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[QRP-L] Lobstercon2009! and 4DIJ (4 Days in July)

From: Rex Harper <w1rex@
Date: Jun 16 2009 – 4:51pm

QRP Gangue,

Lobstercon2009! is getting close and I’m now getting into the zone as registrations are coming in and arrangements need to be arranged… This will be the 10th year for Lobstercon and we are taking it one step further. We would love to have other QRP groups from across the country join in our fun. The Salmoncon guys out in Seattle were the first to join in. We have coordinated the timing of the 2 events for several years now. One of our biggest activities is trying to communicate with each other. Now if I could persuade several more QRP groups to join in and hold an get together on the same weekend, we could have all kinds of QRP signals on the air. So I am encouraging other QRP groups to join us.
While it takes some experience to hold an event like Lobstercon, starting a new event is not all that difficult and I would like to impart some of my experience to anyone who would like to do something similar.

LobsterCon is a special treat!

LobsterCon is a special treat!

My main motivation for Lobstercon was to meet and socialize with my fellow QRPers from my area which is New England. I initially thought about meeting fellow QRP-L list members who lived in Maine. I had attended my 2nd Dayton Hamvention AND my 1st FDIM (12 years ago) so I was psyched up about QRP and wanted to bond with my fellow QRPers. My thoughts gelled through the summer and I simply couldn’t wait for the following summer to meet everybody. I had done a favor for a local attraction: The Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum in Portland Maine, knew that they had a big parking lot and a small museum building that we could use. I figured that if QRPers had more than 1 reason to come, that it might help. So I asked the founder about using the museum building and parking lot with the promise that we would be good and that I would encourage everybody to make a contribution to the museum. He said fine, and I picked a day: the 1st Saturday in November for the event. I put it out over the QRP-L list and searched the list database for QRPers in Maine. I sent out E-mails to everyone I could identify by call as residing in Maine. It was a simple format: show up, bring a bag lunch, show & tell, operate and simply chat. More of a social event than an operating or seminar type event. November was an iffy time to schedule an outside event in Maine but we also had the museum building so I figured that we were ‘covered’. I billed it as O(hf)DIN : One (hopefully fine) Day in November in homage of FDIM. Saturday showed up along with the SUN and 35 QRPers! We had a beautiful 75 degree sunny day where everybody had a SUPER time showing off their rigs, chatting and some even operated. I was elated and couldn’t wait to do it again…only I wasn’t going to wait until November, so I immediately started thinking of a picnic event in the summer at a local park.

The following summer, I held another ‘event’ that I called Ft. Williams / Lobstercon in homage to Ft. Tuthill. I reasoned that these local events might be even MORE important than the biggies as most QRPers can’t afford to fly half way across the country to attend a QRP event. I was lucky that I was working for a company and could tailor my business
travel to get me really close to these events. My first Dayton Hamvention was paid for by the company I worked for as I was working on an ink project and Dayton just happens to be the ‘ink capital’ of the US. So I ended up ‘having’ to meet up with a PhD ink chemist consultant at the hamvention as he also happened to be a ham. Our 1st meeting was at the Dayton Hamvention flea market gate on Friday at 9am. Man was I good! Anyway, back to the story… Ft. Williams took place at Ft. Williams Park in my hometown of Cape Elizabeth, Maine and 18 QRPers showed up. I brought my gas grill from home, enticed attendance with lobsters and we had another great day. Camping entered the picture on the third event as I figured out that most of the attendance was coming from afar and camping would boost the attendance as loosing 5 or 6 hours in the day from traveling was bad. The third event was billed from the get-go as Lobstercon and this year will be the 10th Lobstercon. We started as a Saturday only event and moved to Friday & Saturday with
overnight camping. I informally call it 4 days in July as now many attendees show up for camping on Thursday, and even Wednesday and some don’t leave until Monday. I settled on 4DIJ in homage to FDIM (again)… but made it different enough so that the FDIM guys won’t get mad at me for copying their name…hihi!

A local event does not mean that you have to have a big feast and a daunting logistics problem. Keeping it relatively small and simple and possibly letting it grow a little each year is a good recipe for success! A nice beginning event could be more like a pot luck supper. Everybody brings a dish of something, meet at a public place like a park
or someones field where you might be able to hang around a little later. Most public parks close at sundown… Staying later into the evening would make it more interesting as you could have a nice dinner, chat and a little operating. I emphasize the operating as one of our biggest activities at Lobstercon is trying to contact our ‘sister’ event Salmoncon out in Seattle. If you held a local even in say Nebraska at the same time, you would be in the thick of it on Friday or Saturday night when both the Lobstercon and Salmoncon guys are trying their best to QSL each other.

Now I’ve made it a little easier, as you don’t have to pick a date….hold a local event on Saturday July 11, 2009! (although Friday night is equally as good) and I can guarantee you that there will be others doing the same that night!

Pick a place: private field with all night access? Wally World parking lot? Public park with late night access?

Pick a format: eat, operate, show & tell, swap, swindle, or a little of everything?

Decide on some snackage: want pot luck? or everybody chip in for : pizza, wings, burgers, brats, buffalo oysters or some other indigenous delicacy.

Get the word out…… amongst yourselves!

I’ll even make it a little easier! The first 25 groups that can convince
me that they are serious and on their way to putting on a local event
that covers July 11th 2009, will receive an absolutely free package from
me that will contain their 1st two attendance raffle prizes AND the
tickets to raffle them off with.

Let’s get some SERIOUS QRP signals flying around the country on the night of July 11, 2009!

W1REX Rex Harper ‘The (Tuna) Tinman’


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