Field Day 2022

Traditionally held on “The Last Rainy Weekend” in June but for the sticklers for the rules its actual date is the 4th weekend in June…

This year it would be on June 25th and ending on June 26th

So what will VA3QV be doing???? Its safe to say that my Field Day Station will look a bit like this:

or like this from back in 2017….

FD 2017/ RAC Canada Day Contest 2017
Won’t look like this…. This was an early Winter Field Day attempt

So I plan to be operating as a 1B Battery Station from the RAC Ontario East Section (ONE)

The actual location has not been determined yet but there is a good chance the location could be one of the Parks on the Air location in the City of Kingston.

That’s the plan for good weather… and so far the long range forecast is calling for nice (dry). If the weather is not dry then the plan is to operate as a home station in the 1D catagory just to give out points to the participants

If you are new at this then the rules can be found here:

Years ago Field Day was considered a test of our emergency operating skills specifically to set up and operate a station for 24 hours and somehow it has morphed into more of contest with groups of operators putting up equipment that would not be used in a real emergency at power levels that could not be maintained unless you had a generator and an endless supply of gasoline.

I’m a little more primitive by setting up my QRP (5w of power) radio with a wire antenna and using a solar panel to top up the battery as needed.

basic shelter

I will have the option of being under cover (see above pic) as protection from the sun and/or rain most likely be needed at some time . Not sure how long I will be operating but it won’t be for the full 24 hours.

Overnight all I would be doing is listening to static and feeding the mosquitoes…

No egos to stroke…. Just operate and make some contacts with the emphasis of having fun and not taking myself too seriously.

Hope to hear you and be heard by you during the event

73bob

Public Service (Communications)

The last time I helped out providing communications for a public service event was in June 2019 in the Rideau Lakes Cycle tour.

You can follow this link to see what we did back then in the good old Before Covid days

Now that we are told that COVID is behind us and we must live with it (or die from it) the event was held again this weekend just past. Rather than be at a checkpoint somewhere in the middle of somewhere I was doing dual duty as one of the Communicators at the End of Saturdays Leg and the Start of Sundays leg as I was at Queens University doing some Start/Finish line stuff as well as being one of the Net Control Operators.

Most of our local (Kingston Ontario)crew came back (after 2 years off) to operate for the event and we used the VE3FRG 2m repeater which is normally a C4FM repeater but for this event was locked in the FM mode. Even though all of our team have C4FM gear not all the other (Aux Communication Groups) have that mode so to keep everyone in our area on the same page (and same mode) we kept it FM only.

The event itself seemed to run smoothly and there was nothing worse that a few riders getting small amounts of road rash. The tour management seemed quite pleased with our services and when we were shutting down our end of the tour as the riders were safely on their way to Perth Ontario the words I heard most was “See you next year”

I think they will!!!

Sorry but to be honest I did not have the time to snap any pics so…. next year I will try harder

73bob

Is it DX if….we can’t confirm?

Todays RANT (you don’t see that many of them) is about the multitude of station out there (any you know who you are) who will not “E”confirm their QSOs on the numerous QSL platforms…

These would be the stations that must have some sort of internet access as their QRZ page shows really nice new, shiny and expensive ham toys but still refuse to confirm without a QSL card sent with a few green stamps for return postage.

QRZ’s logbook is free and as your QRZ page is being used you must know about the log… EQSL is also free and if I can figure out how to use it then its easy to use. I mention these two first as these are normally the ones that the new operators use and getting some sort of confirmation for one of their first QSO’s could go a long way to keeping them in the hobby. Kind of a positive enforcement thing…. You make the contacts… They get confirmed… you get a warm fuzzy feeling and then make more contacts….

Now if you decide this DXing is for you then you might want to jump through the hoops and sign up for logbook of the world. If you are NOT an American Amateur it is free to use and it gives you an excellent record of your confirmed contacts… ( I believe its also free to use for American Hams but they can’t get the ARRL awards without paying… Don’t quote me on this one… its been a while since I looked into it)

Even as someone who has no desire to do it 21st century style in most cases you already have to use a computer to submit your logs to CQWW or ARRL and many more contest organizations so why not take the extra couple of minutes and at least (for the good of the hobby and the new hams) submit your logs to one of the Electronic QSL services named above.

