Mark's PBMME Report:

NK8Q

Here is my log:

Date UTC Freq Call Mode MY HIS Exchange
7 Feb-09144120mW0NTACW559559CO 5W 68F DICK
7 Feb-09183820mWA4RMLCW559579TX 5W 66F ANDY
7 Feb-09184420mW0RWCW579579CO 5W 27F PAUL
7 Feb-09185020mK7TQCW559559ID 5W 35F RANDY
7 Feb-09185420mN4BPCW559559FL 5W 65F BOB
7 Feb-09190240mN3AOCW599599VA 5W 57F CARTER
7 Feb-09191340mK2HPVCW599579NJ 5W 73F HERB
7 Feb-09193620mW7DKCW559559WA 3W 39F RICK
7 Feb-09194840mK4JSICW559579MD 5W 50F CAL
7 Feb-09195440mCF3RCHCW579559ON 2W 25F MARTIN
7 Feb-09200240mWA0ITPCW559559IA 5W 67F TERRY
7 Feb-09200940mN4PGWCW559579NC 5W 66F BUCK
7 Feb-09233580mAC4XOCW559559VA 5W 59F BEN
7 Feb-09233980mAA1MYCW559559ME 5W 66F SEAB

I was in the Frankenmuth, MI area for my grandfather's funeral which was on Thursday.  Temperatures on Wednesday and Thursday morning were below zero (low temp of -13 F not counting the wind chill of the stiff northern winds) and were 5 degrees at the gravesite (I was a pallbearer).  Yup, about the same as 4 years ago for my grandmother at the same gravesite, although it may have been about 10 degrees warmer that day.  Too bad the temps didn't hold for one or two more days! I figured there would be a better chance for colder temps in Michigan that my home QTH in PA, but I guess I was wrong (otherwise I would have been operating with or near Ron, WB3AAL).

As can be seen from my log above I had three operating times with lots of off time in between (for family activities).  I was operating from my parent's farm in Michigan, just outside of the tourist town of Frankenmuth.  Friday afternoon I spent some time with the help of my father to string up a Mystery Antenna (3/2 wavelength colinear dipole on 20m that works well on 80m also) between two of the toolsheds, about 25′ above ground (not as high as I would like but there weren't any taller support structures).  Friday temperatures were still in the upper 20's and low 30's but that doesn't count for the multiplier unfortunately.   There was only a slight breeze on Friday while Saturday there was at least 30 mph winds from the south pushing warm temperatures northward.   I was glad I didn't try to put the antenna up on Saturday morning with the wind!  Saturday morning I also put up a BW31 vertical for 40m.  It sure was bending over and whipping around in the wind, but the Jackite 31′ pole held up fine.

I brought my Elecraft K2 with me but since the temperatures were so warm, even at 1400Z when I thought I might have an advantage to have colder temps but that didn't work out as it was 44 degrees F in the early morning already, so I cranked the power down to 1W to get the QRPp multiplier.  I was pleased with every QSO, and again amazed on the many comments like "FB with UR 1W".  I was quite pleased also to work many Polar Bears for the FYBO as the Polar Bear Moonlight Madness Event was concurrent (later in the day) with FYBO, two activities which compliment each other well.  For those of you not yet familiar with the Polar Bears, check out our Yahoo Group and www.n3epa.org (follow the Polar Bear links).  Working Paul, W0RW/PM on Pikes Peak was one of my favorite QSOs.  Later working Martin, CF3RCH, who is usually /PM (at least for PBMME) was a thrill as well.

I wish I was able to operate longer, however based on some comments it sounds like band conditions were not so swell, so maybe I didn't miss much.  Still, I would have liked to have a few more QSOs.  Oh well, there is always next year (or next month for another PBMME) and all things considered with the family obligations I'm lucky I could operate at all!

I also forwarded a photo of the event which may be posted on the FYBO Results web page.  It showed that there *really* was snow at the Michigan QTH. The snow bank in the foreground was a 3′ drift the day before, only about 1-1/2' at 9:30 AM (1430Z) and fairly non-existent by the end of the day due to the high winds and record breaking 49 degree temperatures (although I was reporting 50 degrees according to my thermometer).  By Sunday the fields in the background were mostly bare while on Friday we had been out with the farm tractor pulling an antique "one horse open sleigh" (well, 60 HP open sleigh, I guess).  The grandkids (my nephews) got a real kick out of it and my XYL enjoyed it as well, but for me it brought back fond memories of my childhood (when it was pulled by a snowmobile).  Couldn't have done that on Saturday or since!

It was nice working several Polar Bears as well, and some Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr's were exchanged. I was disappointed to not work WA8REI since we were so close to each other, however.  Well, Ken, thanks for the invite anyway!

73,

Mark, NK8Q