Day 20 was FANTASTIC

The day started when  the wind picked up (no skitters) and I took the FT817 and my NUE PSK MODEM out to my operating position just down from the campsite…

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I heard a few stations using QRP SSB and almost got checked into the MIDCARS NET ( that station too weak to get heard and get relayed in was me… ). 

 After that I switched over to PDK 31 with the NUE MODEM and was able to get W1BEK (George in CT) into the log….. Shortly after that the wind died down and I got chased inside by the skitters…

Early in the afternoon the family and myself headed into Kensington where we picked up a few necessary things for supper…

On the way home we decided to go straight rather than turn right…. We drove down a red dirt road to the very end.  We passed a sign telling us that we were not to camp overnight and here is what we found.

 

About 20 or so windsurfers playing about 5km from where we camp… We spent an hour or so watching them fly around then returned to Cabot Beach…


Once we returned we started rage preparations for a FRESH fish and chip supper with boiled corn…  working with a 2 burner Coleman Stove it took a while but it was worth waiting for…


All in all it was another FANTASTIC day

Bob

 

 

All different but all having fun

To my Amateur Radio followers…. Sorry but no radio stuff here in this post


Today’s neighbors (as most of our neighbourhood changes daily) show a multitude of rigs from across Canada. All are different but all of us are having fun…

Within 100’yards of our rig we have…


Two Class C motor homes and an old Volkswagen Westphalia… One Class C and the “Westie” are travelling together and the other Class C just had the luck to get the next spot.  All 3 Are from Quebec and between my poor French and their limited English we are able to communicate just fine…


And we also have right beside us a Class B on a Dodge Sprinter Chassis from Alberta… Nice folks to sit down and chat with…


In the spot behind us is a young couple from Southern Ontario with a newer version on my pickup truck with a custom made dome tent that fits in the box of their truck…  It’s an great way to camp and also keep off the cold hard ground…  I’ve seen pics of these but never up close…


Also behind us are a couple who are camping with motor cycles.  They keep to themselves but they will say hi in passing

These are just an example of people we have met over the last couple of weeks.  We had a couple camping beside us with a pickup truck and slide in camper who lived in the west end of Ottawa.  There was also a young couple tent camping close by and they were also from Ottawa…. We travel 1500 kms and end up camping with strangers from home. 

 But when most of them leave…. They don’t leave as strangers…. They leave as friends we hope to see again in our travels….  Just as the couple from PEI who loaned me a scissor jack so I could re level our trailer… or the couple from Maine with their new (to them) Tent trailer who I helped with an electrical issue and gave them some spare fuses.  We met as strangers and they left as friends…

We share info about campgrounds as we sit around someone’s campfire in the evenings….  We also exchange technical (computer, OTA TV, wifi) info and we learn from the experiences of our neighbours…

In general, we are nicer to strangers that camp…who suddenly become friends than we are to our real neighbors….

The real way to world peace…. I guess is that if everyone camped….

Silly but just a thought…

Bob

Not seeing the magic

This past weekend was the CQWW VHF Contest…

 And although I had not planned to be a “serious ” participant in the contest I had hoped to get a few of the “BIG GUNS” into the my log.  It was my hope that the big contest stations that I had worked from Ottawa in the past with my loop antennas might be able to hear the 5w of my Ft817 with simple wire antennas.
There was no magic in what we call the “MAGIC BAND” this time….


Trying my 6m dipole and my 6m EFHW in various configurations and orientations I had no luck.  Did not even hear anyone let alone log anyone…  I had hoped for a slight advantage from the water I was operating over but… oh well … No one got the FN86 from me this weekend.  Let’s blame it on the solar flare….


It would of been a total bust outside of the fact that I was operating as VA3QV/VY2 and the weather was FANTASTIC as well as the views from the radio operators position.  We are on holidays and there is more to the trip than contesting.  My results were better during the RAC Canada Day Contest and that was fun as well.  There is only so much you can do with 5W and a wire…

Today is a trip into Summerside for restocking….. then there is a trip planned to do the touristy thing at the Anne of Green Gables site later this week.  In between that I do plan a bit more radio time along with lots of rest and relaxation to re-charge my batteries.  There is still lots to do and see in the 8 days left on the Island.

