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WQ4RP KnightLites Field Day 2017 Invitation

WQ4RP KnightLites Field Day 2017 Invitation

The KnightLites cordially invite you to consider joining us for ARRL Field Day 2017 from the lovely Blue Ridge Mountains in western North Carolina.  The WQ4RP FD site is located in the Shining Rock Wilderness area, which is part of the Pisgah National Forest.

This wilderness area is named after the shiny micaceous rock outcropping in the top center of the photo below.


Looking toward Shining Rock from Black Balsam Knob

The KnightLite’s FD site is accessed via Black Balsam Road, which tees into the Blue Ridge Parkway near BRP mile marker 420, about an hour’s drive SW of Asheville.  Once you turn off of the Parkway onto Black Balsam Road, continue straight for about two miles until the road ends at the parking lot.

The FD site is accessed via the Sam Knob Trail.  Look for the Sam Knob trail marker near the NW  corner of the parking lot

Sam Knob Trail Marker at Parking Lot

Sam Knob Trailhead at Parking Lot

The trail from the parking lot to the FD site is about 1/3 mile long and is mostly level with some washed out spots. Hiking boots are strongly recommended.

Sam Knob Trail 

The WQ4RP FD site is located in a large, gently sloping area just to the left of the trail.  Big Sam Knob is seen in the background.


Field Day Specifics:

When:  June 24-25, 2017

Where:  Near Sam Knob — see coordinates below

Parking Lot:  35.325781    -82.882105

FD Site:          35.327142    -82.885440

KnightLites FD Callsign: WQ4RP

ARRL FD Class: 4A Battery   (4 HF Stations + 1 VHF+ Station)

                                                                          KL FD 2017 Band Captains

Band Captains will supply a 100′ extension cord for each station that requires generator power

100% Battery Powered Stations (Rig and Computer) are exempted from this requirement

15M/80M   CW/SSB     N4HAY

20M             CW/SSB     WF4I/AB4PP

40M             CW               WA4GIR                          

40M             SSB              KD4PBJ

VHF+          CW/SSB      KC4PHJ/W4CX

Generator Crew

The generator crew members will supply an A/C power strip for each generator

N4HAY      Honda EU1000 Generator + Power Strip

WA4GIR   Honda EU1000 Generator  + Power Strip

AA4XX      Honda EU1000 Generator  + Power Strip

Battery Class Definition

During a recent FD meeting, our Band Captains expressed the desire for our operation to be categorized as a battery powered entry.

In keeping with the ARRL rules, ALL radios will be running under 100% battery power for the duration of FD.   Logging computers may be run under generator power as long as they are not interfaced to the radios for rig control.  If any CW station decides to key their radio via computer, they must power their computer with battery power.  There is no problem running lights or other peripherals under generator power.

Other Considerations

  • This outing falls into the category of primitive camping
  • There is a odiferous pit toilet adjacent to the parking lot
  • Consider bringing a small shovel and baby wipes as an alternative to the above
  • Bring hand sanitizer or soap, as communal hygiene is important for our mutual well being
  • Expect the parking area to be near capacity–Carpooling is encouraged
  • There is no provision for oversized vehicle parking at the parking lot
  • Typical daytime temp mid 60’s F; night time around 50F or lower–Bring layered clothing
  • It can get downright cold at night, especially if the weather turns rainy.  Dress appropriately
  • Prepare your tent for wind and thunderstorms–bring rain suit for yourself and ground tarp for your tent
  • Sun protection is important at this elevation–hat, sunscreen, long sleeve shirt, long pants
  • The path can get quite rocky in areas–Good, comfortable boots are strongly recommended
  • Headlamp necessary at night
  • Leave food in vehicle–All food taken to campsite must be placed in bearproof canisters
  • No campfires are allowed in the wilderness area.  Campstoves are OK.
  • FD site has tall dew laden grass thru Noon and some blackberry briers
  • Bring your own food and plenty of water, both for drinking and for personal hygiene


More info will be posted as we get closer to FD weekend.


KnightLite’s FYBO 2017

KnightLite’s FYBO 2017

Each year at this time, the the Arizona ScQRPions sponsor the Freeze Your Buns Off QRP Sprint.

Stations who set up in colder environments receive higher points multipliers:

Temperature: 65F=x1, 50-64F=x2, 40-49F=x3, 30-39F=x4, 20-29F=x5,<20F=x6

A small group of hearty KnightLites braved the cold temperature using the KnightLite’s Club Call, WQ4RP.

Rob K3COD and Joe WA4GIR were operating 40M and 20M respectively upon my arrival at Harris Lake State Park near Raleigh, NC.  The temperature on Joe’s thermometer was reading 37F, which provided a points multiplier of 4.  Both stations were using inverted vees supported by nearby pine trees.


Rob K3COD and Joe WA4GIR Operating FYBO 2017

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WQ4RP Lightning Protection System

WQ4RP Lightning Protection System

Having witnessed firsthand what lightning can do to a completely unprotected station, I decided to do things differently when the time came to rebuild the Excalibur Site.

The following photo is from a lightning strike that entered the shack five years ago via a balanced feedline.  There was no grounding system in place, so the lightning energy flowed through a wall stud and an ARRL Antenna Handbook on the book shelf on its way to ground.  The wall stud burned almost completely through, and the thick handbook was turned to fine ash.  The building was subsequently dismantled.

lightning strike at AA4XX radio shack turns ARRL Antenna Handbook into powdery ash

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Knightlites Excalibur Site Gets a New Radio Shack

Knightlites Excalibur Site Gets a New Radio Shack

A few months ago, Dick N4HAY, Richard N4PBQ, and I spent a number of hours cleaning up the remains of the original Excalibur radio shack, a site that has hosted many QRP events over the past ten years.   As some of you may recall, The original shack was substantially damaged by a direct lightning strike during the Fall of 2011.

Moving forward, we are pleased to report that a fairly large supply of building material was delivered to the KnightLite’s Excalibur antenna site on Jan 1, 2016.


Excalibur building materials delivered

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