[CQ-Contest] Rabbits and Love Bugs and the K4FCG mobile saga - very long post!

Jim White, K4OJ k4oj at tampabay.rr.com
Tue Apr 29 05:28:30 EDT 2003

FQP Mobile Entries from K4FCG/M....and a long story - hit delete now or 
be sucked in!

Before we get too far along team K4FCG/M (K4OJ + N4KM) would like to 
extend our thanks to the following:

a)	N4OX (Fri.) and W4SO (Sat) who were kind enough to open their homes 
to us allowing us to crash in order to do such a lengthy route - 412 
counties in 1200 miles worth of road trip - plus the drives up and 
afterward - total mileage around 1600!

b)	W1YL for a cooler full of pop and sandwiches so we could keep running 
- not exactly like you can go through the drive through with ham sticks 
above an SUV!

c)	The entrants in the FQP who keep us coming back for more each year - 
your following us and working us whenever we go into a new a county is 
great... love those initial pileups!

Day One:

QSOs    Mults	Claimed Score			 Running total
30	14	1,680	ESC 	ESCAMBIA	30
33	18	2,376	SAN 	SANTA ROSA	63
36	18	2,698	OKA 	OKALOOSA	99
27	17	1,802	WAL 	WALTON		126
29	16	1,856	HOL 	HOLMES		155
26	16	1,664	WAG 	WASHINGTON	181
46	25	4,500	JAC 	JACKSON		227
39	17	2,618	GAD 	GADSDEN		266
35	18	2,484	LEO 	LEON		301
34	19	2,508	JEF 	JEFFERSON	335
40	24	3,744	MAD 	MADISON		375
29	19	2,166	SUW 	SUWANNEE	404
28	18	1,944	CLM 	COLUMBIA	432
44	26	4,524	BAK 	BAKER		476
36	23	3,220	NAS 	NASSAU		512
47	30	5,640	DUV 	DUVAL		559
54	30	6,480	CLA 	CLAY		613
43	25	4,300	PUT 	PUTNAM		656
40	26	4,056	FLG 	FLAGLER		696
47	30	5,520	VOL 	VOLUSIA		743
59	29	6,844	BRE 	BREVARD		802
21	15	1,230	IDR 	INDIAN RIVER	823
47	25	4,700	STL 	ST. LUCIE	870
34	18	2,448	MRT 	MARTIN		904

Day Two:
60	27	6,426	DAD 	MIAMI - DADE	964
74	32	9,344	MON 	MONROE		1038
115	41	18,778	CLR 	COLLIER		1153
63	32	7,036	LEE	LEE 		1216
49	26	5,096	CHA 	CHARLOTTE 	1265
65	31	7,998	SAR 	SARASOTA	1330
49	28	5,432	MTE 	MANATEE		1379
49	28	5,432	PIN 	PINELLAS	1428
54	29	6,032	HIL 	HILLSBOROUGH	1482
54	29	6,148	POL 	POLK		1536
71	35	9,730	LAK 	LAKE		1607
42	26	4,316	SUM 	SUMTER		1649
58	23	5,290	HER 	HERNANDO	1707
97	46	16,928	CIT 	CITRUS		1804
72	32	9,216	MAO 	MARION		1876
50	29	5,626	LEV 	LEVY		1926
73	34	9,860	ALC 	ALACHUA		1999

219,690	points total claimed score for the Seffner Amateur Radio Club 

...can you believe it, 1999 claimed QSOs - and our goal was 2,000 - talk 
about being on target!

1999 qsos is a rate of 100/hour :-) - or - about 49 QSOs/County... or 
1.667 QSO's per mile!

Hottest counties as far as rate were the last two where a pro rated rate 
of 176 and 175 per hour was attained - I knew I was cross eyed waiting 
for the final bell so we could find me a rest room, but did not 
anticipate my sense of urgency to translate into that much of an ensuing 

Some of the trip highlights:

Fri. PM on the way North telling friends to look for W1YL this weekend.

N4OX's cats and the laser pointer "toy"

Sat AM brunch with N4OX and NF4A before the party had begun!

