Ninja QRP Op Evolution By Ron Polityka de WB3AAL
HistoryRon Polityka de WB3AALQTH is in the Reading, PA area.Married to Sue for 24 years.No kids but we have two cats,Louie and Scarlett, that act like kids.
Licensed as WN3AALJune of 1975Making QSO’s with QRP since June 1975I like to work CW, SSB, PSK31, and RTTY.I like to hunt States, Counties, DX, Lighthouses,and all kinds of awards.I also run contests with QRP.
I have been going out on theAppalachian Trail (AT) everymonth since March 2000with my QRP rigs.
On my 1st trip on the AT back inJuly 1975 I did not realize that I wasgoing to be know asthe Ninja QRP Op out on theAppalachian Trail.
Ron, WN3AAL, at the Pinnacle on the AT in July 1975. Rig was the Heathkit HW7, homebrew antenna tuner with long wire and a car battery.QSO was with a station in Key West, FL.
Back on 2 Sept. 2000,Ed de WA3WSJ and I were outat the Shikellamy Lookoutwhich is four miles west ofRte 183.
I asked Ed this question.Why are you calling me theNinja QRP Op? Ed’s response: You have the red bandana on and that makes you look like a Ninja.
The definition in theMerriam-Webster Dictionary. • a person trained in ancient Japanese martial arts and employed especially for espionage and assassinations • Conceal • Move stealthily
a person trained in ancient Japanese martial arts and employed especially for espionage and assassinations I don’t know any martial arts I am not a super secret agent doing espionage I don’t do assassinations, well maybe on the CW in real cold weather outdoors.
Conceal I do like to be concealed out on the AT with my radio gear. I do pick up trash that I find in the areas I visit. I like to never leave any trace that I was ever there.
Move Stealthily I like to hike quietly, you just never know what you will come upon out in the woods. I like to operate CW out on the AT because I wear head phones. Too much noise in the woods operating SSB.
Being know as the Ninja QRP OpI had to hone my skills.I first started out with big and bulky semi-portable radiostations.
Kenwood TS-50 @ 5 wattsTimewave DSP-599zxMFJ-971 TunerWhiterook Products MK-65MB Red KeyerPoqet PC for logging"Killer Vertical" as per QST June 1999 with 50 feet of ladder line
Ten-Tec Argonaut 515 @ 5 Watts / 7.0 Ahour battery solar charged by a Uni-Solar USF-5 Flexible solar panel with a Solsum 5.0X solar controller. I was using the Poqet PC for keying and logging on Log Jr-EQF. I had the MFJ Portable Tuner MFJ-971 into a "Killer Vertical" as per QST June 1999 with 25 feet of ladder line.
As you can see three months later out on the AT I still did not learn anything. But I got a chance to see a new Elecraft K2 in action.
In August of 2000 I finally got a chance to operate a K2.The hook was set and this fish took it deep.
It wasn’t until January of 2002 until I finally purchased an ElecraftK2. I was still using the Poqet PC for logging and CW keying. It neverhurts to have a little Wild Spirit out when on the AT with good friends.
I finally built my K1 and took it out June 16, 2002.The Ninja QRP Op is honing his skills.
In late 2003 I finely decided to start using a good portable antenna that needed no trees for supports. I purchased a VBWFPA ( a.k.a. Black Widow Vertical) from Ed, WA3WSJ. I still use the prototype on my trips to the AT today.
On 28 August 2004 the Bethel Troop #489 was hiking up a trail off of Rte 183 to a area on the AT that had a pond. It was rumored that the Ninja QRP Op frequents the area.
To the surprise of the Bethel Troup #489 they stumbled upon the Ninja QRP Op. He greeted them into his camp and explained what Amateur Radio is all about.
Fast Forward to January 2005 The phone rang in the winter hiding place of the Ninja QRP Op. The voice was a familiar one. Ed, WA3WSJ, asked me if I would like to be part of a group that would go out on Full Moon nights on the Appalachian Trail. I responded Yes!! From that day on the Polar Bear group was formed.
The Four Original Polar Bears.(L to R)Mark NK8Q PB #4 / Ed K3YTR PB #3ED WA3WSJ PB #2Ron WB3AAL PB #1 (a.k.a. Ninja QRP Op)
Polar Bears agreement: All Polar Bears will operate in the following months during the Full Moon. October November December January February March
The Polar Bears will operate their QRP radiosduring the selected night or weekendof the Full Moon. They usually operate between the hours of 19:00 thru 23:59 UTC.
The past few months I have been playingaround with different survival skills.FYBO 2007
Basic tools to start a fire. Knife or multi-tool Lint from your clothes or dryer Magnesium Fire Starting Tool Dry brush or leaves Dry twigs Dry wood
Over the years the Ninja has settled into his basic station setup. Elecraft K1 S.N. 1011 Four bands 40, 30, 20 and 15 meters Automatic Antenna Tuner built-in Black Widow Vertical with 25 feet of RG8X coax Paddlette PK1 Key Palm with PortaLog program Lithium Polymer Battery Pack 14.8 V @ 550 mAh
The Ninja QRP Op Log Stats I am out ever month since March 2000 84 Months out on the AT 776 QSO’s at the present time 46 States worked 21 Countries worked Time spent out on the AT and the people I meet . . . Priceless!
A Special Thank You goes out the following person who could not be here today. She put up with my hobby for the past 24 years and hopefully another 24 more. My wife and companion. Sue Polityka
To follow the Ninja QRP Op and Polar Bear Group Visit the EPA QRP Club at www.n3epa.org
72 Thanks for listening to mystory about the Ninja QRP Op onthe Appalachian Trail Ron Polityka de WB3AAL