FYBO 2007
WA5BDU on Petit Jean Mountain
(South of Morrilton, Arkansas)

Link to contest rules & results: http://www.azscqrpions.org/ScQRPion_OPERATING_EVENTS.htm

FYBO rig on card table
Here's the setup.  In the center of the table is an Altoids box with
a yellow label.  That's the ATS-3 four band 5-watt transceiver.
You also see the Arizona ScorQRPions mini-paddle in the foregroud
and my EFHW (end-fed half wave) matcher in the upper right.  The
battery is behind my coffee cup and to its right is my
W7EL SWR/Power meter.

Operating position from behind

Here's why I like this site.  I'm set up near a steep bluff and
have a view of the Arkansas River as it makes graceful curves
in the bottom land about 800 feet below me.  And of course, 
the view is best in the winter with the trees all bare.


A temperature factor is part of the scoring.  Here's the thermometer
I picked up at Wal-Mart a couple hours ago, nestled in a cedar tree.

WA5BDU at the key

And here I am trying to scare up another QSO on 7040 kHz.

Photo of patio table set-up in back yard

I was called home early from the mountain, but managed to
set up again in the back yard with another EFHW antenna.
Here's a shot of the patio table from the deck above.
Note the EFHW tuner hanging off the side of the table.

40 meters: 28 QSOs
20 meters:   7 QSOs
Band-SPC: 24
Points:        13,440

Not bored enough yet?  Here's my QRP-L posting on the whole big adventure:

From: Nick Kennedy [nick-wa5bdu@suddenlink.net]
Sent: Sunday, February 04, 2007 9:47 AM
To: 'QRP-L(QTH)'
Subject: RE: [QRP-L] FYBO

Fun FYBO 2007 in unusually cold Arkansas.  This is one of my favorite QRP on-the-air events.

Temperature was down around 20 when I finished loading the truck but had climbed to 32 by the time I got on the air at 9 AM.

I went to my favorite FYBO site, which is a little property I own on a nearby mountain called Petit Jean. Two deer flashed their white tails in retreat as I turned into the long drive, and a pileated woodpecker flew across my path.  I need to come up here more often. I set up near a bluff where I can watch a great bend in the Arkansas River below me.  I often set up for FYBO among blooming daffodils, but this time there was a little snow on the ground.

Now comes the hard, frustrating part: launching a line.  I brought along a hodge-podge of implements including a slingshot and lead weights, a small bow and three arrows, a bowfishing spool with line, and a tarp. I selected a not too ambitious limb at about 30 or 40 feet up a pine and went with the bow & arrow with line laid out on the tarp.  The first shot flew true, but the line did bunch up a bit leaving the tarp and slowed the arrow's descent.  The arrow initially looked like it would cooperate and bit by bit inch its way to my reach, but it stopped at about 15 feet above ground. But after another 15 minutes of foolishness, I managed to get it to the ground.

This was the year of the EFHW for me.  I set the card table near where the arrow had landed and pulled up 66 feet of Teflon insulated small gauge wire, in a sort of inverted L or maybe inverted check mark configuration.  Cut a 33 foot counterpoise for good measure.  I had brought both a "conventional" EFHW tuner and my "no-tune" ferrite version, but wound up using the conventional one pretty much exclusively.

I'd been sort of dreading being out in the cold for most of the day, but the exertion of set-up had warmed me up a little.  Plus, it was a sunny day with a fine blue sky and only an occasional breeze.

I considered various rigs at my disposal, but the ATS-3 seemed most in the spirit of the event.  Its only problem is, when you take a picture of the card table, the question that leaps to mind is, "Where's the rig?" 

Predictably, the first station I heard and worked was KK6MC. Is there a doctor in the house? He was booming in (a little surprising maybe for 40M) and CQing relentlessly.  The KK6MC crew was also my first 20M QSO several hours later.

Conditions were decent on 40 and the EFHW performed fairly well.  My feet did get cold in the snow, but I was never reduced to the shivering stage.  I was planning on trying 20M sometime after noon, but my wife's cell phone kept beeping and giving me various messages about messages.  I'm totally clueless about how to operate this phone, but eventually did reach my wife who asked me to come home around noon due to emerging family issues.

By the time I'd packed it up and driven the 45 minutes home, things had stabilized a little. I was able to set up operations again, this time on a patio table in my back yard.  Another EFHW, this time at considerably lower height, and I continued to pound the Ascqrpions mini-paddle off and on right up until the official end of the event.  The temperature peaked at 45F and had descended to about 40F by the event's end.

I felt like a new novice when I worked VT.  Wow, Vermont with 5 watts to a piece of wire up 20 feet at its highest, at 2:30 in the afternoon on 40 meters.  Also snagged NH in that time frame, but my results to the west were not so good.

Later in the day super contester and SOC chief N4BP was pounding in on both 40 and 20.  And in the last couple of hours, there was a horde of RTTY signals all over the little 7035 to 7045 window where most FYBO activity had been.  I was surprised though to manage a QSO or two with RTTY pounding away right over the signal I was receiving.  It's amazing sometimes what the ear can do.

I was disappointed that I failed to catch Hell. They were booming in just as I got the call to return home at around noon, and I didn't hear them again.  Also didn't hear the bonus point station.

That's it.  Took longer to type it than to do it.  Now, don't we all deserve a guilt free veg-out in front of the Super Bowl TV?

72--Nick, WA5BDU