For the record I (on a daily basis) upload my logs to LoTW, EQSL and QRZ.com with the later 2 for the benefit of other hams…. I do collect the ARRL awards such as DXCC, WAS and TRIPLE PLAY so the LoTW upload is for me…

73bob

An upgrade to the kit

Well recently I have been shuffling gear around to take into consideration my new interests in our Amateur Radio hobby along with the retirees budget….

Yesterday this rig made it into my shack:

The Yaesu FT2DR is a dual band (2m and 70cm) dual mode (FM and C4FM) 5 watt handheld radio.

I bought it used from a ham in Ottawa and so far I am more than pleased with my purchase. It also has a built in GPS and an AX25 modem so eventually I will figure out how to access the APRS Network.

For now I have been able to program the memories with the limited frequencies needed for Kingston and as I also have the programming software and cable (not needed yet) eventually I will have it working to its full potential.

I still have my FT70D handheld and my FTDM7250 and plan to keep them both doing duty in the shack. The “70D” is currently monitoring my NNMDM Hot spot and the “7250” is connected to my 1/4 wave dual band groundplane giving me local VHF/UHF coverage

So for now I will be using the FT2DR for my daily use rig when not in the shack. Walks around the block or out to some POTA Activations should make use of the APRS Features and the ability to send SMS and APRS Text messages from areas where the cell service is limited could be important. Hopefully the GPS stuff along with the APRS stuff will be just as easy to set up as the memories were.

If you want to track the progress of this check out APRS.FI on line and search for VA3QV. Once I get it functioning the SSID for the FT2DR will be VA3QV-7

There will be a few more changes coming… I am looking for another portable hf rig (FT817 or 818 or even a KX3)to keep the XIEGU X5105 company and I will be sending one of my 100W HF rigs (FT950 or the FT450) on to a new home (but not quite ready to say goodbye yet)

Other stuff— Still hunting lots of POTA with just over 1200 Parks confirmed so far. Only done 2 activations so far but once the bands get stable then the Xiegu will be getting lots of fresh air

New Pota Activation

Now I haven’t really been blogging much, mostly because I have been spending much of my radio time just hunting the elusive pota stations. Its been going quite well and so far I have worked just over 1100 individual parks in 6 different DXCC entities all from the comfort of my shack.

But you remember me mentioning the arrival of my new QRP rig and today I decided to take it out for its second trip. I also brought out my SotaBeams wire antenna and used my MFJ 33 foot long mast to use the antenna in the vertical configuration

We went to Lemoines Point in Kingston and activated VE5141 and did it with “5W and a wire…”

The band conditions seemed much better before I left but I did manage to get the necessary 10 contacts to complete the activation…

The weather was good but the bands were rough and I honestly wonder how those activators manage to give me all the parks I have been hunting… Its much easier to hunt…. more comfortable as well…

See you later and don’t forget to:

73bob

Weekend radioactive

Its been a while but here what happened this weekend in my world of radio…

On Friday (Apr 16) I chased a lot of POTA and managed to up my park hunting substantually .

On Saturday (April 17) I continued to participate in the POTA “Support your local Parks” event by hunting a very crowded band for parks and then in the afternoon I actually did my first activation.

I packed up my Xiegu X5105 along with my Sota Beams lightweight 10m to 60m dipole and activated park VE-0023

HAVING ISSUES EMBEDDING THE MAP SO JUST FOLLOW THIS LINK

As you can see from the above map it was a round trip hike of 6km there and back from my operating location.

I managed to make 21 contacts in my first activation and hopefully there will be more. The portable rig and antenna are working great. Lets hope the band conditions become a bit better

73bob

New #QRP radio arrives

Friday morning my new radio arrived. I look forward to getting the XIEGU X5105 Portable QRP radio operating in the next couple of days. And with regards to my previous post…. With 5w output the radio is a QRP Radio…. and no debate on what power did it have it set at as the best it can do its 5w (using the internal battery or a external power source)

