:30 and was on the air.  I worked a little warm up qso with WY1W, Butch, in New London, CT to make sure things were working.  Butch was also getting ready for the BB test.  Unfortunately, we never hooked up during the contest.  

My operating position was a little precarious, sitting within a few feet of a large dropoff, but I was eagerly waiting for the contest at 11:00AM and hit the air at the starting bell. 15 meters was open and I spent the first 30 minutes or so there and then switched to the bread and butter band, 20 meters.  I went back and forth between 20 and 15 several times during the contest and finished up with about 10 minutes on 40 meters.  

I had been operating about 90 minutes when I looked up to see a swarm of gnats (or some kind of small, winged varmit) about 10 feet away (if you look carefully at the photo that looks like clouds with a wire running through it, you MAY be able to see the gnats flying and clinging to one of my radials).  When I say swarm, I mean a small cloud.  Colorado, in general, is a pretty bug free area.  Throw in that I was perched on a huge rock with almost no vegetation of any kind, and I was amazed that these little fellas were up here!  Naturally, with nothing else in the area, big sweaty man looked pretty good to these guys .  For the rest of the contest I operated from the middle of a cloud.  More bugs than I have ever had to fight with!  I think that I can say, without exagerating, that for the rest of the contest I never had fewer then 10 bugs on me at any time.  Most of the time you could double or triple that.  Face, arms, legs, sunglasses!  I generally was looking around bugs to see the log!  Luckily for me, they weren't biting bugs.  But crawling bugs can be pretty darn annoying!  

I hung in till the end of the contest.  I ended up with 103 contacts: 22 on 15, 77 on 20 and 4 on 40.  My best effort in 3 bumblebees.  At the end, being accustomed to bugs by now, I did a short qso with one of my contest contacts: WB4IEA, Bob in KY.   I whined to him just a little about the bugs.... showing a bunch of sympathy he whined back that he was in his air conditioned ham shack (hi hi).  I cut him off and tore down the station.  A few scrapes later I was at the bottom of the granite hilll and hiking home.  I was on my front deck by 5:30 PM, beer in hand and much satisfied with the day.