Monday, June 6, 2011

HamFest, The Beach and Bees

I just returned from the SeaPac HamFest and Convention in Seaside Oregon.

It was crowed with many People, Vendor Booths, Swap Tables and Activities to enjoy. The weather was Hot and Clear, making near Pacific Ocean Beaches that much more inviting.

The Main Floor

From Above

My HamFest Treasure Hunt provided a few more 1/8th inch knobs for my projects. And a 104 inch CB whip Antenna, which I plan to use on my VAN as a general HF Receive Antenna while mobile. My normal Hustler Antenna mount and its location on the back top of the VAN does not provide enough overhead clearance for a standing loaded 20 meter whip (it is more than 14 feet tall). With this longer, but more flexible whip, I can tie the tip forward and use the Auto Tuner to make the best of the available hight. I have looked for a long whip at all previous HamFests. Here I found exactly what I was looking for, and it already had a 3/8 x 24 stud mount, for $25.00.

While in the Seaside area, I stayed with my Niece - Sarrah (about 50 miles away). Sarrah took the opportunity and joined me for the HamFest and a chance to go to the beach. After my treasures were found, we went for a walk on the beach, the weather was sunny, cool and clear.

Sarrah and Tess on the Beach Playing Fetch

Just before leaving on Sunday I was able to explain and show my Niece an interesting event - A Bee Swarm. As I was packing up the VAN, I heard a load roar, and looked up to see a swarm of Honey Bees leaving a craves at the apex of the house. Being a previous Bee Keeper, I enjoyed watching the action. At first, it terrified the family, but I assured them that they were not in any danger.

When Honey Bees swarm, they do not have a home and honey to protect and therefore they are very gentle and easy to observer at very close range. The Bee swarm began to settled on to a near-by low branch, where we could stand within the flying swarm of thousands of Bees, all buzzing and flying around.

Believe me, this was a new experience for Sarrah!

The Swarm is Just Starting to Cluster on this Low Tree Branch

Sarrah Standing in the Flying Swarm
of Thousands and Thousands of Bees

Swarming is the natural way they divide the population of a hive, the old Queen and old Worker Bees leave for a new location. The Bees will normally collect and hang in a large Cluster on a near-by branch and rest, while a new hive location is found. The Queen is normally someplace in the middle of the Cluster, her presents and scent attracts the flying Bees to the branch.

Scout Bees will find and return NEWS of a potential new home, the bees then vote on the new proposed locations, based on intensity of the scout's "waggle dance". Once decided, they all fly to the new location following scent trails and directions provided by the scouts. Prior to voting and the mass move flight, the direction and distance is communicated via the direction and duration of the scout's "waggle dance".

In my experience, this was only a small size swarm, but large enough, for Sarrah.

It was a great weekend and Events, both the HamFest and the Bee Swarm, and I got to see my Niece and Family.


1 comment:

  1. It would have terrified the heck out of me, too!