2019 Skeeter Hunt

2019 Skeeter Hunt Summary – Once again, in Buschman Park in Port Orange, FL.

Steve – WB4OMM – FL
Skeeter # 99 – All CW
Single Op
Skeeter QSOs – 4
Non-Skeeter QRP QSOs – 0
Non-Skeeter QRO QSOs – 1
S/P/Cs – 3
Station Class Multiplier X4
Logo Photo Bonus – 100 points

SOAPBOX:  Got a little bit of a late start at 2:00 PM EST.  Setup in the same park as last year, but got smart this time and wound up under a pavilion and out of the sun!  It was still pretty warm at 94 degrees and 80% humidity, but compared to last year, it was a cake walk!  Band conditions were horrible.  Worst I’ve seen in any operating event in a while.  I used the same rig, an Elecraft K1 running 4W to a different antenna, a 31-foot end-fed wire into a tree.  I also used a lithium-ion battery this time with more capacity (10AHr).  S7 noise on 20M….very few signals anywhere in the CW sub-band.  40M was worse (if it could be any worse)….not a peep except for one or two really weak signals at the bottom of the band.  I went back to 20M and it took 48 minutes for me to hear a signal I could work – NN9K (IL) – and the QSB dropped his first transmission to nothingness.  Got it all on the second.  30 mins later, I heard W3AQC (PA – my NAQCC buddies) up and down with QSB from nothing to S5, and managed to work them.  10 minutes later I could hear K9CW (IL) good enough for a Q.  Hunted around for then next 45 minutes…heard KD3CA several times, but never strong enough (and long enough!) to work him…..ditto NE5DL and W3GW.  Last QSO was with a non-skeeter, W9RAC (IN) who was booming in some 20 KHz down…as he should be with 100W!  Had a nice Q with him, but had to make it short as my laptop battery was just about gone.  5 QSOs in 4 states…..in just over 2 hours.  Not a great rate!  BUT….like always, I had fun, was out of the house and playing QRP CW.  The Best!  I have attached the required “selfie evidence photos” with the Skeeter logo at the station and another shot of the station setup.  72/73 to all, see you skeeters next year!  Steve WB4OMM

Maryland Sprint!

Yep!  On the road again this month…….to historic Emmitsburg, Maryland.  I’m working at the National Emergency Management Training Center for a week.  Last night (Tuesday August 13th) was the monthly NAQCC Sprint, and I sure didn’t want to miss it – so, my trusty KX-3, Code Warrior Paddle and Hamsticks were in the field (parked on the roadway actually).  Started out slow and really noisy (so what else is new?), but I made a total of 10 contacts in the following states:  NC, IN, GA, NC, MI, IL, NH, SC, and MS.  Pretty good for 90 minutes of 5W to a hamstick!  Weather was threatening rain, but it held off until the end of my session after I “packed up”.

My location is on Silo Hill Parkway in the City limits of Emmitsburg; the grid is FM19iq.

Here’s some photos……

GPS makes it easy to locate! (and a breeze to identify the grid…..)

The WB4OMM “in the car” station.  The cup holds unsweetened Iced Tea, just in case you wondered……

Sitting on the side of the road operating out of the car.  Hamsticks are amazing!  That’s Liberty Mountain in the background, part of the Catoctin Mountain Range. 


Another 13 Colonies Sweep!

Once again, the propagation gods looked down upon me with generous luck!  I was able to work all of the 13 Colony Stations except the Bonus Station on the day the event opened.  Then got the Bonus Station early in the afternoon the next day.  Worked them on FT8 digital, SSB, and CW.  Worked all 13 states, the WM3PEN Special Event Station, the GB13COL Special Event Station and the K2Z Bonus Station. Always a fun challenge!  Here’s the sweep certificate:

Another Trip!

Sooo……..actually two!  Was in Pueblo, CO and Tuscaloosa, AL working for the feds in May and July respectively….and worked the NAQCC Sprints both months!  Did pretty good too – wound up 1st place in “0”-land, and 3rd place in “/4” land.  Here some pics:

Pueblo, CO

The Park Location I Operated From


The station on the car console – KX-3 5W out to a homebrew 31-foot end-fed wire


The “business” end of the end-fed wire antenna – the wire was stretched vertically 31 feet into a tree branch.


Yep – that would be the tree! Also the rental car.  Can’t see the wire going up to the tree branch, but it’s there.

Tuscaloosa, AL

(actually, Cottondale, AL)

Yes, in the parking lot of the Tuscaloosa, AL Harley-Davidson Shop! Mag mount antenna, 5W out from the KX-3.


GPS location – always nice to have!

 Next trip – Emmitsburg, MD in August.  Another NAQCC Sprint too!

Novice Rig Roundup -2019


DESCRIPTION: A thrilling period of amateur radio activity in where radio amateurs contact stations using vintage ham radio equipment from the early era of the NOVICE LICENSE.
Any licensed radio amateur may participate using any equipment and the object is to contact novice style stations built prior to 1980.  This year’s event ran from March 2, 2019 though 2359Z on March 10, 2019.  Here’s the link to the website – http://novicerigroundup.org/

I’ve participated since the first year, back in 2015…..it’s always fun!  I started my hamming with a Novice License, WN2TAW on February 21, 1971.

