QRP That Wasn't




Hey guys this is kind of a joke story so if you don't want to use it no problem..... Having fun with radio.... John

Greetings from KM6NN, John in Clarksville Tennessee

This sad story starts with a happy beginning. My daughter called me in late September and told me that her and her husband wanted to take myself and the wife on a cruse to the Bahamas. The catch was that she was going to take the four grand kids (ages 18 months to 17 years) along. With that said I was all excited. I had never been on a cruse before. Let alone to the Bahamas where I envisioned working QRP from the ship and from the islands we were going to visit.

Being a country ham..... I set about getting myself a QRP rig that would use as little power needed and put out as good a signal as I could. I contacted NV4T, Doc on of my Flying Pig radio buddies. He has a FT 817 that I thought would fit the bill for the job I wanted to do. Sure enough he loaned me the rig and I went about finding a good wire antenna to use that would be easy to carry and easy to put up. Being able to use the boat as a ground for the rig had me all excited and with the ocean as my ground plain I was thinking QRP pile up....... I had the log book ready and all the paper I needed to keep track of the many QSO's I was ready to make. Now I started checking the web for information about my call in the Bahamas........ Oh no..... I find that I need to put my paperwork in as much as 3 months in advance and I have to pay money to get the call.... What a bummer..... Then to top it all off I check the web site of the cruse line I am on and it says
 in black and white..... NO HAM RADIO OPERATION...... Now I am really bummed out.... So this is just a reminder to all prospective ham operators that you need to do a little planning to get on the air while going to the islands... With that in mind I started thinking.... IF I WERE KING.... IF I WERE KING....

QST QST QST announcing a cruse to the Bahamas that is ham friendly and the story goes on from here.... Only 600 hams can apply for this cruse and you must put in your reservation six months in advance. XYL's and significant others are welcome. Attached to your request you must have a copy of your license so that a Bahama license can be obtained for you. The ship will be in operation as a Special Event station and operation of the ships radio from the radio room will be open to all licensed operators. Several modes of operation will be available including CW, RTTY, PSK 31, Domino, Field Hell, and Slow Scan TV. Both QRP and QRO operation is available.

On the first day of the cruse a weather balloon will be launched with a weather package and a special package for operation of a video down link and operating modes in slow CW, fast CW, RITTY, PSK 31, Domino, and Field Hell. Transmissions from the special package will start one half hour after the launch and will continue every half hour in the order listed above. Special information will be transmitted during each half hour that when copied will allow the person receiving the information to be eligible for special prizes while on board the cruse ship and while operating from designated areas in the islands.

During the second half of the first day an open sale of radio equipment from several sales companies and various QRP clubs will be conducted at the rear of the ships ballroom. A contest by the QRP clubs will be conducted to pick a transceiver for a building class that will be held on day two and three of the cruse. The first place will be picked by the boat captain who is an extra class ham radio operator. Those hams completing the transceiver will be allowed to stay overnight on Coco Coy island where antennas have been set up at private cabanas for QRP operation. During the overnight stay anyone who copies transmissions from the weather balloon will be eligible for special prizes during the return to home port in Florida.

Those hams not interested in building a radio can join games during the second and third day that involve identification of different radio modes of operation by sound transmitted over speakers near the pool area. Also a contest to identify call signs transmitted in high speed CW will be conducted in the same area. Prizes for right answers will be given away to those hams who participate. An antenna workshop will also be conducted during the evening of the second day at sea.

On the third day at sea a class in writing code in several computer languages will be conducted by  computer programmers from around the world. Computers will be supplied for this class and chips will be available for sale at the second half of day one during the sale of radio equipment.

Ham radio operators from the cruse and around the world will be eligible for special QSL cards from the cruse weather balloon if information is copied from the balloon and sent with their QSL card to the Special Event station call sign. Use of the ARRL Log Book of The World is encouraged but not mandatory.

During the trip home to Florida a full fledged BBQ will be held to commemorate the operation by all involved by cooking a FLYING PIG with all the fixings. What a fine end to a GREAT cruse.