Trains, Rain and QRP

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Greetings from the Flying Pigs of North Central Tennessee.

 We are out and about again and this time from the caboose of the L & N Train Station located at the Montgomery County Historical Society Train Station here in Clarksville, Tennessee.  KF4WK-Lewis and I KM6NN-John operated from this location during the summer and man was it hot.
Always on the look out for places to operate from our group of Flying Pigs were discussing operations sites when Lewis mentioned that the caboose at the L&N Train Station here in Clarksville had recently been renovated. It was voted on and decided that we should give the caboose a look see and find out a little more about using it for a Flying Pig outing. We checked with the President of the Historical Society, Sandra Stacey and found out that we needed to go to one of their meetings and give our pitch on using the facility. Lewis and I went to the meeting and talked with the board. After much explanation and deliberation the board gave us permission to use the caboose for our outing.
It took us a little time to get back to the board as other outings took up our time. But in the first part of December Lewis mentioned that it was about time to take the plunge and on an outing at the train station. All present thought it was a great idea and a date and time was set. Lewis made the connection with Sandra Stacey and let her know our intent. She was glad to hear we were finally taking advantage of the facility and our plans were set for operating on December 15, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. local time. We all agreed to meet for breakfast before hand and then move over to the train station. We left the breakfast meeting place after a great breakfast and in rail road car style ventured over to the train station. Terry wanted to use his new Buddy Pole on this outing and we wanted to get it up before it started to rain too hard. This was our first outing with his Buddy Pole and we were excited to check it out for our portable operations.
Terry-N5HOT also agreed to bring his radio set up of a KX3 and assorted gadgets to make the station operational. I brought along my Yaesu FT 817ND .
The weather for the day called for rain but we had no fear since the caboose is water tight and along side the engine and caboose there is a very nice cover that was used in the original operation of the train station.
As soon as we arrived it started to rain. A light mist came down as we unloaded the radio and other gear from N5HOT's Jeep. KF4WK-Lewis and I got the paperwork done inside with Sandra and picked up the key to the caboose. NV4T-Doc, and KX6F-John waited for us to get things ready so they could get in out of the rain. As we worked to put up the Buddy Pole several other operators and wanna be Flying Pigs began to show up. KF4WV-Charlie and KT4FQ-Jim arrived as we hooked up the radio and set up the operating station. As soon as the antenna was up it began to rain harder. Just in time we were on the air and out of the steady rain that fell over the station. The caboose is a great operating location and has almost all the comforts of home. Thanks again to the Historical Society Board for allowing us to use such a great and historic location for our radio adventure.
A quick scan of the 40 meter band found many stations in QSO's with other hams. Most were rag chew type QSO's that we were not interested in waiting to be over so we could make a contact. So we decided to give the Buddy Pole a test and see if it would load up on 20 meters. Yep the KX3 did the trick and the Buddy Pole was on the air on 20 meters. I searched around and called about seven or eight stations with 9A calls who were working the Croatian contest ( but none of them could hear my 5 watt signal. Finally I heard AA3B-Joseph in Boyertown, PA who heard my call. He gave us a check number of 302 and I gave him 001. He had been working the contest hard and was sounding great from our KX3. A little down the band I found K2TQC-William in Jamesville, NY. After looking around a little more I gave the comm over to N5HOT-Terry. Terry searched but came up short on most of our calls. Terry then found a guy sending CW with what sounded like a straight key. He called in Doc who is our straight key op and Doc made a great QSO with K1LZ-Krassimir in Natick, Massachusetts. Man on 5 watts that is a great contact. While waiting for Doc to find another contact I watched Terry install the battery charger into Lewis's KX3. Man this guy can work anywhere. It went in without a hitch and all is well for Lewis. Doc looked around but could not find anyone who would come back to our call so I took over again and went back to 40 meters. Little did I know that when I heard W8NZW calling CQ that I would become involved in a 18 minute QSO. W8NZW-Eddy in Grand Rapids, Michigan was coming in strong and his report was a solid 599. Ours was a little 559 with QSB but our QSO lasted for a little longer than most of our Flying Pig contacts. Eddy is in his 90's and was born in 1919. He stays in most of the time and has a great outlet in CW. I had a great time during our QSO and was glad to make such a interesting contact. That is what radio is all about. As I was operating we had a visitor who was looking for a Geocache. John from Clarksville came into the caboose looking for his cashe and got an intro to ham radio CW. He is in the Army and stationed at Fort Campbell Kentucky. He spends some of his off duty time looking for Geocaches using his army map reading skills to find them. Another great hobby....and one that could someday save his life. After my QSO with Eddy we decided it was time to go QRT so we wrapped up our cords and took down the antenna and cleaned up around our caboose. We finished by locking up the caboose and taking the key back to Sandra Stacey our host. We had a great time and it was warm and dry. Not something the Flying Pig gang here in Clarksville is used too. Now that is funny.....

Thanks for reading our story and thanks again to the Montgomery county Historical Society of Clarksville for hosting such a great time. 72's for now from John-KM6NN and the whole Flying Pig Gang... dit dit

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