This year’s event: Another NRR is in the books!  While conditions were NOT all that good, I managed to sneak in some 54  contacts in 26 states (plus Canada and PR!) using a Heathkit HW-16 (about 35W out), and a Drake 2-C, 2-NT, 2-CQ station – with a “pile” of crystals – the photo shows most of them (I had more – look at the shelf above the HW-16!).  I started with the Drake set – I have hade these pieces/parts for a few years now, meaning to refurb and recap……..instead, I put them on a Varistor overnight separately to “form up” the paper caps. Some quick measurements/checks told me they probably wouldn’t “smoke” (and I hoped they wouldn’t).  They worked!  (no smoke).  But I could tell they needed recapping and an alignment.  So after a few quick QSOs, I did the dastardly deeds……cleaned and ”deoxit”ed them, tested the tubes, replaced all of the paper caps (I had the re-cap kits from Hayseeed Hamfest for both sitting on the bench), then aligned them. Also replaced a burned out bulb, wiped out all the cobwebs and dust (really!).  Did the 2-NT the first day, then the 2-C and 2-CQ the next day (was pretty easy to re-cap, and the alignments were fast and straight-forward).   Wow!  They both worked like new!  Smooth tuning, quiet, and what a difference the 2-CQ made with the 2-C.  While the Drakes were “benched” I used the HW-16 to make QSOs.  I built this beast in 1969, getting my Novice license (WN2TAW) in Feb of 1971.  It too was recapped and refurbed several years ago and the sensitivity still blows me away (I can’t turn the volume up past half way because it is so loud).  I can’t tell you how many FB chats I had with folks during this event.  Using a Speed-X straight key and a G5RV wire antenna at night with the tubes glowing…..well, I felt like I was 16 again.  It’s a great feeling.  Thanks to so many of you that chatted – and chirped, buzzed, and faded in and out.  I had many great QSOs during the week.  Almost all Qs were on 40 and 80 – only one on 15M (Good old AA6AC……it was a battle, but we won!).  I used to make tons of 15M CW contacts back in the day, but Ol’ Sol just wasn’t up to it this year.   No matter how many contacts you made, everyone is a winner in this one as far as I am concerned!  Check out my web page www.wb4omm.com and look at the “Old Stuff Like Me” page – there’s a whole story on the HW-16, and the Drake’s story is coming!

72/73!   –   WB4OMM – Steve FL – NRR #19


    The Drake “Twins” – all late 1960’s era models.  Transmitter puts out 50 watts on 80-10 meters. Crystal controlled.


          Crystals for the transmitters – just like I started in the old days (1971)!! What used to be $3 are now $18!


  My original 1969 built Heathkit HW-16 – didn’t use the VFO as it was crystal controlled for this event. Look on the shelf for               the crystals that I used.  Puts out about 35-40 watts on 80-40-15 meters.  Is a hoot to use.  Real Radio!!

Up and Running!

Done!  All of the antennas are installed and connected.  Three days of coax routing, adding connectors, lightning protection, grounding and the antenna switch – and waterproofing all the connections.  So nice to have this back!  What is there (I know, it’s hard to see!) – from “top to bottom”:

Tower Mounted:  2M/70CM dual band vertical; 3 element 6M Beam; 3 element 10/15/20 Beam; Yaesu 450G rotor; 160M wire sloper; 4 position antenna switch; 4 element grounding (Alpha Delta 2KW lightning protectors).

Mast Mounted:  MFJ Receive only Loop; 2M70CM Beam; Channel Master rotor

Tree Mounted:  Full size G5RV wire antenna (E-W Main Lobes); End Fed wire antenna (N-S Main lobes)

The Alpha Delta Lightning Protection

The Ameritron Remote 4-Position Antenna Switch

Now for those contests and that new DX!!

It’s Back!!

Finally!  The tower and beams are back!  Cushcraft VHF/UHF Vertical (at top); Cushcraft 3 element 6M beam; Mosley 3 element HF 10-15-20M beam.  Just have to finish installing lightning protection and remote coax switch.  Hoping to get the cabling finished over the next week or so.  Special thank to my brothers John & George, nephew John, and son Stephen for providing the “muscle” to drop and raise the beast over the last few months.

Almost There!



















The tower has been remounted, and “tilted” over on Thanksgiving day to add the antennas – a Cushcraft AR-270 VHF/UHF Vertical at the top; a Cushcraft A50-3S 6M 3 element beam; and a Mosley MP-33-N Hy-Brid Tig Array 3 element 10/15/20 beam.  Each is fed with Times Microwave LMR-400 Coax; not attached yet is a W8AMZ 160M Half-Sloper Tower mounted wire antenna, fed with Time Microwave LMR-240.



All the “aluminum hardware” is mounted – the VHF/UHF vertical is cabled.  I have to attach the 106M sloper and make the remaining three cables. Hoping to get the coax prepped and attached  and raise the beast pretty soon! Once the tower is vertical, I have to mount the lightning protection and the coax switch, then finish installing those cables.  Should be finished in a few weeks.

I would like to be ready for some Spring Contests!

Another ATNO!!

Another all time new one for WB4OMM!  Worked them on 12M CW running 500W to a G5RV at 35 feet; got them on the 3rd call!  (But that was after I called them on 17M CW for an hour without success).  This brings my DXCC count to 330.