Best contact for VA3QV/m so far

A few days ago I found myself listening and checking into the CAN-AM Net which is on 7.153 lsb.  Some of you old Pharts (like myself) might remember it as the Communications Ontario (COMSONT for short) Net

As the needs of the Ontario Goverment changed as far as Amateur Radio went the net carried on and thats how my Wolf River Coil ended up on 40m….  I checked in to talk to a few old friends and actually never bothered changed frequencies  after

So lets fast forward to today and I decide to try and check into the Trans Provincial Net on 7.100 LSB ( and before the flames start lets remember that the Canadian Bandplan allows voice there…..

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VE2OL Ray from SAINT-BRUNO-DE-GUIGUES, QC (about 425 kms North North West of Kingston) was the NCS and gave me a really nice 5/9 report from my mobile.  I gave he a 5/9 +10 back and we had a great QSO without any QSB.  It was armchair copy….

When we cleared I noticed that Woody VE3JJA from North Western Ontario checked in and I could actually hear him.

I broke back into the net and asked Ray if I could give Woody a call and as it turned out we could hear each other just fine….  This was a 1500 kms QSO from Sioux Narrows Ontario to my mobile in Kingston….

I was more than pleased…..

Hopefully this is a sign of things to come with the propagation Deity smiling down on us which will allow more great contacts…..

On to other topics for a few seconds….  We will be taking possession of our new trailer at the end of the month and will be spending a few weeks there getting things set up as we would like them….  However we have no WIFI there and my internet will be limited to cellular 4G connects till I run out of bandwidth.  Our provider assures us our plan is actually unlimited and I guess this is where we find out what their defination of unlimited is….

However if you are looking for me…..  try the following

Daytime – 3.755 Which is the Ontars Net between 7 am and noon

Daytime 7.153 Which is the Can-AM Net between 930 am and 11 am

Evenings- 3.733 Which is the Sandbox Net between 630 pm and 730

Evenings- 3.730 Which is the 3730 net which starts at 730pm

In addition I will be listening on the C4FM Repeater VE3FRG 146.805 also connected to the System Fusion Network (look up VE3UCC)

Not sure how radio active I will be as Liz and I have lots to do getting our trailer to resemble how we want it to be

Hope to hear you on the air during that time

73bob

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

Three months later….

3 months ago Liz and I almost bought the RV Trailer of our dreams but that nasty old COVID came calling and everything was closed and put on hold….

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The following YouTube clip is from a different dealer but it shows the finer points of the trailer without the normal BUY NOW….BUY NOW….BUY NOW that most RV dealers put on their YouTube postings

2 weeks ago I headed back to the dealer and found that it was still available and we started to talk…


Before I go any further I must mention that Quinte RV did not ask me to write this or did they offer me any thing to write this.  What you see here is an personal endorsement  which honestly describes my purchase experience…


The salesman let us visit with our old friend with no pressure.   I took a long visit and it was everything I remembered it as.  Big…. but light enough that my Pickup (VA3QV/m) could easily tow it….

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So now that the trailer remains how I remembered it ….  Just for $h!ts and Giggles lets put in an offer to purchase…..

 

 

The Salesman passed me over to the Financial Wizard and he started to do his magic.

 

And the Wizards magic was strong as he was able to get me the price I wanted, at the terms I wanted and  at a much better interest rate than I expected.

And to make matters even better (yes it does get better….) we were able to grab one of last two permanent campsites at a private campground just a short 45 minute drive from Kingston.  At this time I expect that Liz and I will spend most of our time there from when we move in on June 26th till the Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend in Mid October.

Our summer is now spoken for….  Time to enjoy life a bit when not working…  

 

For those of my followers who are more into RF than RV there will be a C4FM station set up along with my new(er) FT 450 set up there with what I expect to be an Inverted “L” which will cover 10-80m and maybe even 160m when I feed it with my SGC237 auto tuner which will relocate from the home station to the trailer for the season.

 

 

I plan to operate from the campsite as soon as I am able to which means a limited Field Day station but a strong attempt at the RAC Canada Day Contest a few days later.

 

I still have more to share with you especially on how great the new HF antenna system on VA3QV/m is working out but that will be for another post after I get everything moved into the trailer.

73 and safe travels

bob

 

 

 

 

Has it been 2 months already?

Well look back….  On March 14th 2020 Liz and myself drove to Oshawa, bought my 2nd Yaesu FT 450 from VE3FJC….  Looked at a new trailer , but did not sign on the line and had supper at the Belleville Casino….

