Some things work first time then others….

…..Don’t

Right on the heels of my Sunday Portable HF operations I decided to try something I had read about years ago ….  It was a 40/80m NVIS (Near Vertical Incidence Skywave) antenna that used the body of my truck as the ground….

The basic idea that if you attach a 66 foot long wire to the stud mount that holds your mobile vertical HF antenna (just above roof height of the vehicle) you in effect would have an 80m NVIS antenna.  By folding it back on itself and shorting the ends of the wire together you would now have a 33 foot long antenna giving you the 40m NVIS effect as well.

For a good description of NVIS go to: 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near_vertical_incidence_skywave

or click on this link: NVIS

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I had all the pieces necessary in my junk box and headed back to Lake Ontario Park to build and do the basic testing.  For me the basic testing meant stringing it out and then testing using my MFJ Antenna Analyzer and it it worked return later with the FT 450 and see if it likes RF.

As I do not have a 3/8 stud mount on the new pickup (yet) I improvised with a single magnetic mag mount that had a stud mount attached.

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I set up at the park and proceeded to check things out and to my shock it worked on the first try.  SWR was excellent and all appeared well.  I then packed everything up and headed to meet a couple of local hams for a coffee then head back to the park with the FT 450.

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On my return to the park I re strung the antenna up and hooked up the FT 450 and found that the antenna would not load up…  On 80 or on 40….  I seem to remember from many years ago when I mounted a Hustler 80m mobile antenna on the luggage rack of a mini van the same thing happening.  That problem was cured by running a ground strap from the frame of the vehicle to the mount on the luggage rack but today I did not have any way to ground a magnetic mount so…..

Looks like I will have to wait till I install the mobile 3/8 mount on the truck.

Now on to “Other Stuff”….

I re installed the HF gear back in the shack as I realized that it is much better to be on the air with a poor antenna than not be on the air.  Its also better to be listening to anything on HF while waiting for some one to to call on a Local Repeater or one of the Wires X or for that matter than just to sit waiting.

The VA3QV  Wires X Node is working fine.  Along with East-West coverage I have also found that I go as far south as Lake Ontario (about 4km from my site) and still hear and use the node and that takes me to the end of the boat ramp and I can’t go any further south without getting wet.

Due to the ongoing overheating issues I now keep the node at its 5w setting  when its operating.  I have a cooling fan I have to install and then the power level issue will be looked at again after the install.

Tuesday night (last night) I listened to the VE3ORF/3730 Digital Net which was held on Yaesu Wires X Room 40505.  It operated for just under 1 hour and had 21 check ins from VE1, VE2, VE3, VE6 and the States of Mass, Virginia, Rhode Island along with a VK station.

The Net runs every Tuesday night at 8pm Eastern and is found on most of the digital platforms (C4FM, DMR) and for more information go to the VE3ORF Website.

The trailer still has to be winterized although the final camping trip of the year might be cancelled as there was a frost alert for the area we were planning to go to and also a family member (was not Liz) had to spend the night in the hospital (she was released the next day) so all is well but….

Liz and I are thinking if we tried to get away Murphy’s Law might  see us having to break camp and rush back,  so why not stay close to home as its better to be safe than sorry….?

So as usual its much more RF than RV in the blog post.  I think that Erika has spent more time in the trailer than Liz and I have this year….  Don’t see that changing till next spring…

For now Safe Travels and…

73bob

 

 

 

The adventure continues Part 3

Saturday evening was a great night and Erika remains the “Fire Queen”  She has the ability to start a campfire no matter how wet the wood is…..  Sitting by the fire at the end of the day with a cold one is a great way to finish off that day….

Sunday after breakfast it was decided (she decided) that we would head to the Cornwall Walmart for supplies.  Actually she was going to get me to drop her off at a Starbucks so she could visit with an old friend and I was heading to Walmart for supplies….  Anyway the drive took about 45 minutes each way as we drove a bit slow and checked some things out on the trip…  About 60 minutes after I dropped her off at Starbucks I was on my way back after getting food and other supplies for the next two days…

The after supper the evening started to get a bit chilly (!@#$%$#@ cold actually) and we broke out the electric heater for a while to get the chill out of the air….  Then it also started to get slightly damp…. Supper was great however…

Monday was a bit of a damp start and although we said we would not do it….  a good deal of cellular data got blown through as we streamed some stuff just to keep us occupied in the rain….  No overages but came also close to our monthly cap way before we should of….  Later in the day the clean up started as we were hitting the road on Tuesday morning….

Tuesday we had planned to take HWY 2 from Cedars to Kingston so we could check out a couple of boondocking sites I had found on I Overlander.  We also wanted to visit the St Lawrence Seaway lock station at Iroquois and after that we could check out the two sites.  The first was in Prescott Ontario and the next was in Gananoque Ontario

The site in Prescott was all they claimed it was but during the day time the parking lot was too crowded to get our rig in their.  Unfortunately I found this out after we had entered the lot and so it was a stressful time getting things turned around before we could leave….  We finally made it and then after fuel we continued on throughout Brockville and then on to Gananoque….  Unfortunately I zigged when I should of zagged as we approached Gan and so we missed that site all together.  It was decided (she decided and is getting more like her mother every day) that I could head back there another day to check it out…

 

So anyway we ended up in Kingston on Tuesday afternoon with the rig being put back into storage and for now the adventure is paused.  Erika and I had a fantastic time and looking forward to our next Daughter-Dad camping trip.I   to rest up a bit before the Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour (see previous post) and some minor gremlins were fixed in the trailer that will make life easier for Liz and myself when we take our first planned trip towards the end of June….

