Freeze Your Buns Off 2001
|February 3 brought the 2001 Freeze Your Buns Off QRP contest. The FYBO
is the annual contest is hosted by the Arizona
Scorpions QRP Club. It is a sort of winter field day. The idea is to get outside in a field location and operate HF radio over a
12 hour period. There are multipliers for field location, alternative power, number of states worked, power (if less than 1
watt), and in line with the contest name, cold temperatures. Californians usually have the hardest time with this multiplier.
|This year, Rich, KF6QKI, got permission from a friend to allow us to
use his property on top of the ridge alongside Mt
Madonna State Park. Tom, KQ6DV, and Rich went up to the site on the Friday before the contest. Using a bow and arrow,
they were able to get a rope up across the field at about 60 feet high. This rope served as the support for two dipoles. One
was 66 foot long and fed with 300 ohm window line and the other a 100 footer fed with 300 ohm TV ribbon cable. These
were our main antennas. We also had a resonant 20 meter vertical elevated on a DK9SQ 30 foot collapsible mast and a
homebrew multi-band vertical that Ron, K6EXT, made.
|We arrived at the site at about 7:00 AM on Saturday morning and hopped
on the air to get the coldest temperature. It was 43
F, but within about 15 minutes the temp had dropped down to 39 F to give us another multiplier. We kept busy most of the
day; each taking turns on the key. We worked contacts on 10, 15, 20, and 40 meters. The farthest contact was Alaska on 15
meters. One memorable Q was to Steve, VE7SL, in British Columbia. He was running 500mW and seemed like he was next
door. Ron, W6WO, and Kamal, KA6MAL, from our club found us and gave us several contacts on different bands.
|The main contest rigs were two K2’s. We also had a 20 meter and a 40
meter SST. While we only had one radio on the air
as the contest station, the others were kept busy comparing antennas and keeping the non-contesting ops busy. The internal
battery in my K2 ran the rig at 5 watts for 7 hours including 52 contacts and a 45 minute rag chew, before falling below 11
volts. It would have run longer, but I decided not to over tax it.
|The day was beautiful. As the sun came up the air warmed to 72 F, but
we still felt cold just hearing the temps of 10 F from
stations in the Midwest. Later I found out that several of these were set up in snow caves and snow rings and the ops got to
them on skis and snowshoes.
|As the evening approached the temperature dropped again down to 50
F. We were all pretty tired except for Chata (Tom’s
dog) who decided to go deer hunting in the dusk. We broke down the site in record time and packed up for the ride down
the hill and the warmth of our car heaters.
|A review of our log, 87 QSO’s from 29 states. We worked station from
NY to FL, all across the country and up to AK.
With all the multipliers this was good for 80736 points. It will put us in the running. We might even be in the running for a prize. I hope it is as good as the prize a few years ago, a box of Eskimo Pies!