A day later it all hit the fan….  Pandemic City and the worst two months in our lives…. Fortunately we kept our health and financial security (many lost both) but its changed life as we know it…. and two months later its not getting much better….

As things pertain to Ontario (VE3) the public parks are just starting to open up but right now  its only for day use…..  Don’t make any plans for Field Day yet…..

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I am still planning to operate Field Day but most likely as a 1A station.

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Yaseu FT 450, 43 foot vertical, 25 amp power supply and my Champion 1.5k Gas Generator.

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Overnight won’t happen but will (should)operate for both days but will be operating under Day Use restrictions.

Now as plans were made to be broken… I will be fairly flexible if the parks suddenly open for general use

However as of today’s date the private campgrounds that cater to the permanent campers will be allowed to start their season…  In addition many more businesses are going to able to open up but with some restrictions….

A biggie for me is that the Provincal Parks remaining day use only….  We were still strongly debating the new trailer but we also want to travel with it so……  Hard to travel if there are no Provincal Parks to travel to….  Not really wanting to make the payments with no where to go with it….

Radio wise it might be the year of the Contests or QSO Parties….  DXPeditions for the most part are not going to happen….  Just can’t see some remote area  inviting a bunch of old people from a country or countries that have had serious issues with COVID19 to welcome us with open arms…..  However I will be the first to admit that sitting in the shack in the evenings and having some chats have taken most (if not all) of the stress from my daily life  till the next day when it builds up again…

Hoping you are staying safe and sane through our search for the “new normal”

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

 

Ordered…. paid for…. and its on the way

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Might not be exactly as shown but my “hotspot” will be here soon.  After some playing and configuration it will be mounted in VA3QV/m to fill in some communications gaps while we are travelling with the trailer (whenever we are allowed to travel again)

More details to follow

73bob

Two antennas in one

Here at home I have some really restrictive Condo rules…..  So far I have managed to keep on the air with various levels of results…  None of them really great but all of them better than not being on the air….

Here is what has given me the best results (so far) but your results and your opinions may vary

In its “Super Stealth” mode I am using an approximate 45 length of 18 ga wire as an end fed (very tight inverted V” folded longwire.  Translated it goes up the tree… over the branch and back down again.

In its “Stealth ” mode I am using the same wire but this time its in an “Inverted L” configuration and the top part runs from the tree branch across my yard to the fence.  Its about 30 feet at the branch and about 10 feet at the fence.  The wire is green which hides it in the pine tree that I use for the support and its in plain sight for about 20 feet or so.

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It goes without saying that the Stealth Inverted L performs much better…

The antenna is fed by my SGC 237 auto antenna tuner and I do have 3 radials of approx 25 to 40 feet each that are mostly going around the inside perimeter of my fence.  IMHO the SGC is a fantastic bit of kit.  Rather pricey, but for me its made the difference between making contacts and not.  Plain and simple…..  My station consists of a Good Transceiver (FT950), a fantastic tuner (SGC237) and a very short wire…

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So far RFI has not been an issue and I have been able to make contacts on all the HF bands between 6m and 160m.  Granted on some bands its not really efficient but I have made contacts using either FT8 or SSB.

The same pine tree that conceals part of my HF antenna also keeps my Arrow Dual Band Ground Plane (VHF/UHF) mostly out of site.  I use this to get the 2 local repeaters and one out of town repeater.  The two local repeaters I can access from the living room using my handheld so if I had to remove antennas I would still be on the air above 30 mhz at least.

Until we change locations I don’t see things improving for HF or VHF/UHF operating.  But I have been promised that the next location (where ever we find ourselves) will be “antenna friendly”

73bob

 

A return to Digital HF Modes

It was about 8 months ago when I decided that when Liz and I were going to be RV’ing on a full time basis it was also obivious that some gear would not make it into the trailer for the trip.  My desktop computer was on its last legs but my laptop was fine so…. that fit in with reducing the clutter for the trailer.  However some of the accessories would not be needed so…. At the Carp Hamfest they were sent on their way to their new owners….

Now fast forward to the present time and the COVID Crap and we are not on the road and we are not in our new trailer and I was getting bored so…..IMG_0710

One of the items sold has been replaced… and as you can see I am back on the digital modes using a SignaLink sound card device.

