"Under the Shadow of the Balloon"


Greetings from the North Central Tennessee Chapter of the Flying Pigs QRP International.

John, KM6NN here to tell a story of QRP while helping out our club members with their balloon launch at Piney Camp Ground outside of Dover Tennessee. As luck would have it Lewis, KF4WK and Doc, NV4T came along with me to camp before our C.A.T.S., KF4L club get together. The weather was a little windy but we had high hopes of a clear day for the Saturday event. Piney Camp Ground is a regular stop for the Flying Pigs it seems as it is very ham radio friendly. One of the camp hosts and his wife are ham radio operators. Al, K4RRO and his wife have made it a great camping adventure and are very interested in ham radio of all sorts. Al had mentioned that he needed help setting up his new station to work RTTY, PSK 31 and Slow Scan TV. So on Friday after we set up camp and tossed a wire antenna into the trees Doc and I went over and made the necessary corrections to the programs that were needed by Al to get on the air. Lewis had stayed behind and was checking  out the digital modes on his K 3.

When Doc and I got back to camp Lewis was set up on the bench at camp and was sending what appeared to be CW with a CW paddle into his K 3 and the K 3 was converting the CW to RTTY. Wow what a radio. It also converts to almost all of the other digital modes using input from a CW paddle. We sat down beside Lewis and began to give him a bad time about using digital instead of CW so Lewis changed the radio back to CW and we sat around and talked about the 40 meter band and the QSB and QRM. The antenna we had up was a wire dipole cut for 40 meters CW. We decided to give it a try on 30 meters. We tuned up to 30 meters CW and heard KB4JR on 10.108 calling CQ. Well not being shy when it comes to a good QSO, Doc got on and called him back. KB4JR, Bernie was in Lake Wales Florida and was a solid 599. His report to us was also a 599. He was running a big 100 watts and was pleased with our 5 watts from a camp ground.  Doc tuned around and found KU3X, Barry in  Bethlehem, PA. Barry was also a solid 599 into the K 3. He was on his ICOM 703 running 5 watts. Our signal was a 579 also with 5 watts. Boy QRP sure is fun..... Barry said he has video on U-tube with him working CW from his rig so if you get a chance look him up.  Now Doc got up and let me give it a try. I sat down and as

sorry lost story from here on.