VA3QV/m (UHF/VHF/HF)

The result of having way too much time on my hands but as of right now VA3QV/m is as good as I see it being….

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VHF/UHF communications provided by my Yaesu FTM7250D which along with being dual band its also dual mode (FM/C4FM) with output power being up to 50w.  If the repeater I am on at the time is part of the Wires X network I can also access that network as well

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HF Communications (15m/17m/20m/40m/60m/80m) with my Yaesu FT450d along with a Wolf River coil.  The FT 450 has a built in Auto Tuner which I plan to use to extend the bandwidth of the antenna system but so far it has not been needed

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In addition I have a hotspot that I tether to my cell phone that interfaces the 7250 with the System Fusion system for Wires X style linkingIMG_0728

But getting back to HF Mobile operating…

In anticipation of next year being better than this year is turning out I decided to outfit my truck with a good selection of communications gear so that if we are allowed to travel unrestricted next year communications “home” from wherever we were visiting would be possible

It did take a few remakes but the Wolf River 10-80m coil along with a 90 inch stainless steel whip is working better than expected.  I am making contacts (on a daily basis) with stations across Ontario/Quebec and the Maritimes on 40m and 80m ssb. I have also make contacts into Canada’s western provinces using 20m and 40m ssb.  In eastern Ontario the guys say that my mobile is almost as strong as my fixed station setup seeing that I have to use a stealth antenna here at home to keep the condo board guessing.

Left pic shows the mount that failed and the one that is stronger is on the right

Now if you decide to go this route for your mobile I do recommend going with a very strong mount on your vehicle.  My first mount failed due to the flexing issue with the 102 inch whip (I later cut it down to 90 inches due to height restrictions) and a 16 inch coil driving around the streets of Kingston.  Before then the coil was working fine and then the mount failed.  After replacing the mount with one more robust it is working just fantastic.  I still have some filtering to add to my ignition and charging systems as there is some alternator whine and ignition noise there but I’ve got time before 2021 to get that figured out

The next part of the package will now to get the trailer set up and then make it “Radio Active” in time for Field Day and the RAC Canada Day Contest.  The next 2 weeks are going to be a busy time.

73bob

Its bigger than I thought…

… and it works great

Back on May 8th I posted that I had finally ordered the Wolf River 10-80m mobile coil for VA3QV/m.

Well today it showed up and I am pleased…. very pleased…

Its a little bigger than the 10-40 Wolf River coil that I already was using:

10-40 on the left and 10-80 on the right

With the coil mounted on the rear of the truck, add in the length of the coil and then the 102 inch stainless steel whip we come out to 14 feet 3 inches which is a bit over the Provincial limit of 13 feet 6 inches.

This was expected but I wanted to play with the new toy ASAP so I headed out to Lake Ontario Park in Kingston with everything laying in the box of the truck…  I found a shady place to park and then set up the coil for 80m using my MFJ antenna analyzer.

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I was able to determine that my SWR was acceptable on 80m between 3.720 and 3.775.   Anything over/under that would be easily corrected by the built in auto tuner on the Yaesu FT 450

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But the proof is not in what the computer says but more in what the station says when I contact them….

As the sweet spot on 80m was already set I aimed for 3.755 and heard the NCS for the ONTARS Net (Rob VA3WDK  south of North Bay Ontario) who heard me and gave me a 5/7 to 5/9 report during our 3-5 minute conversation. That was a distance of approx 180 miles north west of Kingston with daytime conditions on 80m

I am more than pleased with the results so far and over the next few days I will be removing the top 12 inches of the whip which should bring it down to a legal 13 feet 3 inches (total height) and then I will set the sweet spots on the coil for 15m, 20m, 40m, 60m and 80m which are the primary bands I would be using when Liz and I are out (eventually) pulling our new trailer.  Not sure when that will happen but when it does….  The truck will be radio active to say the least….

The blog will be updated in the near future once I get the whip trimmed with my final comments on what I consider (at this time) to be a superior product at a great price….

More to follow

73bob

 

Pleased with the new purchase

Well after the help of a few local (Kingston) hams and the computer skills of my daughter Erika its working fineimg_0725

The hotspot has found a place in VA3QV/m and I have it set up in such a way that I do not need a computer to control it ….  However I am also not using it to its full potentinal.

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But it is doing exactly what I wanted it to so…. it works for me… And heres how I am using it so far….

I use it to connect to the Canada Wide Room which is part of the VE3ORF/3730 linked Repeater system This lets me keep track with the “home town” when I am not within VHF/UHF RF range although most nites I can contact them on 80m SSB on the 3730 group.

Here in Kingston the local Fusion Group has just (in the process of)set up a hotspot on the the Fusion repeater here in town.  This (once all is finished) will let me call into my new home town when I am on the road.  Once again YES I could do this on HF but its nice to have some communications options.

