With all the C4FM (Wires X, VHF and UHF) stuff I have been doing recently I realized that I needed head out to a park and stretch out some wire and play radio. I had taken my HF gear down at home as I was getting tired of everyone telling me I should put up a better antenna and me telling them that the only way my antenna could improve was if the tree the wire was hiding in would grow.
Although I have been saying for years I would rather be on the air with a bad antenna than not being on the air…..
I just got tired of telling everyone (not to get stuffed) and decided the tree might grow faster if the weight of the wire was not holding it down….
So this morning I took my FT 450…..
and my SGC 237 auto tuner….
along with 2 100 foot rolls of the finest (cheapest) Princess Auto wire….
and my Trailer Hitch Mast mount and 3 of my fiberglass military surplus 4 foot long sections of mast….
I headed over to Lake Ontario Park to see what a 100w radio with one of the best tuners in the world and surplus masting and lots of wire would accomplish…
For the purpose of this test….. I used 3 of my masting sections… 1 on the hitch, 1 to hold the SGC and 1 in the middle… So the center of my antenna was approx 14 feet above ground taking the height of the hitch into consideration
You can see the white breadboard holding the SGC and the breadboard is clamped onto the top of the surplus masting…
I used the SGC as the center point in my (sort of) dipole antenna with 100 feet of wire running North West and the other 100 feet of wire running South East and the ends were suspended at approx 10 feet above the ground using the existing trees in the park.
I WAS powering my radio gear using a 450 watt inverter in my truck which was powering my 25 amp power supply to breathe life into the FT450 and Tuner.
“WAS” being the best description as shortly after tuning up the radio and making a checkin with Paul VA3PC in North Bay (on the North Bay Net 3.768) my noise level suddenly jumped and then the inverter stopped working. It did not let any magic smoke out but after I reset it and tried again I could not get rid of the new high noise level…
I then quickly found the spare parts to by pass the inverter and power supply and connect everything directly to the battery in my truck. Problem solved and the noise dropped down to a very pleasing low of S1 to S3. Now to some of you out in the country that might seem loud but to a city boy who thinks that anything below a S7 is low…. Today was just fantastic….
At 10am I switched over to the Ottawa Valley Mobile Radio Clubs weekly 80m Net on 3.760 and suprised most of the participants by having a signal that everyone could hear. Equally I was extremely pleased with being able to hear everyone out there. Its amazing what one can do when the noise floor is low…
At the end of the net I spun the dial a bit and although I did not try and make any contacts the antenna system (wire and the SGC 237) was easily able to load up on 10m to 160m with a 2:1 swr on 160 which was brought down to 1:1 using the internal tuner on the 450. That was the only band that the tuner has a slight problem with and compared to other instllations a 2:1 match is not that bad when operating portable…
In additon to HF operation I could also easily change over to VHF/UHF operations by putting my Discone antenna at the top of the mast if I was in need of reaching a repeater not easily accessable while camping or on a Public Service event
And I could go up much higher as I do have a total of 11 sections of masting for a total height of 44 feet…
However the HF side of things is what is really interesting me right now so I do have enough wire to try several other setups. A delta loop comes to mind along with an inverted L antenna. Although I’m not sure how long the weather will allow me access to the best portable operating areas close to Kingston but what ever I can learn this fall will really improve my enjoyment of the hobby in the spring….
A bit of an update with the VA3QV Node here in Kingston. I still have some issues with the internet. If (when) my home internet hiccups while the node software is trying to access the server it just causes a crash and nothing happens till I do a reset. However when the internet is stable the node is working fine all is good.
Liz and I are still planning the season ending trip with the camper and it will (has to) happen as at the end of the trip we have to drain the tanks and winterize before the camper goes into storage for the winter.
Thats all for now… Thanks for visiting