Its taking a while to get back into the modes as I have to remember how to set things back up but so far I have gotten a few FT8 QSOs in the log and so…..  Its another distraction to keep me going when I am in the shack trying to unwind after work.  The real reason the item was sold was I thought I would not have the time to operate as much and so now that I have the time….  why not get back to it?


va3qvcoffeeThis morning (Thursday morning) on our local Kingston Coffee (C4FM) Net I was mentioning that I was thinking of getting a new SignaLink and shortly after that one of the participants mentioned that he had a spare he was thinking of getting rid of….  A couple of hours later we had met up and I was heading home to set up the latest addition.

Its the same bunch of operators that used to meet at the local coffee shop to compare rare DX contacts and complain about stuff but due to the COVID restrictions we now do it on the air from our shacks.

Its still as exciting as watching paint dry but at least in these times of unstable conditons along with my antenna restrictions it is a way to at least make some contacts.

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According to my LoTW files I need 49 more DXCC entities for my Digital DXCC and I need 8 more states for my Digital WAS from Kingston.  When I operated from Ottawa I did complete my Triple Play WAS so now the quest starts again from Kingston.

I’m not sure how many new ones I’ll get in the log during this time of self containment when not working …but I know it will be fun trying

73bob

 

Higher than usual Radio activity

If there is a positive side effect to this COVID19 crap it would have to be that a lot of hams have suddenly remembered where their shack is….  The ONTARS Net ( 3.755 lsb)  which runs 7 days a week  between 7 am and 6 pm is having a fantastic level or participation.  It reminds me of the good old days.

If would be even better if some of the newer/returning participants would remember not to tune up their amps/antennas on the net frequency before they check in.

Recently on a road trip to Ottawa I managed a couple of 2m FM contacts on the way there and a good ragchew on C4FM on the way back….  I guess the repeater crowd is trying getting into the shack in the non drive time periods.

On the topic of VA3QV/m….  I have not gotten any further with the installation of the FT 450 in the truck.

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I do have the antenna (Wolf River 10m-40m coil and 102 inch whip) installed and it does work but still no time to get the power cable run into the truck neatly (which will keep Liz happy)   All the other parts are sitting here so its only my inability to find a neat way to run wires from the battery to the radio which is holding things up

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I also am planning to get some sort of C4FM hot spot for the truck.  The ability to tether the hot spot to my I phone (internet access) could make the miles pass easier when the HF bands are not cooperating and the local repeaters are not active.  This would give me a mobile version of my home PDN (Local Node/Personal Digital Node) although it would be much lower power on the output. 

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More on this on later as I am still just shopping around now.

The Hamradio events cancellation list continues to grow….  It actually would be a shorter list to mention the events still happening.

Field Day will be happening but I am guessing a multitude of Single Operator home stations participating unlike years when it was a social event as well as an operating event.  This year we will be forced to operate only.  We should try and get a grip on the thought that this could be the new normal for our hobby

Thats it for now folks….  Try and stay safe and sane

73bob

 

HF antenna work on VA3QV/m (Part 2)

Its hard to say but there might be a part 3 to this one…..

Early this afternoon I hooked up my 102 inch stainless steel whip to the coil previously mounted on my truck and then brought out the tape measure and my MFJ antenna analizer.

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And the reason for the tape measure was to see how high off the ground the mount was …. which enabled me to calculate how tall the top of the whip was…..  If you take the height of the end of the coil (from the ground) being 61 inches then add the 103 inch lenght of the whip brings you very close to 13.4 feet which is too close (for my liking) to my maximum height allowance of 13 feet 6 inches here in Ontario.

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However according to the MFJ magic box I was able to adjust the coil to get the SWR low on all the bands between 10m and 40m.  Setting the centerpoint to 7.150, 14.200 the built in tuner could easily tune things up in most of the 40m and all of the 20m band.

Before you say anything I do realize once the cutter removes 12 inches from the whip I will have to go through all the tuning processes again but the cost of having an over height vehicle far outweighs the time spent to retune.

Although the poor power connection I had (using alligator clips on the battery) I was able to make a local contact with Bill VE3FI which proves everything works.  Next time I attach the wires PROPERLY to the battery then should have no problems running the full 100w.  Receive wise we heard lots (including ignition noise and alternator whine) so there will be a bit more work to be done.

On the RV side of things I did visit my lending institution this morning in my travels before the antenna work started and they would like a bit more info on the RV before they start the paperwork process.  But seeing that I’m not sure what campgrounds will be open this year (that damn coronavid 19) I will hold off on the paperwork for a while.  But its good to know they are interested in my business.

Coming in part 3….  ordering the 10-80m wolf river coil, trimming the antenna and making a strong (very strong) 12v power connection for the FT 450

73bob