Now if I was to add a tablet to the system I could use the hotspot to its full potential but for now I don’t want to introduce any more distactions to VA3QV/m and the video display would be doing that.  All I need to do is fill in a few gaps in communications (for now).  I am planning to get a 2nd hotspot to put in the trailer and that will have more computer control but for now its the KISS principal.

I’m still a newby at this but it is a great communications tool

73bob

PS…. as I write this according to the USPS tracking site my 10-80m Wolf River Coil is somewhere between Chicago and Kingston.  It passed through Chicago and so far has not be scanned anywhere since.  I am hoping it makes it to Toronto where it will clear customs and then on to me in Kingston

 

Coming soon

As you know….

VA3QV/m has been using a Wolf River 10-40m HF Coil along with my Yaesu FT 450 and I have been quite pleased with it.

The one important thing missing for me was the 80m band as many of the Nets I would check into while travelling are on 80m….

So this afternoon I emailed Wolf River Coils and ordered their 10-80m version.  It will be on its way to Kingston shortly and I hope I will be saying as many nice things about it as I do for the 10-40m version.

More later after it arrives and I get it set up and working as it should

73bob

Not looking good for camping season

It was only blind luck I guess…..Going back in time to the day I bought my 2nd FT450 (the one I wanted to put in the new trailer when we got it) and on the way home from Oshawa we stopped in at Quinte RV and by accident found the one that met all of our needs….

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Rather than sign on the line right then and there we decided to go for supper and return in a day or so to do the paperwork…..

Well BS baffles Brains once again as we would have a new trailer with no place to go….  A couple of days later the world changed as we know it…..

If you were thinking of camping perhaps reading the following article (link below) will be interesting:

https://globalnews.ca/news/6779704/coronavirus-non-essential-campgrounds/

I guess for one time we did it right although unless lots of people smarten the F**k up and follow the rules there will be no camping season for a while.

And once this clears up (eventually it will) how many RV Dealerships will still be around to sell to the few people who could afford the rigs while our country tries to recover from the financial crisis brought on by the pandemic.

We are fine here…. and expect to stay ok as long as the sanity holds…..  we have the resources to stay fed with a roof over our heads but…..  Isolation is having a good game against our sanity as the time continues….

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Stay safe out there…..  Keep your distance…..

6under

bob

 

Info for Snowbirds returning to Canada

IT seems that some SNOWBIRDS returning to Canada with their rigs are stopping at Walmart Stores close to the border to rest up and in the process ignoring the 14 Day Self Isolation order of the Federal Goverment.  

https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/brockville-police-walmart-working-to-stop-campers/wcm/9c99fa69-9496-4cc5-879b-a1b5af655bd5/

USE SOME COMMON SENSE HERE FOLKS

 

Node back on the air

You might remember about three weeks ago when I posted the following:

First of all my Yaesu Fusion Node is off the air….  Windows did an automatic update and now the Node software is not functioning.  I’m guessing that a re install is needed but at this time I just don’t feel like jumping through the hoops a 2nd time.  I’m hoping that re installing the drivers will make it all work again…  It does however make me wonder IF there might be a more stable operating system to do this on….  I am the first to admit I use computers in my hobby but they are far from being my hobby.  ….  It will be back sometime (and I hope soon) but there is lots going on in my life at this time (all good) but time management is starting to be an issue…..

Well its back and seems to be mostly stable…. it only crashes now when my internet is flakey but the driver issue has been fixed.  I found a small usb powered fan and now whenever the laptop is on my node radio and the power supply for the node radio is being cooled.  Its working so well that I have returned the power to the 25w level that I started at.  The overheating problem has been cured by the usb fan so as long as the intenet is behaving the VE3ORF system has its Kingston node running again.

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The node is running on UHF (frequency on the pic above) and it is normally connected to the VE3ORF system

Hope to hear you sometime…

73bob

Operating with a “Stealthy” #HF #hamradio Antenna

Antenna Restrictions-  The ability of a Condo Board, HOA agreement, Landlord or Property Owner to limit the ways we can enjoy our hobby.  Sometimes even local goverments will try and interfere as well…. Normally these restrictions tell us as the resident what we can do with the outside of our living space.  However normally there are ways to circumvent the restriction although we might have to think outside of the box.  In most cases these are just rules that you can’t attach anything to the outside of the residence or to any of the “common ground” areas of the property

Stealth Antenna– My defination of a Stealth Antenna is an antenna that is up 24/7 and is very disguised (hidden) in such a way that you can operate when you want to.  I will give you some examples later.

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Portable Antennas- Antennas that can be used as they are not attached to the property.  Buddipoles or any other antenna which could be tripod mounted are the best and easiest examples although they may not be the best they do get you on the air…  Put the tripod on your deck or in the back yard….  Erect the antenna….  Play radio…. then take down and put away till the next time you want to play radio…

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The examples are various but…. the intent is the same..

