The W0RW/pm Article Collection
by Ron Chester ★ Monday, May 1, 2017

Paul Signorelli, W0RW, has advanced the art of operating a ham radio in the HF bands while walking around with the rig on his back more than anyone else in the US, maybe in the world. He mostly operates from the mountains in Colorado and I've had the pleasure of working him in the past in QRP contests. Ed WA3WSJ learned a lot about operating "pm: pedestrian mobile" from Paul, collected forty-seven stories about Paul's adventures and published them as an e-book for others who might like to learn how to do this unique form of ham radio.

Tonight I started reading Ed's book. The third article in the collection is W0RW 2004 FYBO Report. FYBO stands for freeze your butt off, as it is an outdoor contest held in February and it awards more points for contacts depending upon how cold it is outside. This was dreamed up by some hams in Arizona, maybe a lot easier for them in Arizona, than for Paul in Colorado!

In the article Paul describes his operating that day, walking six miles in the snow on a bright and sunny day at 9,000 feet on the west side of Pike's Peak, running his Elecraft KX1 rig at three watts into an eight-foot whip coming out of his rear pocket. It was 20F when he started and it warmed up to 25F. He worked thirty-five stations on CW that day, in at least fifteen different states. He thanked every operator who worked him and listed them all at the end of his article. At number twenty-four on that list is 

W6AZ / Ron

Indeed, I had worked him that day! It was neat to find my own call, as I was reading the article. That Saturday my friend, Kit WA6PWW, had driven me and another friend, Vic AB6SO, in his four wheel drive truck up San Benito Peak in San Benito County, looking for the coldest weather we could find at a reasonable distance from Silicon Valley. We stopped about 300 feet from the top because of road conditions, at about 4,900 feet ASL. There was some snow on the ground, along with patches free of snow. It was chilly up there, in the 40's at the coldest, nothing like the conditions Paul had. We set up a station next to the truck, looking east, in the direction of Colorado.

Three things stand out in my mind about that day. (1) It was very cool contacting Paul, knowing that he was tromping around in the snow on Pike's Peak, a unique experience only possible with amateur radio. (2) The drive up the mountain was a lot more harrowing than I had been expecting, as we went around narrow turns on the crooked road, peering down steep drop-offs just past the edge of the road. (3) Some of the ride was scary, but overall, it felt so good to be out in nature, doing ham radio on a Saturday with two good friends. These good memories are still with me more than thirteen years later.

Of course I can recommend Ed's e-book without reservation after reading only the first three stories. Even more important, I urge all hams to get outside with some friends to do some ham radio together! Great times together, later, memories that may stay with you for the rest of your life.