QRP at the Train Station

It started again with Lewis-KF4WK in Clarksville, TN talking about an e-mail he received from fellow QRP-err who is interested in putting TRAIN STATIONS on the air QRP style. You know me I just can’t wait to start any new QRP project. So as it happens I was going to visit my sons in SPRINGDALE, AR for a week.  As always I am running with my ICOM 706 radio for 2 meters and for HF. This rig is just the ticket for doing just what I was about to do.

On a Monday, May 4th. I set out on a 9 hour drive for Springdale AR, with rain in the forecast and my radio warming up as I traveled Inter State 40 headed toward a new QRP adventure. I arrived in the late afternoon had to wait to go downtown to look around.  The next day I went to the old part of town and what a surprise to find a real operating train station ( The Arkansas and Missouri line is active and they travel between Springdale Arkansas and Ft. Smith Arkansas on a regular basis. They also have a lunch trip that goes to Van Buren Arkansas two times a week. When I went into the Railway Express Agency office I talked with the Passenger Train Operations Manager Brenda Brown. She listened to my story about QRP with a smile and said that the Conductor of the train was also a ham radio operator and that I should talk to him. She introduced me to Joe Dunn (KD5TLH) who was setting up for the weekly lunch run to Winslow TN,  the next day.

Joe was a wealth of information and was happy to show me around the train while talking about a new group he formed for special event stations that would work trains while moving down the tracks. Also Joe talked about an article in March of 08 QST which talked about the Arkansas and Missouri Railroad on the air. Now I was getting excited with all this radio talk so after finding out that Joe was planning a special event SSB trip on the train (W5T – on 14260) on Memorial Day I could not wait to set up my antenna and get on the air. I thanked Joe for all the information and went looking for a place to set up and talk with Lewis-KF4WK and Doc-NV4T back in Clarksville TN. After finding a good spot to set up I strung my DSP3+ for 20 meters ( antenna page) and waited for Lewis to give me a call on the phone to let me know he was home and on the air.

While waiting I tuned around the band on 40 meters and listened to KA4WQO talk with KB5KGD. Next I heard KC8BYF and KE9VTM talk about the standard radio traffic. Cool the antenna was working. Too bad the conditions were not working as good to Tennessee. After hearing from Lewis on the phone I called and called and called but no reply. I gave Lewis a quick call on the phone and he said that he was calling me also but could not hear a sound when he listened. You guessed it the conditions were not working for us. I then called a friend in California (N6NPG-TOM). We got on the air and not only was 40 dead but 20 was just as dead. So much for the old radio try…….. Oh well another day and the conditions will be just right. So long for now from KM6NN-John the traveling Ham, taking QRP to the world.

 72 John Skaggs KM6NN Clarksville TN and around.