Here is the Specs

X5105 General Specifications

* Frequency coverage: 1 – 55MHz RX, TX only on Amateur bands
* Operating modes: AM, FM, LSB, USB, CW
* Channel Memories: 100
* Antenna Impedance: 50 Ohm
* Nominal Supply Voltage: 13.8 V DC +/- 15%, negative ground
* Operating Voltage: 9.0 – 15.0 V DC, negative ground
* Internal Battery: 12 V 3800 mAh hybrid polymer Li-Ion
* Current Consumption: RX – 660 mA or less, TX – 2,5 A or less
* Operating Temperature: -10°C to +60°C
* Frequency Stability: +/- 2 ppm in first 60 min, 1 ppm per hour thereafter (at 25° C)
* Dimensions: 160 x 100 x 46 mm (6³⁄₅” x 3¾” x 1⁹⁄₁₀”)
* Weight: 0.94 kg (2.15 lb) excluding microphone

X5105 Receiver Specifications

* Type: Double Conversion Superheterodyne with Audio Digital Signal Processing
* IF Frequency: 70.455 MHz & 10.695 MHz
* Sensitivity SSB/CW: 0.25 μV
* Sensitivity AM: 10 μV (500 kHz-1.8 MHz), 2 μV (1.8 MHz-54 MHz)
* Sensitivity FM: 0.35 μV (28 MHz-54 MHz)
* SSB Selectivity: -6 dB @ 2.4 kHz, -60 dB @ 4.6 kHz
* CW Selectivity: -6 dB @ 500 Hz, -60 dB @ 2 kHz
* AM Selectivity: -6 dB @ 6 kHz, -60dB @ 25 kHz
* FM Selectivity: -6 dB @ 12 kHz, -60dB @ 25 kHz (12 dB SINAD)
* Image Rejection: 70 dB
* IF Rejection: 60 dB
* Audio Output (internal speaker): 0.6 Watt @ 4 Ω 10% THD
* Headphone output Impedance: 4 to 8 Ω (will not drive an external passive speaker)

X5105 Transmitter Specifications

* Output Power: 5 Watt SSB, 1.5 Watt AM Carrier @ 13.8 V DC
* SSB Modulation Type: Balanced modulation
* AM Modulation Type: Low level amplitude modulation
* FM Modulation Type: Variable reactance frequency modulation
* Spurious Rejection: >45 dB
* Carrier suppression: >40 dB
* Sideband Spurious Rejection: >50 dB
* SSB Frequency Response: 400 Hz-2.8 kHz (-6dB)
* FM Max Deviation: +/- 5 kHz
* External Mic Impedance: 200Ω to 10kΩ (Nominal 600Ω)

As I sold off all my portable antennas when I sold my old FT817 will be building a couple of antennas before I get to properly test things out.

As soon I have gathered enough data to have an opinion on the radio I will share it with you

73bob

#QRP ….Whats that?

Recently I have seen a “boatload” of operators trying to break pileups and make contacts by adding /QRP to their calls. After careful listening after the fact I hear them telling the other station…. QRP 10 watts , QRP 20 watts and yesterday I heard on operator calling then claiming he was QRP 40 watts.

In reality most of them were trying for POTA Contacts where the power levels don’t matter so…. It was just a ploy to try and break the pile up but….

It did get me thinking about what the common opinion of QRP is and so here is what my research found:

According to State QSO Party .com ( http://stateqsoparty.com/ ) and their list of QSO Parties :

47 Approved Contests

7th Call Area QSO Party
Alabama QSO Party
Arizona QSO Party
Arkansas QSO Party
British Columbia QSO Party
California QSO Party

Canadian Prairies QSO Party
Colorado QSO Party
Delaware QSO Party
Florida QSO Party
Georgia QSO Party
Hawaii QSO Party
Idaho QSO Party
Illinois QSO Party
Indiana QSO Party
Iowa QSO Party
Kansas QSO Party
Kentucky QSO Party
Louisiana QSO Party
Maryland/DC QSO Party
Michigan QSO Party
Minnesota QSO Party
Mississippi QSO Party
Missouri QSO Party
Nebraska QSO Party
Nevada QSO Party
New England QSO Party
New Hampshire QSO Party
New Jersey QSO Party
New Mexico QSO Party
New York QSO Party
North Carolina QSO Party
North Dakota QSO Party
Ohio QSO Party
Oklahoma QSO Party
Ontario QSO Party
Pennsylvania QSO Party

Quebec QSO Party
South Carolina QSO Party
South Dakota QSO Party
Tennessee QSO Party
Texas QSO Party
Vermont QSO Party
Virginia QSO Party
Washington State Salmon Run
West Virginia QSO Party
Wisconsin QSO Party

That all the States/Provinces/Territories/ contests listed above (with the exception of Georgia, North Carolina, Texas and West Virginia) consider QRP to be 5watts or less in any mode.