Some basic suggestions for Stealth Antennas – Hiding it in plain sight is usually the best.  If you are living in an older neighborhood you might get away with using RG59 which we know as cheap 75 ohm coax as a long wire.  Where I used to live the cablevision companys solution for fixing problems was to re run a new feed line to the house.  They would just string the line from the pole to the house whatever way they could so….  We got used to seeing lots of people in Orange vests and a white hardhat tossing wire into trees and along fence lines.  Get one of your ham friends to wear a vest and run wire from you home into a tree and see what happens.  Just short the ends of the coax and treat it as a long wire….  This will be non resonant longwire so a good tuner will be needed along with a few radials on the ground where they will not be seen.

If that will not work for you try loading up the rain gutters.  It does work…. yes you do need metal gutters or perhaps a wire running down the plastic eves and gutters but use your imagination and see what you can use.

remember that you don’t listen to any ham who says it won’t work.  You try it and show him it works…

Over the years I have had the best luck using a tree that was in my back yard….  Tossed a thin insulated wire over the higher branch I could and used a 4:1 balun along with radials inside my fence and I stayed on the air in Ottawa for 20 years with acceptable results (DXCC, WAS, Triple Play)  When doing this I suggest you use insulated wire the same colour as your surroundings…  Using a Fir tree use green wire…. Regular tree try a brown wire….   Non Insulated copper wire tends to stand out for a while till the shine comes off….

None of these suggestions are guaranteed winners….  Your results will vary depending on many factors….  Think outside the box and see what you can do to stay on the air….

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Game on….

73bob

The $500.00 hat

Well I went to the Hamfest as you know. Had a fantastic time and brought home a new radio as well…. Here’s the history on it….

When leaving home I was instructed to have fun…. say “HI” to the guys back in Ottawa and not to buy any new radios …

Well you would not believe the deal I got at the Radioworld display… I bought a Designer Yaesu Hat for $500.00 and they threw in a free FTM100-D

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it….

(She never told me not to buy a hat)

73bob

2nd Road trip with the new truck

I was planning to take the train to Ottawa for my Doctors appointment (Thurs Aug 22nd) but that was before I bought the new(er) truck….

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So at 6am I headed out and fueled up and headed east on the 401

The route took me east bound to the 416 and then northbound on the 416 exiting at North Gower and then heading east on county road 6 (skirting the southern end of Ottawa) to the village of Metcalfe then heading North into Ottawa

Ham Radio Note:  There was not that much activity on some of the repeaters along the 401 that I am guessing that it was due to the early start time of my trip.  However I was able to access the Linked VE3ORF Digital (C4FM)Network through their Prescott Ontario 2m repeater when close to Prescott and then held the repeater as I went North on the 416.  Close to Kemptville Ontario I switched over to VE3ORF (Kemptville )(uhf) and continued on with my conversation with the group untill Ottawa South when I switched over to the VE3ORF (Ottawa UHF) repeater and continued again with the morning drive in chatter.

For more info on their repeater system go to :

http://www.ve3orf.com

I made it to my Doctors office at 830 am

After the appointment and then taking care of some business …

Unfortunately due to the last minute timing of this trip I was not able to visit all who should of been visited.  Medical, business and family had priority this time but next time the trailer will be following the truck and I’ll have some time to socialize…

Ham Radio note:  While travelling west across Ottawa I did make a C4FM Wires X contact on the 146.805 repeater VE3DRE  I worked a couple of VE1 Stations as the repeater was connected to the CQ Canada Room on the Wires Network

I then grabbed lunch and headed east to Embrun Ontario to have a visit with my oldest daughter.  We don’t see each other as we would like and as an added bonus my youngest grand daughter was there and I got to catch up with her as well.

After a few hour break for supper and chats it was time to head back home to Kingston and so I headed out via the back roads as I headed south west to hopefully find the 401 wb at the Morrisburg Ontario exit.

Ham Radio Note:  leaving Embrun I was able to work the OVMRC Repeater VE3TWO (fm) on 147.300 and join in their weekly net.  The repeater has great coverage and I was able to copy from Embrun to just south of Winchester

I found it and then headed back home to Kingston.  At the end of the long day (16 hours) I had travelled just over 500 kms across various road styles.  The truck behaved itself and there were no issues.  If I did the math correctly I am getting 8.5 litres per 100km for my fuel economy.  The old Dodge used 11 litres per 100 km so that in itself is a savings.  I know that that will change once I start pulling the trailer but I am still pleased….

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Next time we meet there should be a posting about how good (or bad) the truck is as it leads the trailer around Eastern Ontario….

for now….

Safe Travels and to my hams followers….

73bob