QRP to the Field is an annual event, held the last weekend in April, when amateur radio operators who have an irresistible case of spring fever pack up their QRP (low-power) ham gear and head for the great outdoors for the purpose of making contacts with other equally-afflicted amateurs. I am, of course, proudly standing in the ranks of those impaired individuals. I usually use QRP to the Field as an excuse to embark on my first backpacking trip of the year.

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Update (20 Sept 2009): Here’s wGØAT’s YouTube video of the whole excursion!

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Field Day 2009 was a total blast for me this year! After missing the last few years for various reasons, I finally managed to get out of the house and on the trail with Steve wGØAT and his QRP goats Rooster and Peanut (well-known characters here in the list). As usual, we chose Mt. Herman (just west of Monument, Colorado) as our Field Day site, due to its close proximity, elevation, and abundance of excellent campsites.

I met Steve at his place on Friday afternoon, and he promptly provided me with my own official QRPgoat expedition t-shirt–a picture of Rooster with the caption, “Old Goats Rule–QRP Adventures.” For me, this was like getting my Gold Card–I knew I’d *arrived*!

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I already told you in a previous post about how much I like my Elecraft K1. I use it mostly in the field, when we backpack up a mountain or trail for an event like Field Day or one of the QRP field events held each year. The one drawback of the K1 is that having the controls on the front panel instead of the top makes it harder to use when you (and it) are sitting on the ground in the woods. Usually, I’d just find a rock or something to stick under it to prop up the front (and I can show you the scratches on the bottom of my K1 to prove it). Now, let it be known that Elecraft offers the KTS1 Wide Range Tilt Stand as a possible solution to this problem. And I’m sure that it’s a fine product. I was a little put off by the $35 price tag, though, so I finally decided to fashion a stand of my own.

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I really like my Elecraft K1 QRP rig. Mine’s the 4-band model (40, 30, 20, and 15 meters). I also have the KAT1 internal ATU and the K1BKLTKIT backlit display installed. It’s a great rig for QRP CW in the shack or in the pack. Mine is a staple of my Field Day excursions.

Typically, when I hit the trail with my K1, I pack a 2-AH gel cell to power it. Works great, but the gel cell is kinda heavy and bulky. So, in a moment of boredom (I had the itch to build something, I guess), I ordered the KBT1 internal battery option and installed it.

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Hello, my name is Dave, and I’m a mapaholic.

Being an occasional backpacker, I use topographic maps both for planning hikes and camping trips, and for navigating on the trail. My map of choice, just like practically everyone else, is the 7.5-minute USGS quad. I obtained my first one of these back in the late 80’s, before the internet, and before it was feasible to store much map data electronically (can you say “40 MB hard drive”?). I think I ended up ordering it from someplace, and it came in the mail rolled up in a cardboard tube. I think I just about wet my pants when I first unrolled it. It was soooo cool! The level of detail on that map (1 inch = 2000 ft) was more than I’d ever experienced, and I could determine the latitude and longitude of anything on the map. It wasn’t long before I could smugly recite the coordinates of my house down to the arc second or so.

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Gang,

Well, QRP Afield 2007 has come and gone. As is customary, our merry little band assembled on Friday afternoon to begin the journey to our campsite for this year’s event. Dave NK0E, John N0HJ, and Steve N0MHQ made up our group this year. Steve N0TU, a regular for these events, was enjoying retired life by hitting the trail for a five-day venture with his goats and his brother-in-law and couldn’t join us this year. Our destination was once again along the Ute Creek Trail in the Lost Creek Wilderness west of Colorado Springs. This area is absolutely perfect for such adventures. It’s easily accessible, not far from water, but yet secluded and sparsely traveled. We can reach the trailhead in an hour and a half from Colorado Springs, the roads to the trailhead are good, and we can reach our campsite in less than an hour’s hike from the trailhead. Yet, we have *never* seen another hiker near our campsite (and I’ve camped in this area at least eight times over the years).

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