Georgia, North Carolina, Texas and West Virginia consider QRP as 5w CW and 10w ssb

The ARRL, RAC and CQWW contests also consider 5w or less QRP for their respective contests.

Now where does this come into play that might affect some operators?

If a new operator believes the hype of his new Xiegu 6100 rig and decides to contest with it and suddenly they are competing with 10w output instead of the 5w of the other

The Xiegu G90 at its booming 20w output would fall into that catagory as well. Kind of an unfair advantage even though some dealers are marketing Xiegu as a QRP Line of radios.

The same of course could be said of those operators using the KX3 or IC 705 but I will assume (correctly I hope) that anyone who shells out the amt of cash needed for the KX3 or the IC705 already understands what the contest they are entering requires and would adjust their power levels accordingly.

Now before the flames come in…. I am not saying anything bad about the Xiegu (or any other ) line of radios. I know quite a few operators who are saying really nice things about the G90 and the X5105 (which strangely is an actual QRP 5W output radio). As soon as I can liquidate a couple of rigs here I plan to get either the X5105 or the 6100 for portable use. They are both great radios especially at their price point.

After many years of operating with the Yaesu FT817 and the Flex 1500 both of which were QRP radios (5w) I do have a good idea of what 5w will do as compared to even 100w.

To be honest there is not much of a difference. Operating with both radios I was able to qualify for my ARRL Triple Play and QRP DXCC awards. The proof is in the logs…

73bob

A sign of good #hamradio things to come

Today was a great day…. Or at least a better day in hamradio than I usually have

For the 1st time in this Solar Cycle (and most likely the last 2 solar cycles) I managed to make at least one SSB HF contact on 10, 15, 20, 40 and 80 meters in a single afternoon.

. Being a PopGun in the DX world it was amazing to think that I was hearing stations calling CQ and I was getting them all on the first call.

Some were POTA, others were School Roundups and a few were just stations calling CQ because the bands were open. There were 2 dx stations as well. Either way it was a heck of a good day…

Sometimes its the small things in life that give the most pleasure. Hopefully in a year from now I will be commenting on how I contacted all 6 continents in an afternoon or something equally as spirit raising

73bob

POTA-What’s easier Hunting vs Activating?

Now remember I did not ask “what’s more important”. I am asking what’s easier… Now I must admit I have only hunted POTA (so far) but over the last 20 years I have operated portable a good deal of the time. Activating Parks is not new. The level of organization that the current POTA team has is new and very well done.

We were operating from Parks because we could not get a decent antenna up at home, we operated from parks because the noise was usually less from the park and we also operated from parks because once you got set up it seemed to attract other amateurs which also turned into a social event.

And more importantly we did it because we could….

So here are my thoughts (my opinions) and feel free to agree or disagree just be nice about it…

Activators:

Has to find a place to operate (has to do their homework to find a site that is clear for antennas, no or low noise floor, and most importantly close to a bathroom, but sheltered from the elements would be good as well….

VA3QV/vy2 2017 RAC Canada Day Contest

Has to calculate how much battery power they need and bring twice what they think… Has to bring at least 2 hf antennas, and all the rope needed to get the antennas in the air, along with coax runs….

The SOTA Activation was catered

Has to take into account the band conditions as they don’t want to drive to a distant park to find the band is crap… But they can pick and choose who to contact as they control the pile up

Hunters:

Already set up… Stronger equipment… Higher Power…Better antenna…. normally higher noise floor… has to hear the usually QRP Signals coming from the activators through the loud pileups…. More distractions from family and noises coming into the shack…. Does not get much of a choice as they can only contact who they can hear and who can hear them.

So in my humble opinion:

Both are equally important in the process. Take away the hunters and you have a bunch of activators calling “CQ POTA” with no one answering. Take away the activators and you have a bunch of hunters listening to dead air….

But there are some days hunting is easier or at least warmer

Personally I think that its would be easier to Activate as everyone is looking for you and then control the pile up than be the one trying to break into the pile up.

And that my friends is the view from the cheap seats…

73bob