Making Bacon on Pollard Road, Rails to Trails




Greetings from the Flying Pigs North Central Tennessee Chapter. Myself John, KM6NN, Lewis, KF4WK and DOC, NV4T are out and about spreading radio cheer and bacon fat in Clarksville Tennessee. Today we are setting up at the end of Pollard Road in Clarksville Tennessee where our city is developing a walkway system for local citizens to get out and enjoy the beauty of our local outdoors. The construction program is called Rail to Trails and is a hot item with the local citizens. The whole story can be read at:

We first got our fill of coffee and bacon fat at the local dough-nut shop and then headed out for our operating site. Traffic at the trail head was more than I expected for a week day morning but when we pulled up and started unloading equipment we soon found a parking spot right next to where we wanted to set up our station. While Lewis and Doc set up the table and radio I got out the antennas and started looking for a good location that would not create too much of a hazard for the foot and bike traffic. First I put up my Mystery Antenna from K5GI. This antenna is a good all around antenna that tunes to several bands with little effort. The antenna went up in a flash and came down about just as fast. It seems I did not reinforce my connection on one leg of the antenna and it came down right onto Lewis and a couple of fellow hams who were checking out our Flying Pigs bacon. Paul, KC8LJG and Dick, KF4NFE were sitting in their truck talking to Lewis and  the antenna came down right on Lewis. No harm to him but my face got real red and I had to brake out another antenna to replace the Mystery Antenna..... Lucky for me I carry several wire antennas for just this kind of emergency. With the other antenna up in the air we set down to business and first thing we had several citizens come up to us and start asking questions. Not about what we were doing on the radio but questions about the trail and when it is closing and how far does it go and in what direction. With that kind of QRM around we thought we would be doing more talking and less operating but about that time Clarksville's finest showed up and started to answer all their questions. I love that feeling of protection you get when the police arrive.

Now down to business... I got on first and after tuning the antenna on Lewis' K 3, I had no problem with a strong 599 signal from W9ZN, Bill in Chicago. Our signal was 579 running 5 watts. Bill on the other hand was running 1 KW. Boy it is amazing what 5 watts will do. Next up Doc scanned the band on 40 meters and found WB3AAI, Lewis in Sandy Ridge, PA. Lewis was running 40 watts into a K 2 and gave us FB on the K 3 with great audio. Lewis is retired and works a lot of CW. To bad he is wasting 35 watts... ha.... At the same time Doc signed with Lewis we got a call from WA3ZBJ, Don he gave us a 559 signal report. His signal was 579 from New Bethlehem, PA. Don was looking for us on the air because Lewis, KF4WK had emailed Don that we would be flying around on 40 meters. Don is also a Flying Pig and works a lot of low power CW. He also was running 5 watts from his location.

After a brake to answer a few QRM type questions from a few hikers it was my turn to crank up the K 3 and get some more fat on the fire. I found AA5KV, John in Shreveport, LA. He gave us a 559 with solid copy and he was a solid 599 on our end. John was expecting rain at his home QTH but the sun was out for now and he was making the best of it with his Ten Tec radio running 70 watts into a grounded half loop up 33 feet. Close to the end of our QSO we started getting some QSB on the air. Not to mention a little QRM from the foot traffic. I turned the radio over to Doc and he gave 20 meters a try. Lots of high speed CW going on in lower part of the band and Doc gave it a try. Just happens that the operator we heard best was in Serbia. YU1UN, Dragan was sending about 30 words per minute and holding a good QSO with G0VQW. So much for 20 meters. After that we answered questions about radio to several citizens who after hiking down the trail came back and  seeing we were still around they came over and we let them know how the fat hit the fire and how much fun radio is. What a day.... it does not get much better than this...... Thanks for reading our little story and give CW a try it is loads of fun....

72, from the Flying Pigs of Clarksville....

John, KM6NN