What a wild Ride! FQP2013 was another terrific event and it seemed to draw
even more worldwide participation than last year.
First, the numbers:
Band QSOs Pts Mul
7 177 708 2
14 2445 9780 63
21 181 724 16
Total 2803 11212 81
Claimed score is actually a tad higher than last year due to additional
mults even though QSO's were down by about 150. Was shooting for 3000+
QSO's but that was not meant to be.
NX4N/m - Max Rates:
2013-04-27 2345Z - 7.0 per minute (1 minute(s)), 420 per hour by NX4N
(YIKES! Peaked at 429 for one brief moment)
2013-04-28 1826Z - 4.2 per minute (10 minute(s)), 252 per hour by NX4N
2013-04-28 2119Z - 3.3 per minute (60 minute(s)), 197 per hour by NX4N
The 10 and 60 min max rates were down a bit; I found the runs to be
sporadic (white hot then dipping into chirping crickets). The QRN seemed
higher this year even with better overall conditions.
Ok- I'm throwing down an FQP gauntlet - Perhaps next year we'll finally hit
the 'sweet spot' of superb band conditions for a full FQP period, I believe
a top cw rover/driver team could break 4000 QSO's (Dan/Ron- consider this
your challenge to get back on the road) :->
The NX4N/m 'Fun and Run' team started out the gate hot with our best start
ever = 66 Q's in the log after only 25 minutes from our annual CLR/MON/DAD
starting spot. Unfortunately we hit some butt-ugly construction down there
and it cost us some time we never could make back up. This translated to
poorer rates and fewer QSO's at the checkered flag. More on road status
The conditions were generally better this year- more EU and other DX
stations, more W/VE activity too and of course 20m was king. At the end of
counties I would alternate QSO's on 20/15 or 20/40; hope you mobile blood
hounds keep two-band S&P going next year; if we're not heard on 20m, then
check the other bands quickly! New County= back to 20m...
Other Top FQP Treats:
- Dave N2NL giving me a QSO from KH2 (tnx Dave!)
- An abundance of HI and HI stations (as in Hola! and Aloha!) - Gracias
- Growing, enthusiastic EU participation in FQP -
DL/SP/I/LY/OK/OE/G/SM/S5 and more all out in force. Thank you all and
please invite your friends next year!
- The /m 'groupies' - you folks know who you are - both W and VE
stations really make this party rock on our end. Talk about A1 Op's!
- Truly enjoyable events when I give someone a sweep. Please send me
'sweep' on cw instead of TU if I give you that last county - it's worth
taking a moment from the pileup to just celebrate your achievement together
- Top 10 Stations with highest #QSO's:
*Call* * QSOs
* *K9CT* *51* *K9NW* *46* *VE3KZ* *44* *K9PG* *41* *NS9I* *38* *VE1RGB
* *38* *K0RC* *34* *LY5A* *34* *N5WR* *34* *WA3HAE* *32
* Many many more stations with 10 or more QSO's- thank you all!
Now the snags:
We did have our struggles this year; driver 'Grand Prix' Lili had chronic
back pain that really made driving/sitting even more difficult than usual
(perhaps the FQP website should be updated to include some related
definitions such as 'SBS' for Square-Butt-Syndrome).
We also hit several road construction areas which slowed us down. The
worst was at our tri-county starting point which is in the swamp-
literally. It is 37 miles west of the Miami airport in the everglades on
the small, two-lane Tamiami trail (the original road that connected Tampa
and Miami, hence Tamiami). Usually it is a rough road in the sticks with
pot holes and no shoulders or emergency lanes- bad enough but it was even
worse this year...
Ever see the TV show 'Gator Boys'? Pretty cool show with some crazy dudes
catching nuisance alligators in south Florida. Well, I can report that the
show must be really popular because on this same little road, in just one
year since last FQP there have popped up no less than 4 major Air-boat Ride
Attractions. All of them were filled to overflowing with throngs of
people, cars and buses. All on this little swamp road built in the 1920's.