Bob

Lobsterfest in Summerside

Thursday we headed into Summerside.  It was a multi purpose trip as we needed supplies, I needed to find a hardware store (more on that later) and my daughter Trisha wanted to visit Lobsterfest for her birthday.


Liz liked the idea of Lobster…. so it was a done deal (we thought)

We arrived in Summerside at the address given for the street sale that would take us towards the Fair grounds where the actual lobster carnival was located….  Liz took advantage of some really good pricing and I got to carry the purchases.  After the street sale we headed “up the road a tad” to the fairgrounds….  I never questioned the actual length of ” a tad ” but after about 8 blocks I was sent back to where we parked the truck and came back to pick everyone up…

Once we arrived at The fairgrounds (free admission and free parking) we took a walk around.  Not very different than the local country fairs in eastern Ontario other than the Lobster theme…

After our walkabout we decided to grab lunch.  Suddenly we noticed that Lobster was not on the menu at any of the food vendors….. or any other seafood for that matter…The usual “Carny” food was available but at Lobsterfest there was no seafood to be seen…  After asking at the info booth we found out that the big lobster dinner was on Friday night and we could pre purchase our tickets for that if we wanted…

It was mentioned that if we really wanted Seafood there was a little restaurant just outside of the fairgrounds…. The food was fantastic and fairly priced (very reasonable), then we returned to the fair where I met the Mayor of Summerside, The Chief of Police and the Commanding Officer of HMCS Summerside (Navy Ship) and some of his crew as the Summerside was docked in Summerside as part of the festivities….


After a pleasant (but Lobsterless) day we headed to a grocery store and the local Home Hardware store and then headed back to camp. There was a quick stop at the Liquor Store in Kensington for some refreshing beverages…


The stop at the Home Hardware was to pick up 108 inches of lightweight insulated zip cord which I quickly turned to an End Fed Half Wave (EFHW) antenna for 6m.  I plan to participate in the CQWW VHF Contest his weekend and giving the FN86 Grid Square to anyone who can hear 5w and a wire.  It will be casual operating but I do hope to make some contacts.  


I don’t usually participate in the CQ contests …. but this time…. I have the gear and the time so why not???  Last time I tried in 2015 was not too bad…

The adventure continues and we are loving it…

Bob

Antennas now status quo…. and a supper guest

Not QRP or QRO….But status quo…

Firstly, the W3EDP is back where it should be…. even though yesterday was not much good for band conditions here in VY2 Land I did try both SSB and PSK 31 with no takers…. 

I did hear a few Big Gun stations but their signals were down so I will blame it on poor band conditions.


It’s hard to call CQ WITH A QRP SETUP and yesterday it seems no one was hearing 5 watts and a wire … but sometimes that happens to the QRO stations and if it can happen to them…. it can happen to me…

After draining my power box… I left the antenna up but brought the rest of the gear back and the battery will be recharged in time for my next effort…  Looks like that will be for the upcoming VHF contest which is this weekend.  Look and Listen for the booming 5w of VA3QV/VY2 from FN86.  Wire dipole-at about 10 feet AGL is the best I can do…. So congrats in advance if You get in my log.

I then took a second look at our temperamental OTA TV antenna on out trailer…..  Using the McGyver method of trouble shooting it was determined that somewhere was a bad chunk of feedline.  In my toolkit I had a 20 foot length of RG 6 and so rather than find the bad piece I just ran new coax and now it works…. It’s not pretty…. that will happen once we get home…. but it works…

We have been at the same site now for 2 weeks so I’m feeling like a local…  For supper last night we had an outdoor  FRESH fish fry along with fried potatoes… EARLIER IN THE DAY IT WAS SWIMMING and in the evening he was my supper guest.  It was easier than I thought…. We keep a WOK in the camper so …. add cooking oil…. add potatoes and cook for a while…. then add fresh fillets covered in breadcrumbs an cook till everything is golden brown…  All this was done on the picnic table using our old Coleman Stove….