Safe Travels   Bob

The adventure continues – Part 2

When we last left you Erika and I had arrived at Riverside-Cedar Campground which is just east of Morrisburg Ontario on Hwy 2

We arrived on Friday afternoon and set up our campsite… After we got set up I asked Erika to take the truck over to the washrooms and fill up a couple of water jugs.  Not one of my smarter moves as there seemed to be a picnic table in front of the truck that somehow was not in her line of sight…

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and my truck said “OUCH”

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But at the end of the day…. she was fine… the damage to the grill was easily repaired… Gorilla Tape and Duct Tape can fix anything and the Park employees did not seemed overly concerned once they realized it was one of the old tables...

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So as no one was upset… (outside of Erika) the “no harm—–no foul ” rule was envoked and life quickly got back to normal

At the end of the day if that is the worst thing that happens to my daughter when she is driving I will be a happy man…  She now knows to look in front of her vehicle before she moves it from a parking spot and this is a lesson well learned… Also why I let her learn to drive using an old Pick up truck…. in 99% of the time she would win no matter who made the mistake…  no harm… no foul…. and everyone went home at the end of the day…

Works for me….

On the radio side of things….  Everyone who know me well knows that I feel the most important use of Amateur Radio is the ability to talk to “HOME” and on Saturday this happened on two bands.

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Saturday morning John VA3CAK was the net control of the ONTARS Net and his station was able to hear 5 watts and a wire from my Yaesu FT 817….

And the antenna I used was my homebrewed W3EDP

NEWW3EDP

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Later in the day I was able to contact Bill VE3FI via the Landsowne Repeater…. As Bill and John are both in Kingston I was able to call home…  making the Hamradio part of the camping trip a success.

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We had a great evening and all was forgiven (forgotten)

The weather was not the best but we managed to stay warm and dry in the trailer.  Blew the data budget all to hell when we streamed a couple of movies but it was all good fun.  OTA Tv was kind of a bust but we were able to get 4 different PBS Stations but unfortunately none of the major networks…

I also made quite a few contacts on the C4FM mode using the VE3ORF Linked repeater systems which was something new for me and very interesting.  Nothing there is like rare dx as in effect its like Skype on a radio but it was nice making some longer distance contacts that was armchair copy rather than trying to pick out the occasional words on HF.

This Fusion stuff with all the bells and whistles including these new fangled hotspots are starting to have a life all on their own.  That weekend was my first encounter with the e Wires X linking and I was impressed.  I think its safe to say that there will be more linking in my near future.

In addition to the Fusion stuff there were lots of FM repeaters around to play on but unfortunately there was a lot of dead air after the repeaters CW id finished.  We have the toys but people need to play with them….I also managed to check into the 3.730 net on HF SSB but it was hard work with the QRP Rig.

This seems a good spot to stop for the nite…. Next time Sunday, Monday and Tuesday

73bob

 

 

The adventure continues- Part 1

Just got back into Kingston….  Tuesday late afternoon…..The trailer was unloaded then put back into storage till the next time and there is lots to be done but….  

Here is what we did:

Wednesday evening we (Daughter Erika and myself) staged all that was needed for the trip in our garage so on Thursday morning we could pull up to the end of our driveway to load and go

Thursday mid morning I drove over to the storage facility hooked on to the trailer and drove home.  Parking in the end of the driveway the truck and trailer was loaded in record time.  We then headed out to Ottawa which was the first nights destination. 

We arrived Thursday afternoon and parked at the Walmart Center at Train Yards (Ottawa) for the night.

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This location was chosen as it was the closest to my daughter’s Doctors office as her appointment was on Friday am.  Thursday evening after a visit from Jose VA3PCJ in the afternoon I settled down in the camper while Erika was out visiting friends and played some radio.  On 147.300 FM (+ offset)  (VE3TWO Repeater) I checked into the Ottawa Valley Mobile Radio Club (OVMRC) weekly 2m net.  Some C4FM contacts were made as well on the VE3ORF Digital Radio Network.  I had no trouble accessing their Ottawa UHF Repeater. It was good to catch up with old friends on both repeaters.  Erika arrived back and we shut down for the night.

Friday morning Rikki left for her doctors appt and I cleaned up the trailer a bit then met Don VA3GFD for coffee at the Timmies across from the Train Yards plaza.  The plan was that Rikki was going to her doctors then take public transit to the South Keys Plaza where she was going to have lunch with her friends. I was to park there and then I would meet my oldest (known him forever) friend Dave for a quick brew(s) and a trip down memory lane. Then meet Erika at the trailer (she wanted to take a power nap) and we would then head south to our campsite just a couple miles east of Morrisburg Ontario at the Riverside-Cedar Campground.  

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We arrived after a short drive and got set up fairly quickly….

This seems like a good place to stop for a while so in a few days from now the Saturday and Sunday will posted in part 2

Safe Travels and 73 bob