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

 

 

HF Antenna work on VA3QV/m (Part 3)

been just over a month since we last spoke of this topic…..  Since then….. before today nothing happened as I was busy with :

Work

The new to me FT950

Avoiding all those nasty Covid thingys

Family

Life

So this afternoon I decided to review and continue on with my mobile installation….  I installed a double fused positive wire (one at the battery end and one at the radio end) along with a single fused (at the radio end) for the ground.

The successful result of this is that the radio is getting enough power from the battery to easily operate at 100w.  The drawback to this is that I was hoping hooking direct to the battery and a ground would of filtered more of the electrical noise in the vehicle.

Vehicle turned off I have a S5 noise floor and with the vehicle running between S7 and S9 depending on the RPMs of the engine.  More revs = more noise.

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The Wolf River 10-40m coil did not need retuning and I can easily cover the complete 40m voice portion of the band.  Worst SWR I saw was 2:1 and that was easily corrected using the Yaesu FT 450’s built in Auto Tuner.  This was a succcess.

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Muprhy (you all remember my good friend Murph????) also paid a visit when I realized that I had not brought my antenna analyzer with me so I could not set and mark the coil for the other bands at this time.

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Well I have two days off coming up on this Monday and Tuesday so there is a good chance (weather permitting) to make the wiring neater along with setting the various Bands SWR on the coil.

However on 40m during my test drive I did manage a 40 ssb contact with an American Station who said he was in the State of Virginia approx 13 miles from Washington DC.  I can’t remember his call and could not log (as I was driving at the time) but I gave him an honest 55 report as he was just over the noise and he replied with the same report back and that does not shock me as…..   If he can hear me over his noise then my mobile is doing  a good job.

Now once I get that work completed then all I have to do is find somewhere to go during this lockdown and something to do when I get there….

There will be a Part 4 for this one with more technical details and the final pics….

Till then…. Stay Healthy and Stay Safe

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

 

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)

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

 

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