To make matters worse, the lil' ol' Tamiami Trail was being widened in both
directions so each direction of traffice takes painfully slow turns using
the single open lane. arrrrrgggggg...
Bottom line- it was a mess and we lost a pile of time and rate, but we hope
the road will be much better after the construction in time for next FQP.
We missed Duval the first night and the subsequent 2nd pass of Hillsborough
at the end Sunday due to the Gater-Boyz and other road construction
throughout the state. I noticed my rate took a real hit during the first
few hours - getting outta South FL took forever!
Still, we pressed on, remained positive and were blessed with minimal rain
and luv-bugs this year. At times I really thought we might have to pack it
in due to Lili's back and drive directly home Saturday night. To her great
credit, she hung in there and the next day went a bit easier for her. She
knew how much time I had taken to prepare for FQP and how much I looked
forward to it- and she was determined not to give in. A great contester in
her own way, and a real trooper. Thanks and big 88's Lili! :-)
Meanwhile of course I was having a ball - the non-stop pileups were just
amazing! It is so cool to put together a modest barefoot mobile station
and end up with pileups that feel like you're activating Kermadec.
On a side note-
This is the first time, for me anyway, that it seemed like FQP had grown in
worldwide popularity. Perhaps all of our big signal fixed stations and the
1x1 hunts the past couple of years have helped promote this activity. Wow-
FQP is starting to have the feel of a 'for-real' contest (perhaps part
mini-SS, part mini-ARRL DX). Did you get that feeling too?
I have been enjoying yet another aspect of FQP since January- antenna and
station prep. I have an advantage over others in that my 2002 Chevy
Suburban has 296,500 miles and still going strong - it is a real workhorse
and I have long since gotten over drilling holes in it. This makes it
really fun to experiment!!!
This year I increased the number of antenna hard mounts on the roof from
two to four and added six 3/8x24 ground lugs on the roof as well. Also
have plenty of braid installed between panels, engine block, chassis, etc.
I decided to just use the tried/true Hustler antennas along with a full
size 1/4 wave whip for 10m (big, bad whip nets zero qso's = tears).
It took me a bit but I got all of the antennas to work fine with low SWR
and good performance without interaction.
With the antennas set, I then focused on the one factor that probably
affects mobile signals the most- the ground plane. I mounted four 12-foot
fishing polls to the roof; two sticking out the front by six feet and two
sticking out the back in a similar manner. I then ran big loops of wire
through each set of poles and tied the ends to the roof, thus electrically
Some limited empirical testing showed 1-2 dB improvement but that is a very
hard number to really pin down; it did make the antenna appear somewhat
bidirection although not overly so.
I will send a picture in a separate email so you can see this contraption,
which rolled down the interstate without any issues and helped reel in the
signals. Lili did sweat a few strange looks by different county and state
police but no pullovers!
If nothing else, these extended ground loops created a psychological
advantage for the op ;->
Each year FQP just keeps getting more fun- I hope you enjoyed it as much as
me. A lot of that has to do with our organizers and our participants.
In closing, I’d like to thank Dan, Ron, Eric, Ron, Jeff and Chris of FCG
for making FQP such a fun event with a future that is as bright & sunny as
our state. You guys do such a terrific great job. I also want to thank
K0RC and NO5W for providing us with major big-time quality tools that
improve the FQP experience for all involved. Bob and Chuck, you guys are
Finally, a tip of the hat to our out of state friends who support FQP
through their loyal participation; you are just super folks and nearly all
of you also deserve recognition as superior operators. You did a great job
of QRQ, QRS, QRX, QRV, QSY, QSL, QSWho? and often put up with my QLF and
QRDeaf. Thank you for making it so much fun here in the Sunshine state; and
please encourage your friends to join the Party next year!
CU in FQP 2014!
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