And of the end of the day we were full and happy….

Here for 2weeks with 2more weeks to go….

Enjoying the life and living the dream…

Bob

Antennas…. antennas….

TUESDAY ON THE ISLAND…. The adventure continues….

The last few days have been RF less as a camper decided to occupy the little spot of ground where my W3EDP was located.  I did manage a few 2m repeater contacts on the week end when we drove over to Charlottetown and played tourist on Sunday.  I plan to get wire up in a tree later today…



Gotta get back on the air….  

BUT I WILL BE ACTIVE ( 2m/70cm/6m ssb only with dipole antenna) FRON FN86 FOR THE UPCOMING VHF CONTEST ….but…. as it’s 5w with the FT817 you gotta aim the beams at me and listen really good


Maybe some PSK31 as well

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Staying on the topic of antennas…. it seems that I have a bad chunk of feedline between the crank up tv antenna and where my tv connects to the wall mounted connector….


 Add troubleshooting an antenna to the list of things I should do…. or it might be easier just to redo it completely…. but that will have to wait till we get home…

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Everything else is fantastic…… weather good….. views FANTASTIC….. and the food  just as good


CU later…

Bob

Weather…Camping …and UHF Propagation

Good morning…. it’s day 9 of our holidays  to the Province of Prince Edward Island and so far we are loving it.  The weather was VERY wet while in transit here but once we arrived has been FANTASTIC  (my new catch phrase) for the most part.  


As you can see we have an excellent view of the Gulf of St Lawrence from our campsite.  Normally this view comes with a cooling breeze which keeps the mosquitoes at bay and also makes the temps a bit more bearable…  In my opinion these days are Radio days…


My operating position consists of a scrounged picnic table alongside a fence.  I clip the balun of my W3EDP HF antenna to the fence then it goes to a branch of a pine tree about 20 feet above ground in a shallow sloping configuration east to west.  HOWEVER shade is at a premium and 95% of the mosquitoe population of PEI seem to reside in that grassy field beside my operating position.


With no shade it greatly limits my operating due to the temps and if there is no wind  as well then the skitters remind me to find something else to do….

So far 80m has been my go to band for voice comms.  The maritime amateur radio community has a few good daily nets (some morning and some at night) that I am having no problems to check into with my booming 5w ssb signal.  I did try a few 40m nets but due to poor conditions it was not going to happen with 5w.

I have made a few contacts on 20m PSK31 including one with VA3PCJ  who lives less than 1km from my home in Ottawa.  Over the years we have done several qrp dots activations and just portable operating so it was FANTASTIC to get him in the log


The above pic of VA3PCJ is a couple of years old and was taken at the Mer Bleu Bog in Ottawa South East. KX3 with an Alex Loop antenna.

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The FM repeaters seem to be well used with a Maritime wide net running Monday to Friday morning on a linked system. There is also some DSTAR here but as I don’t have that mode it’s hard to comment on it.

I never really bothered with UHF PROPAGATION till this camping trip.  As you know this new HD DIGITAL OTA ( Over The Air ) television seems to be UHF.  Here with my old commercial RV TV antenna we can receive 2 of the 3 stations available on the Island ( at times ).  Have not found the CBC station yet… Global New Brunswick comes in from the late morning to late evening and we can get the CTV affiliate in Halifax in the early evening and it fades (pixelates) out before we lose Global.  I am planning to upgrade the antenna once we return from holidays.

We did not go camping to watch TV but it is nice to catch the news and weather just to stay informed…

I have tried listening on 6m and 2m ssb but with no openings …. nothing heard….

Other than that…. all is good and I will continue to play radio when the bugs, weather and family permit….

73bob