I've been during a 1B Battery Field Day event since 1998. In the previous events, I used a Wilderness Radio Sierra QRP rig. The Sierra is a great backpacking rig with low current drain.
After last year's event, I decided to call it quits for 1B Battery operations because some of the thrill had worn off after 4 years. But, as James Bond would tell you, never say never. I purchased and build an Elecraft K2 transceiver from a kit. The K2 is a great rig. Although these rigs are built from kits, they have great specifications and features you find in commercial ham gear. For some photos of the rig and my notes about building it, see Benjy's K2.
The Sierra delivered from 3.5 watts down to 1 watt, depending on the band. The K2 provides up to 10 watts on all bands (I used 5 watts for Field Day to meet the requirements for the QRP category), and has a better receiver than the Sierra. So, I decided I had to do one last 1B Battery Field Day.
Besides using the K2, I went from one to three antennas. I used the double extended zepp (44' dipole fed with ladder line) that I used last year. It covers 40M through 10M. I added a wire tribander described in the November 2001 issue of QST. It worked well on 20M, 15M, and 10M. I also planned to put up an "L" for 80M, but I ran out of time. So, instead, I put up an end-fed 100' wire with about 1/3 of length at the far end being vertical and the rest being horizontal.
I solar charged a gel cell to use to get the natural power bonus, and I planned to operate the rest of the time using a 34 amp-hour.
This year was marked by several technical problems. First, I got a Low Battery alarm from the K2 after running a couple of hours on my 34 amp-hr deep cycle battery. It must have a bad cell. Fortunately, I had two gel cells that I used and recharged with my solar panel. For Sunday, I used some old UPS batteries that I had charged before Field Day for this type of emergency.
The second problem was the reflected power meter on my MFJunk QRP tuner wasn't working. I had a tuner setting for 40M on my double extended zepp, but it had very narrow bandwidth. It took me awhile to discover that I was running very high SWR on 40. On Sunday, I found a wider tuner setting for 40M and got the SWR meter working again. It's a little disappointing to have problems on 40M during Field Day.
I made about 233 Q's, the same as last year. I have bonus points for Emergency Power and Natural Power for a score of 2530.
The high point was I worked two famous stations: W1AW and K4VPI. (Note: There is a better picture of the wire beam on the K4VPI site.) And, best of all, it was great using the K2.
Thanks to N4GU for his help with the construction of the wire
tribander and thanks to Sue Ellen, KD4LQO, for photography and for with
help with setup.