Well that’s a good start…. 5 days into the New Year and I’m already falling behind so…
LETS GET STARTED
2022 was a great year for me at least ham radio wise. Thanks to the Parks on the Air (POTA) program I was able to make over 5000 confirmed QSO’s this year.
I also managed to contact and get confirmed with a Park every Day to successfully complete the “Bailey- Sprott Challenge”.
This was a lot harder than expected and I would like to thank my family for being understanding….
At the end of November there was 24 of us still in the running and although my logs show I have completed the challenge we all are still awaiting official results from the POTA Team.
Not sure at this time what 2023 will bring…. I do know it will be fun…. As Liz and I get older the thoughts of moving to an apartment (top floor with a balcony please)
are gaining favour with us. The stairs are become more and more of a chore…. With the band conditions getting better I could make do with a portable antenna (thinking a Magnetic Loop) on the balcony so I would not have to give up the hobby or be banished to the local repeaters on VHF/UHF. I guess a lot of its depends on how high the top floor is…
If I was to say that this year I want to operate more portable I would be telling the truth… But if I said that this year I will be operating more portable I might be misleading you.
No matter how light they make the equipment the weight of a QRP station combined with a lawnchair and a small camping table make it it a bit much to entice me to operate outdoors….
For now its going to be from the relative comfort of the shack (wherever that might be) till we get life figured out
Hoping you had a Merry Christmas and I wish you all a Happy New Year with logs of Rare DX.
Yesterday (December 27 2022) on a HF Net I heard an operator stating that he was operating QRP when he checked in with the NCS (and no it was not me)
The NCS asked what power level he was using and he proudly replied “10w”. The NCS commented that he thought QRP was 5W and a short gruff debate followed with the NCS saying it was not worth arguing over and he then continued the net.
You might remember that I covered this before in a blog post:
If you reading this from Ontario, Quebec, most of the Maritimes or most of the North Eastern States then you know we had one hellluva storm pass through the area.
I have heard reports of some amateurs having major antenna damage and a lot more having minor damage to dipoles and other wire antennas… My “Stealthy” inverted “L” damage was more of the minor kind
Overnight on Christmas Eve the winds (80 knts off Lake Ontario) managed to un attach the end of my antenna from the post it was attached to… As I am using very small gauge wire I could not find where it had ended up. All I knew that the antenna (the parts I could still see) was very slack as if it had a broken wire in the 40-60 foot area of the antenna. It was still in the tree but was not as high as it used to be …
What happened (best guess) is that the end of the antenna detached itself from the post it was attached to due to the fierce wind. This allowed the wire to be blown about with the wind and eventually the wire was no longer taught…
After shovelling my way across my backyard I was able to see where the end of the antenna was snagged in a tree. Using a 20 foot telescopic I was able to untangle the snag and then rehook the wire to the post again. Although the antenna seems not to be as high as it used to be (might of slipped off a branch when the antenna was slack) its good enough for now. When its a bit warmer I’ll spend more time figuring out what to do but for now…. Its too cold to try anything new
On the bright side I managed to stay “Stealthy” and on the air
I was operating very casually starting on Friday nite at 0000 utc and finishing at o3oo utc
Taking a 13 hour break for sleep and other such life issues I then continued casually (very casually ) until end of the contest at 2359:59
At the end of the contest I had managed 60 contacts with contacts from VO1, VO2, VE1, VE2,VE3,VE4,VE5,VE6 and VE7
Contacts were also made with 9 different US States and 1 DX station.
Missing were VE8,VE9,VY0,VY1 and VY2. To be honest did not really expect to get VE8, VY0 and VY1 but I was suprised that I missed VY2 and VE9. I did hear them both but was unable to get heard and I did not even hear any Northern Stations.
Contacts were made on 10m, 15m, 20m, 40m and 80m. I did listen but did not hear any contest stations on 160m.
Hope you had as much fun as I did and I will be resting up for the RAC Canada Day Contest in about 7 months from now
Well here we are in December and in the POTA “Park a day Challenge” there are still 24 of us in the running. 20 American stations , 3 Canadian stations (and I’m one of them) and 1 DX station
The streak continues on and as of December 8th I have managed at least one Park (confirmed) every day. 23 days (by my math) to go…. Almost there…
However in the last couple of weeks the Propagation GHODS have not always been smiling…. My daily totals are down and a couple of days I have considered myself luck to make that one or two contacts and then to get them confirmed.
Thanks have to go out to the Activators who are hanging in there giving us the chance to get them in our logs…
Well its Sunday am and I’ve finally thawed out…. Strange thing this Canadian Weather…..
I got on the bus at 130pm Eastern and the weather was nice and sunny….. Got off the bus close to the Murney Tower at 230 pm eastern and the weather was nice and sunny…..
Walked from the bus stop to the Murney Tower and the weather was nice and sunny….Started to set up and the weather was starting to cloud over…. Called CQ POTA and the sun gave up and hid beside the clouds and the wind from Lake Ontario picked up….
The working conditions was my Xiegu X5101 with a Sota Beams Bandspringer antenna. My Shakesphere 20 foot Wonder Pole was being supported by the Heavy Duty Tripod I mentioned a few posts back….
As you probally noticed the graphics above have for the most part been recycled from my library. I did have my IPhone with me but the pics for the most part did not turn out…..
I started out on 40m and had managed to contact about 5(or so) parks when Martin VA3SIE arrived and set up his KX3 along with his ALEXLOOP antenna. He started calling on 20m CW and I kept on with 40SSB.
Martin posted an excellent Video (link below) on his part of the activation so check it out….
After a while I switched over to 20ssb and managed a contact before jumping back to 40m ssb
As the sun turned into sunset it really got cold and the wind really picked up. We packed up and moved closer to the Murney Tower to escape the wind but it still was goshdarn cold…. Martin continued to operate and I decided to leave the gear packed up….
I managed to give out Murney Tower VE4877 and the Kingston Fortifications VE4872 to 14 hunters making it a successful Two Park activation day.
Just before 6pm eastern I got my bus ride home and called it a day…. Martin decided to stay (those youngsters just don’t feel the cold) and he was making SSB contacts on 40m and 20m….. I was actually impressed seeing how easy he was pulling in the stations with the KX3 and the loop…
This will most likely be my last activation for a while. The sheer pleasure of operating portable was negated by the reality of freezing (ok the coldest I have been in quite a while) and at a certain time it just is no longer fun…. I’ll keep on hunting till things change a bit….. and if we get a warm afternoon who knows…
A Bit of POTA News….
On Friday evening the Pota Gawds determined that I had been confirmed and had make contacts with 2000 individual parks. BIG THANKYOU to the activators that made this possible. This was one of my goals and it happened earlier than I had expected….
As of the time of this post my attempts to complete the “Park A Day Challenge” continue and since Jan 1 2022 I have made at least 1 confirmed contact a day with a POTA Park. As of the end of October there were 24 of us still in the Challenge…
48 Days to go….Will I make it???
Thats it for now…. I’ll post more when I have something to talk about
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
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…