(this)Saturday in the Park

Starting around 3pm Eastern (2000 UTC if I did the math right) a few of us hearty souls will be trying to activate the following POTA parks:

VE 4877 Murney Tower

VE4872 Kingston Fortifications

The operators will be Martin VA3SIE (KX1 or KX3) and Bob VA3QV(Xiegu X5105). It is hoped that Bill VE3FI (KX3)will be with us as well if his earlier activation allows him to make it here. The activation was also talked about on our local QRP/POTA groups (VHF and HF) weekly net so I’m not really sure how many operators will show up.

We will be spotting ourselves on POTA Spots and hope to get you in the log.

This is also fitting with the Polar Bear Moonlight Madness (PBMME) event. The event takes place on the Saturday closest to a Full Moon and is a fairly popular event for the QRP Types

This will be the first time that my XIEGU X5105 will be playing outside with other radios in close proximity. Lets hope the little rig does not get overloaded

Hope to get you in the Log

73bob

It was a “shocking” weekend

Literally….

On Saturday I accepted an offer from John VE3JPW to join him in an POTA activation of:

VE-4864 Fort Henry National Historic Site

Fort Henry (at the top of the Fort Henry Hill) is one of the highest points in the area and has a great view across Lake Ontario to the South West…

It was a windy damp morning when we set out and by the time we got to the Fort the wind at the top of the hill was quite strong… We managed to set up my 33 foot MFJ mast to the “Headache Rack” on John’s pickup truck with my homebrewed 40m EFHW at the top of the mast….

The radio of choice for the day was my XIEGU X5105 QRP Radio

The antenna was operating as a sloper going to a Picnic Table located close to the truck. Looking to the South West we could see a storm front moving north. Bill VE3FI (activating Parrots Bay VE5142) advised that at his location (west of us) was getting a heavy downpour… at our location is was windy and misty…

When all was connected and I went to turn the radio on and tune up… I got one heck of a jolt…. followed by a jolt whenever I touched the radio… or the PL259 antenna connection… It was a good thing that John had a pair of work gloves in his truck so I could disconnect the antenna… We then removed the mast from the Truck and then packed up and headed home….

After the fact I was able to receive signals once I got home (Saturday afternoon) and the auto tuner did work and was showing output on transmit but the band conditions did not help my QRP Signal so I’m still not sure if I made it out damage free….time will tell I guess…..

On a positive note…. I did check out the XIEGU by making some QRP contacts from home on Monday (this morning) and signal reports along with audio reports lets me know that all is well..

I guess I was lucky

I had heard of this in the past but those examples had longer wires (kite suspended or balloon suspended) and it shocked me (no pun intended) to find out that with only 66 feet of wire the same would happen…

Looks like I am going to have to look into a better grounding system when operating in less than stellar weather conditions… In 20 plus years of QRP/Portable operating this never happened to me but then again… I don’t normally go out and play in bad weather…

73bob

Second impressions

Yesterday (Thursday) afternoon I took the Xiegu and the Toy Box out to a POTA site here in Kingston Ontario. The gear and I took Kingston Transit and ended up at the POTA site VE4877 (Murney Tower) which is paired up (as a 2 fer) with the site VE4872 (Kingston Fortifications).

As stated at the beginning the X5105 and the Comet Toy Box was the gear for my second test…. This time I brought a change of counterpoises. The random lenght wires of yesterday were replaced with the 1/4 wave lenght for 20/40/60/80m. I only used a single counterpoise for each band as recommended by the “Page of words” for the antenna.

As usual the bands were pure crap (at least for a QRP signal trying to test a new antenna) but I was hearing lots. In addition I did manage to get checked into the Nickel Belt Net on 7.252 with Rolly VA3CRE being the Net Control Station in Copper Cliff Ontario (about 270 miles from Kingston – outside of Sudbury in Northern Ontario). The 5 X 1 signal report was encouraging as I had set up the audio to match up with my voice and the “1” part of the report was expected as its QRP and a compromise antenna.

It was just as hard trying to break a pile up with the Xiegu as it was to try it with my old FT817 so many years ago.

But for the second time I proved that I can make a contact across Ontario using the “Toy” and the X5105

The third test will be coming up next week when I try using an elevated counterpoise as recommended by the page of words…. After the third test I will be doing a comparision between the EFHW and the Toy.

More on this next week after I get thru the weekend.

73bob

Testing the homebrewed #hamradio antenna

If you remember from my last post that I had constructed an antenna to work on the 60 meter (5mhz) band. It consisted of a single 43 foot driven element and a single 43 foot counterpoise/radial fed my a 1:1 balun.

It looks a lot like this

As mentioned before the above graphic is for my SotaBeams Bandspringer Antenna but my homebrewed 60m antenna (in the configuration I use) looks alot like the above.

In reality its a 60m dipole but in reality as I don’t have enough real estate to stretch out almost 90 feet of wire I use it as an End Fed inverted VEE with an elevated 43 foot counterpoise attached to my fence at about 3 feet above the ground. The SWR is good to where I don’t even need the built in tuner on my Yaesu FTR991a and so far the signal reports are fairly strong considering the very poor band conditions (darn solar storms) that we are going though right now. With the help of the built in tuner I can get it to load up on some of the higher bands but I like the long wire better….

So with the addition of the new antenna I can now operate on:

2m, 6m, 10m, 12m, 15m, 17m, 20m, 30m, 40m, 60m, 80m and 160m

Some bands are not as strong as others but I am on the air, doing the best I can from within an antenna restricted environment.

There is talk of getting a group out for some QRP activities so perhaps my Xiegu X5105 might finally get some time outside to play. More on that later this coming week

73bob