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ARS BumbleBee Contest July 27, 2003

BumbleBee 2003

Near Buffalo Creek, Colorado
July 27, 2003

View Log - Log of all contacts made
I love the bumblebee contest!  

I love picking out a location to operate from.  Last year I hiked up and camped out by a very secluded mountain lake that was beautiful but surrounded by mountains and not the best place to operate from. This year I wanted a primo operating locatioin so I spent an evening pouring  over my 'Topo' software to find a spot not too far from my house that I could hike to and expect to be ABOVE the surrounding mountains!  I found a 7300' peak that looked like it was the highest point for about a 1 mile diameter.  There was a 9000 peak about a mile to the southeast but I thought I could live with that.  The spot was about 2 miles from a paved road, 1 1/2 miles of that was developed trail and the last 1/2 mile was cross country.   The hike turned out to be very easy and when I arrived at the peak I was pleased that there was a pretty steep drop off to the east which I figured would help my propogation to the biggest population areas!   I deployed antennas and gear and life was good.

I love figuring out how big an antenna I can haul on my back and still enjoy hiking into my perfect location.  I KNOW that a simple dipole as high as I can get it always turns out the best but I still spend hours daydreaming about how I can get 12db gain from an antenna that I can pack in a sandwich bag.  This year I did eznec analysis of this and that dipoles and long wires and verticals and finally decided that I had to have TWO antennas.... a dipole for some gain east/west and a vertical from good onmidirectional coverage.  I settled on a 66' dipole (full wave on 20 meters for broadside gain) and a 16.5' vertical with elevated resonant radials.  I supported both of these on a 33' kanga pole.  The dipole, of course, on top.  The vertical base was at about 10' feet up.  This left the top of the vertical about 6' from the dipole and, I hoped, far enough from the dipole feedline to avoid big interactions.  The radials a 10' worked well as guys for holding the pole up.  It was a wild affair to get into the air without tangling any of the wires but I was successful and... might be trying to make myself feel good but.... I think I heard the east/west signals better on the dipole and the north/south signals better on the vertical.  

I love working a bunch of bumblebees and knowing they are out in the field somewhere.  As I work the first few /bb contacts I wonder if they've got the same bugs crawling up their legs that I'm looking at.   As the sun crawls over head and I start heating up I'm wondering if they're sitting on top of a treeless little hill like I am this year or if their settled beside a little lake with a cool breeze!  I look at my big ol' dog panting in the sun and wonder if they've got their dog, or if they are on an overniter, or on a 7 day back pack, or at the local park, or in the back yard.  I love  thinking that there's a bunch of guys at home in their shack (with air condx on!) trying to find all us fool bumblebees out here!  

I love thinking about that cold beer that I left in the cooler in my pickup.  As the day wears on and the contacts get fewer and fewer I start thinking of how cold that beer is!  This year it was HOTTTT!   Later when I saw what the temperature was (the 90's in Denver) I couldn't believe it hadn't reached 100.  Toward the end of contest the contacts were few and far between.  Sitting on top of that little hill with no trees and nobody replying to my CQ's I'm sure I heard a very faint 'N0SXX N0SXX de ICE COLD BEER!'.  But... who knows... I might have been 1 QSO away from placing 20th instead of 21st ... or 10th instead of 11th.... or 3rd instead of 4th!   So... I sat and operated and enjoyed the thought.  

I even love doing the logs... writing a goofy little description of what I was up to.  Not too many qsos to tally up in a 4 hour contest... maybe ARS will do me the honor of putting my pictures on their web page.  It was another excellent ham radio adventure and time to start thinking about how I'll improve it next year.  73, Gary

View from operating position

Scraggy peak to the east

9000 peak to  the south east

Antenna was a dipole AND vertical both supported by a 33' kanga pole

Here's the dipole bending the pole!

Here's Ellie Mae manning the operating position

End of the Day!