Log them all and let #LoTW sort them out

For a change life has slowed down a bit here and I am finding much more time to hide in the shack.  For now time is spent catching up on some (LOTS) of non radio related paperwork at the same time as trying to complete my Digital WAS from the new QTH here in Kingston Ontario.

I’m using a rather simple way of it though….  Although at this time I am only missing 9 states for my WAZ those states seem slightly rare.  After a couple days of calling on the various HF bands although my signals have been spotted (tnx PSK Reporter) in the missing states it seems no one in those states were watching their screens at the right time so I am still trying….. and trying.

For now the preferred way is call and call and call on the various bands….  My “Stealthy Antenna ”  aka my “Disney Antenna (cuz its really Mickey Mouse) seems to work using my on board auto tuner on my Yaesu FT 450 on the following bands.  10-12-15-17-20-30m.  It used to like 40m as well but something changed…. dunno what…. and now no luck there.  If I insert my 40m Buddistick coil in just beside the balun I can also operate on 80m.

As the US call zones often cover more than 1 state and with their vanity call system often its hard to figure out where anyone is calling from till after the QSO has been made.  My answer is fairly simple…..  Work everyone I can and then let Logbook of The World figure it out.  Sooner or later I will work those missing 9 and then I can start on the CW and SSB WAS to complete my 2nd Triple Play.  When I was living in Ottawa I did manage to complete my Triple Play and it would be great to do it a 2nd time from here in Kingston.

With my great antenna restrictions here I just don’t think any rare DX will be in my future though I am able to reach across SA and most of Europe. Anything much past that is hoping for the Perfect Storm.

More on this later….

73bob

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Still making contacts

I started back on October 3 with the new stealth antenna.  Its a twisted Zig Zagged almost vertical wire about 50 feet in length with 3 random length radial.  Its fed by a 4:1 balun and I use a buddipole 40m coil at the bottom of the wire (after the balun) so its kind of base loaded.  By pass the coil and I can operate on 10-12-15-17-20-30 and 40m.  Using the coil I can get 60 and 80m.

The SWR on all band is low enough (under 3:1) that I can get the internal tuner in the FT 450 to bring everything down to a decent match (1:1)

All this is stealth mounted in a large pine tree just on the other side of my fence line.  The balun and the radials are on my side of the fence and the wire runs up into the tree.  Stealth being the key words as there are some antenna restrictions I would rather not debate with the Condo Board.

So how does it work???? Well its better than not being on the air…  So far this month I have made 206 contacts.  A few were voice and most were FT8 with a couple of CW thrown in for good measure.

Contacts were made in North America, South America and Europe.

Now before October the last time I played radio was in the spring of 2018 so I don’t really know if this is good or bad for band conditions.  Either way….  It does not matter…  I got to spend some quality time in the shack and realized how much i missed it.  Right now I just try to spend a couple of hours in the shack each day and also try to upload my logs to LoTW and QRZ.com on a regular basis.

I need 5 more states for the WAS-FT8 and after those 206 contacts I still need those hard to find 5.  As far as the DXCC Digital go one of those 206 brought me up from 48 to 49 so I still have 51 to go …  It will take a while.

But as the camper is off the road for the season… (if you read my earlier post) I do have time on my hands now so why not.

In the mean time…. I am proving that you can make contacts in Amateur Radio with less than fantastic antennas if you want to take the time to work at it…

Hope to hear you on the air

73bob

Amateur Radio and the RV community

If you ever watch some of the Youtube Videos on Full Time Camping you always notice how so many of them are commenting that they have issues in getting Cell/Data service while in some of the more remote areas.  Now although I know many Hams who are RV’ers I don’t know many RV’ers who are also hams.

This might be a way to get some “New Blood” into our hobby….

I have always defined my most important part of Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) being the ability of talking to home.  By home I mean contacting someone who lived close to my home city and would call home for me and reassure my wife that I was still doing well well on my trip and inturn could assure me that all was well at home.  This was in the days before cell phones were popular but the premise still works today.  There have been a few camping trips where the cell service was spotty and the radio has been needed to update friends and family on our progress while on the road.

If you are a RV’er who wants more info just GOOGLE (your town) Amateur Radio and you should find a local radio club that would be more than happy to explain the basics of how Ham Radio can be a tool to assist you in your RV.

Lots of Sailors have Amateur Radio in their Yachts so why not get your Amateur Radio License and then install an Amateur Radio in your Land Yacht?

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To the hams out there….  If you do get contacted by someone who RV’s and shows interest in our hobby…. Try and gear your reply towards how your hobby can assist them in their hobby and that way we both win.

