Surfin': Contesting for the Fun of It
June is my favorite month for contesting because the weather in these parts is finally good enough to operate outdoors.
ARRL Field Day, of course, is the big outdoor event at the end of the month, but I always tried to make the June VHF QSO Party -- which is this weekend -- an outdoor event, too. I would spend Saturday rigging up a portable beam antenna, often from wood and straightened wire hangers and then install my 144 MHz transceiver du jour in my means of transportation du jour.
I have had a few 144-MHz transceivers that I cannot account for them all, but I am sure the first one I contested portably was a Heathkit HW-30, better known as the "Twoer" that I bought second hand from N1ID when he was WA1EXE. The Twoer was a crystal-controlled AM transceiver with a superregenerative receiver.
The only thing "super" about the receiver was its name. Its front end was as broad as the proverbial barn door, so two or three strong signals could fill all four megacycles of the 2 meter band. But it was my first VHF radio and I did not know any better, so I made a go of it calling CQ contest" from various high points around my hometown, Waterbury, Connecticut.
I contacted all the locals and even managed to work some "DX" from the Northern New Jersey Section 100 miles away. Religiously on Monday morning, I would mail my log of 10 or so contacts to ARRL Headquarters and wait patiently for the results to appear in QST. Although I was not the most competitive station on the air, I had a lot of enthusiasm and had a lot of fun!
By the way, check out The RigPix Database for photos and data about your old Amateur Radio and SWL equipment. The Web site has been live since 2000 and has amassed an impressive collection of information.
Until next time, keep on surfin'!
Editor's note: Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU, wishes he had not given away his "Benton Harbor Lunchbox" for "a song." Likewise, his editor, S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA, wishes she still had her Bugaloos lunch box. To ask Stan what he plans to do with his dust collectors, send him e-mail or add comments to his blog. By the way, every installment of Surfin' is indexed here, so go look it up.
Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU