Its been way too long…

Today I remembered that I spend too much time working for my hobby rather than working on my hobby…

FT817 and QRP Tuner in insulated bag for winter operations

Today I managed to take my Ft817 out for some fresh air.  Last time I got outside with a radio that was not my dual band handheld was late November which was just before I took on the “Social Media Gig”  with RAC….

Well 30 days, 150 RACTWEETS  and 19 RAC Blog postings (not to mention my 27 postings here) later I finallly get back outside which means that today…  We get to talk about playing Radio in the great outdoors (for a change)…

On the spur of the moment aided by the fact that one of my 7ah sla batteries had almost a full charge I decided to head out…   I took my FT817 along with the PAR Endz Fed 10-20-40m QRP end fed antenna.  You might remember me talking about this Gem back when Erika (my daughter) bought it for me for my Birthday.  I did manage to get it outside once to test it out but had not really had the time to use it since…

Today I made the time…

With it being a beautiful Sunny Day and the daytime Temps sitting just at 0 deg C or 32 deg F it was a perfect day to head over to the ball diamond at Hutton Park and set up.  The City has removed the picnic table but the bench in the dugout is great and I use the backstop as a support for one end of the antenna and a cooperating tree for the other

The nice thing about this park in the Wintertime is that there is no outdoor rink and so its easier to set up radio gear there without worrying about kids getting skate blades tangled up in coax…

The drawback about this park is that as there is no rink there is no rink shelter which means no washrooms or heated area to thaw out fingers, toes and radios…

Anyway after taking a few minutes to listen I landed on the HF Pack Frequency for 20m (14342.5)   Suprisingly I heard no one and was having my doubts about the band condiditons which sounded ok before I left (checked from home) for the park or my antenna system as it really had never been tested…

Asking the question “Is this frequency in use?” got a reply that its wide open and go for it….

I quickly thanked the station for letting me go ahead and also gave my callsign.  I then asked for a quick report…  The station at the other end was Dennis KB0SFP who lives in Missouri.  Dennis was using an old Military Radio 20W output and a 7 foot whip…

I got the above photo from Dennis’s QRZ Site.  Not sure if its the radio he used for today’s contact…

He was pretty good copy in Ottawa and according to the QRZ.com website the distance between us was about 1035 miles which ain’t too shabby for my 5w and his 20w concidering the antennas we both were using…  I was happy…

The band shifted a bit after that and I gave up with 20m.  I had a decent SWR on 17m as well so I thought I would give that a try…  Heard lots but I could not break the pile ups…

After that I dropped down to 40m and listened as W1AW was operating calling CQ with some new operators who were visiting from North Eastern PA.  If you thought the pile ups were rough on 17m you should of listened on 40m…  Anyway I tried breaking the pile up for almost 30 minutes before I gave up… No luck…  The sun was also starting to drop down and as the sun drops so does the tempeture…

At this point I decided to pack the gear up and drop the antenna and head home…  So anyway no rare DX but an hour or so away from the keyboard which made it enjoyable…  Thanks to Dennis for the contact which made it all worth while…

73bob

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