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

 

 

 

 

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

 

COVID 19 restrictions

From this mornings Ottawa Sun we have some more needed restrictions that impact both of my hobbies:

The province has also introduced new measures to address surge capacity in hard-hit retirement and long-term care homes, restrict recreational camping on Crown land, and allow the repurposing of existing buildings and temporary structures.

The Crown Land part affects me as a RV’er as well as a Amateur Radio Operator.  

First of all for my non Canadian readers….  Crown Land is land that is owned by the Goverment and therefore owned by the Queen/King at the time and so named Crown Land.  This would be the same idea of BLM land in the USA and can be designated for various recreation and conservation uses.  A Boondockers paradise…..

Restricting camping is a no brainer as when one person set up camp in an isolated area it seems that another camper has to set up close to that site no matter how much area is available.

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I’m guessing that the Provincial Enforcement Officer (Police or Conservation Officer) will not know the difference between Bob the Camper and Bob the Radio Operator.  

I’m not happy but I understand its really necessary as the only way to beat this damn bug is to isolate and (so far) the minor inconviences that are being imposed on us are worth it.

Just really glad that I’m not making monthly payments on a Rig I can’t use or making storage payments on a Rig that I can’t use

Stay Safe our there

73bob (safe travels)

Mobile Antenna work delayed

The mobile work needed (or that I wanted to do) which consisted of making a better power connection, ordering (and installing) the Wolf River 10-80m HF coil along with taking bout 12 inches off the whip to keep me under height has been delayed.

I have decided not to order the coil for a while as I’m not sure about international (US-Canada) postal links staying strong.

I am trying to find the time to get the power cable run properly and then trim the whip so I can operate 10-40m mobile …. but between work (I work in a grocery store) in retail which is very hectic these days and regular family pressures makes it hard to find any free time after I get home and unwind.

The unwinding is usually done in the shack checking in to a few HF nets if my stealth antenna can hear the NCS stations.  After that then its off to bed and the then wake up the next morning and the routine continues again.

My family are my 1st priority and so far they are not suffering (however 4 females in the same home can get loud) and they do let me unwind in the shack.

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(Thanks to Bill VE3FI for the graphic)

Remember to keep your distance when out shopping (if you don’t care about your health think about the clerks trying to fill the shelves so you can eat)

On the RV side of things….  Hearing lots of things about parks not opening…. or not committing to opening.  A few years ago Liz and I were thinking of purchasing a few dozen acres of land up north and developing it while keeping a trailer on it.  We both wish we had done that.  It would of been a great place to isolate the family safely without going stir crazy.  However hindsight is 20/20….

So….  Stay safe and keep your distance….. be smart and isolate…..

73bob

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

HF antenna work on VA3QV/m (Part 1)

Today I started working on the mobile installation on my pickup. 

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Its going to take a few days to get everything done but the first step was getting the mount installed on the truck and that was accomplished today.

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The mount itself fits in one of the stake holes in the box of my pickup.  Once you figure out the little trick of getting it to attach its fairly easy.  The hardest part was getting a good ground with the body of the truck as I have a spray on box liner on my truck and so it took a few tries before a good ground was found

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The next step was fairly easy which was just attaching the Wolf River Coil to the mount…..  After screwing it to the mount a few minute drive around the neighborhood and its bumpy road proved that the mount was securely attached.

I ran the coax from the mount and to the inside of the truck leaving the power cable and mount for the FT 450 for another day.  I also have to move some stuff in the garage to get the 102 inch whip from its hiding place so I can get it screwed into the coil. 

After that’s done I will have to do a quick measure to make sure that I do not exceed 13 feet in height as the maximum vehicle height allowed in Ontario is 13 feet 6 inches.  I might have to trim a few inches off the top of the whip as I can’t lower the mount.  

After that is done it will be a bit of a drive around town to ensure that the mount and coil/whip combo are still mounted properly then its time to set the swr on the different bands ( 10-40m) then finally take the time to play some radio.

All this work is anticipation of a trip down to VE1Land  (with Erika) sometime before the summer and after that some camping if Liz and I can finish the number crunching on the trailer we were talking about earlier

More to follow in Part 2

73bob

Cancellations and additions

Its a mixed emotions day….  The Iroquois ARC has cancelled their upcoming Hamfest due to the concerns of the day….

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The Ottawa Valley Mobile Radio Club was forced to cancel their March General Meeting as the location provider is closing down all group meetings due to the same concerns.

As for the most part Hams are in the high risk category as we tend to be older and most older types usually have some other medical and health issues so the cancellations make perfect sense.  It does have me wondering will Dayton be next?

A few days ago I decided to head out and pick up a couple extra packs of TP because of what I have heard happening in some of the stores.  I live in the house with 4 women so this is an important item and some people laughed…. tp

Today most (if not all) the major grocery stores here in town were sold out of TP…  Whose laughing now????

On a positive note Liz and I drove to Oshawa this afternoon where I paid for and picked a used Yaesu FT 450 from Walter VE3FJC.  Yes I do have a FT 450 already but this was a great deal and I decided that it would be easier to operate a radio that I already had a good knowledge of rather than have to learn a new radio.  The new one will be going in the shack and the previous one will be going into VA3QV/m along with that 102 inch whip and Wolf River Coil I previously purchased. Pics of the install and setup in the truck will be posted here once I get everything working as it should

On the way back we drove along HWY 2 and found an open RV Dealership near Belleville (www.quinterv.ca) and had a nice talk with their General Manager.  They have one brand new unit that is tempting both to Liz and myself.  Floor plan below

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Its light enough that we can tow it with our existing truck and we really like it.  Some number crunching will be happening in the near future…..  Perhaps…. Just perhaps we can isolate in style…..

More in the near future…..  if things are positive

73bob