73 & Safe Travels

 

#hamradio Antenna mods worked

Even though I had changed locations (Ottawa to Kingston) some things never change and I found myself in a location with a bigger yard but stronger antenna restrictions. (Before you say anything about a ham knowing better…. )

My wife and I moved in  with our eldest daughter and our situation suits both parties…

However with the assistance of a large pine tree and some shrubs to hide wire….  I am back on the air from FN14 with better results and less equipment than I had before

The new antenna is an approximate 45 foot wire in a mostly vertical configuration with 2 25 foot radial and 1 approx 40 foot radial.  The radials are along the fence line and under our deck in the back yard.   

This with the assistance of a 4:1 balun (using the internal tuner on my FT450 gave me great (great means it loaded up) results on 6-10-12-15-17-20 and 40m .  Hovever nothing on 80m or 160m.

Tonight I had a crazy idea and the part in stock.  I added a Buddipole 40m coil into the antenna close to the balun.  Taking the tap out I now have 80m using the internal tuner.  With the tap in at its shortest position I kept 6m to 20m… found 30m and kept 40m.  No luck on 60m with either setup but as I never used it before no big deal but I will check on what I might need to do to get something there that fits in my yard.

Not pretty, definately not technical… but it works…

At times there are people telling you it wont’t work…. (Ya can’t argue with the laws of electronics)….

Fortunately I never studied law…..   🙂

Sometimes its better to be lucky than smart….

73bob

 

ps…. for those RV’ers out there…. some amateur radio info for you and some solar plans for you rig will be coming soon.

Safe travels as well

 

 

 

It’s been a while… How ya been?

After 14 months I finally remembered my password for “the blog” and so here we are again.  In reality every now and again life gets in the way of hobbies and in the last year that basically happened to me.

What have you missed???  For a start the family no longer lives in Ottawa.  We moved to the City of Kingston Ontario on June 1st.  We are happy with our new digs but most likely will finally get unpacked and organized in time for our next move.

The retirement thing lasted about 4 months before I started going stir crazy and really annoying Liz so there also is a new employer or as I prefer to call it a new source of funding for the toy account.

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On the topic of toys we still have the same truck and camper as we took to PEI last year but with all that happened to us starting in late April with the getting ready for the move….  With the move in June…. and then the unpacking and all that goes with it….  2018 has not been a good year for camping or radio for that matter….

On the camping side Liz and I did get one trip in where we visited with old friends at Chillycon in early September and then Erika and I spent a great week at Sandbanks Provincial Park just south of Picton Ontario on the shore of Lake Ontario.  I have the camper in a storage facility close to our new home and I am hoping for one more trip before I winterize….

On the radio side of things….  Early in 2018 I did start to dabble in those new digital modes, mostly FT8 and had lots of fun.  Late in April the shack was packed up and just recently (late September) antenna wire is hiding in the trees at the new QTH.  Still using the same gear mostly….  The Yeasu FT 450 dialed down to 30w (gotta get a stronger power supply)for HF all modes and my FT 817 for the local VHF repeaters.

Still using HRD (but it did take a while to remember how to config it) along with my WinKeyer USB for CW and the SignaLink USB for the rest of the digital modes.  I still have to get my log talking to LoTW and EQSL as well as getting both of them to acknowledge the new address.  This means that if you have worked me after September 1st you might have to wait for a bit for the confirmation.  Not sure what hoops I have to jump through to open up an account for VA3QV in Kingston so it could (will) take some time.

If you really need a confirmation from FN14 drop me an email and I will send you something out via snailmail but I would prefer to wait for the E Side of things to get set up

Now a bit about the new toys….  There is a new (to us) truck and trailer in our future and I am hoping  this will happen late spring /early summer 2019.  We know what we want (trailer wise) and how we want to equip it and what we want to pull it with.  Something between 26-33 feet with a separate master bedroom  It will have solar power for dry camping along with a larger (3000-4000w) invertor/generator for those days when boondocking or dry camping the solar can’t keep up the power demands or Liz really wants me to run the Air Conditioner. 

img_0219Our current Champion Generator is very dependable but at 1.2k  also too small to run anything with a heating element along with the air conditioner in our current rig

As far as the tow vehicle goes we would need a 3/4 ton pickup.  4X4 short box with 4 doors would suit us nicely.  Both truck and trailer will have Amateur Radio Gear installed.  In some of the areas we plan to visit in 2020 the cell service might be sketchy so….  the ham gear is the vehicle is not for the hobby but rather for safety.

For the next few months posts will be made when things of interest in my Radio life or our RV Life.  Things that we want to share with you…

So as we say in the radio world “73”

or in the RV world “Safe Travels”

bob