This weekend is the Adventure Radio Society‘s annual Flight of the Bumblebees event. Amateur radio operators will be using portable low power stations from mountaintops, beaches, trails, parks, picnic tables, and backyards across North America. Many participants build their own equipment, either from kits or from scratch. Most stations are lightweight — a few pounds or even fractions of a pound — and yet many are capable of being heard thousands of miles away. All communication is CW (morse code) using no more than 5 watts.
This event was my excuse to learn morse code. I have some iPhone apps (Dah Dit and HamMorse) that I use to kill time on the subway, and after a few weeks of practice I can now send and receive at a beginner’s level of 5 words per minute. Experienced CW ops go a lot faster than this, but most will gladly slow down to accommodate a novice like myself. I’ve already made a couple of contacts on the air and I’m looking forward to making many more on Sunday.