Wondering if our last QSO would be with W1END, while he was our last QSO 
in one county, our final QSO of the weekend was with K3TW

Turning down an unmarked road and hoping it was that back road that 
leads to Monroe county... no street signs, no county line marker, but 
there was a pavement change...and a little further on there was a "you 
are here map" and sure enough I had guessed right and we were on thE 
road into Monroe from Alligator Alley - only to find out as I crept down 
it that it changed from poorly maintained asphalt to crushed shell/rock 
and that we would have to do a u-turn and then park 'til the deserving 
thinned out....

Hearing many say thanks for the sweep to N4KM when we activated Monroe 
early Sunday AM - old FQP sweep record was roughly mid day Sunday

Telling N4KM to hold up for a minute when we were in MONROE, I heard 
something - a station off to the side in HIL/Hillsborough was off the 
side of the filter - realizing it was my Mom, and she WAS using the 
contest software... and she was running 'em

Dodging alligator and turtle while in the "big cypress" Everglades area 
- dodging even more turkey vultures feasting on road kill along 
Alligator Alley

Just when we thought the colder wx meant fewer problems with Love Bugs 
this year suddenly finding ourselves alongside a convoy of Volkswagens 
that stretched all the way across the Sunshine Skyway in Pinellas - 
including of course plenty of, you guessed it Love Bugs!  Plenty of VW 
buses, dude - and despite our efforts to avoid the Miami Airport's 
Rabbit explosion - there we were alongside you guessed it: Rabbits!  And 
there were "Things" and Dune Buggies...according to the local paper 
there were hundreds of VW drivers in the "convoy" - they took up the 
right lane all the way across the Skyway!

Having WA3HAE ask us to go up to sideband and then me picking up my cell 
  phone - squeezing the volume button thinking it was the PTT button on 
the mike, talking into the phone - which was plugged into the cigarette 
lighter and had a curly cord on the back of it, too...    I lost it - 
'HAE then asked what was so funny and I told him that I tried to call 
him on my cell phone - we agreed that those frequencies were NOT allowed 
in the FQP rules!  Then having N4KM accuse me of being a phone lid!

Having KU8E call us in Hillsborough and realizing we were headed for 
each other - going opposite directions on I-4 - quickly QSYing to work 
each other bands, including our only 10 meter contact of the weekend!

The computer interface between the laptop and the IC706 and NA software 
all working so well - only a few instances of the gear balking all 
weekend long - try sending fast CW manually when you are driving the 
less than properly maintained alligator alley!

The building crescendo of rate at the end of the contest...only to have 
it come and then totaling the qsos realizing we had hit our mark for the 

Reports on our signal varied with some saying were you parked by a lake 
in Citrus County - you were really loud there - to, you should find out 
what "______" was using and do what they did - "______" being a 
different station depending on the reporter!

Wow.... then finding out Mom had made 400 QSOs and computer logged them 
all - this was a banner weekend!

On a personal note:

Several years ago I got an e-mail from K9UIY telling me that there was a 
guy moving to Florida and that I should look him up... site unseen I 
asked him to join me in the FQP and we haven't missed one since... that 
guy is Kevin, N4KM and our friendship has grown a lot since that first 
FQP.  Kevin has engineered his SUV really well and the trip is smooth as 
silk in it - sure the contest going on helps the time go by, but the 
exchanged laughs and "optional phonetics" for callers-in are a hoot. I 
look forward to our FQP weekend each year with great anticipation, we 
have a blast.

Ham radio plays a very large role in my life, and at the forefront is 
contesting which has made me many friends - and a few enemies (who for 
some reason do not like seeing my e-mails!)

In two weeks time the main man behind the FQP, K1TO, will be inducted 
into the Contesting Hall of Fame along with N6RO - and another contester 
N6TR will be the Hamvention Ham of the Year....

Before I was even licensed I saw this same kind of excitement about 
contesting when my parents helped form a contest club in New England 
called Murphy's Marauders...today my Mom is using contesting software 
that contains algorithms she wrote about in QST about 50 years ago!

The next time somebody tells you contesting and contesters are not 
politically correct you remind them of the longevity of the contesting 
spirit... how can you help but love this stuff!


Jim, K4OJ

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