Well its Sunday am and I’ve finally thawed out…. Strange thing this Canadian Weather…..
I got on the bus at 130pm Eastern and the weather was nice and sunny….. Got off the bus close to the Murney Tower at 230 pm eastern and the weather was nice and sunny…..
Walked from the bus stop to the Murney Tower and the weather was nice and sunny….Started to set up and the weather was starting to cloud over…. Called CQ POTA and the sun gave up and hid beside the clouds and the wind from Lake Ontario picked up….
The working conditions was my Xiegu X5101 with a Sota Beams Bandspringer antenna. My Shakesphere 20 foot Wonder Pole was being supported by the Heavy Duty Tripod I mentioned a few posts back….
As you probally noticed the graphics above have for the most part been recycled from my library. I did have my IPhone with me but the pics for the most part did not turn out…..
I started out on 40m and had managed to contact about 5(or so) parks when Martin VA3SIE arrived and set up his KX3 along with his ALEXLOOP antenna. He started calling on 20m CW and I kept on with 40SSB.
Martin posted an excellent Video (link below) on his part of the activation so check it out….
After a while I switched over to 20ssb and managed a contact before jumping back to 40m ssb
As the sun turned into sunset it really got cold and the wind really picked up. We packed up and moved closer to the Murney Tower to escape the wind but it still was goshdarn cold…. Martin continued to operate and I decided to leave the gear packed up….
I managed to give out Murney Tower VE4877 and the Kingston Fortifications VE4872 to 14 hunters making it a successful Two Park activation day.
Just before 6pm eastern I got my bus ride home and called it a day…. Martin decided to stay (those youngsters just don’t feel the cold) and he was making SSB contacts on 40m and 20m….. I was actually impressed seeing how easy he was pulling in the stations with the KX3 and the loop…
This will most likely be my last activation for a while. The sheer pleasure of operating portable was negated by the reality of freezing (ok the coldest I have been in quite a while) and at a certain time it just is no longer fun…. I’ll keep on hunting till things change a bit….. and if we get a warm afternoon who knows…
A Bit of POTA News….
On Friday evening the Pota Gawds determined that I had been confirmed and had make contacts with 2000 individual parks. BIG THANKYOU to the activators that made this possible. This was one of my goals and it happened earlier than I had expected….
As of the time of this post my attempts to complete the “Park A Day Challenge” continue and since Jan 1 2022 I have made at least 1 confirmed contact a day with a POTA Park. As of the end of October there were 24 of us still in the Challenge…
48 Days to go….Will I make it???
Thats it for now…. I’ll post more when I have something to talk about
The operators will be Martin VA3SIE (KX1 or KX3) and Bob VA3QV(Xiegu X5105). It is hoped that Bill VE3FI (KX3)will be with us as well if his earlier activation allows him to make it here. The activation was also talked about on our local QRP/POTA groups (VHF and HF) weekly net so I’m not really sure how many operators will show up.
We will be spotting ourselves on POTA Spots and hope to get you in the log.
This is also fitting with the Polar Bear Moonlight Madness (PBMME) event. The event takes place on the Saturday closest to a Full Moon and is a fairly popular event for the QRP Types
This will be the first time that my XIEGU X5105 will be playing outside with other radios in close proximity. Lets hope the little rig does not get overloaded
Fort Henry (at the top of the Fort Henry Hill) is one of the highest points in the area and has a great view across Lake Ontario to the South West…
It was a windy damp morning when we set out and by the time we got to the Fort the wind at the top of the hill was quite strong… We managed to set up my 33 foot MFJ mast to the “Headache Rack” on John’s pickup truck with my homebrewed 40m EFHW at the top of the mast….
The radio of choice for the day was my XIEGU X5105 QRP Radio
The antenna was operating as a sloper going to a Picnic Table located close to the truck. Looking to the South West we could see a storm front moving north. Bill VE3FI (activating Parrots Bay VE5142) advised that at his location (west of us) was getting a heavy downpour… at our location is was windy and misty…
When all was connected and I went to turn the radio on and tune up… I got one heck of a jolt…. followed by a jolt whenever I touched the radio… or the PL259 antenna connection… It was a good thing that John had a pair of work gloves in his truck so I could disconnect the antenna… We then removed the mast from the Truck and then packed up and headed home….
After the fact I was able to receive signals once I got home (Saturday afternoon) and the auto tuner did work and was showing output on transmit but the band conditions did not help my QRP Signal so I’m still not sure if I made it out damage free….time will tell I guess…..
On a positive note…. I did check out the XIEGU by making some QRP contacts from home on Monday (this morning) and signal reports along with audio reports lets me know that all is well..
I guess I was lucky
I had heard of this in the past but those examples had longer wires (kite suspended or balloon suspended) and it shocked me (no pun intended) to find out that with only 66 feet of wire the same would happen…
Looks like I am going to have to look into a better grounding system when operating in less than stellar weather conditions… In 20 plus years of QRP/Portable operating this never happened to me but then again… I don’t normally go out and play in bad weather…
On Friday I decided to go back to Princess Auto… On my last trip there I picked up a Heavy Duty Camera Tripod to add to my Portable Station…
The Tripod gave me the option of using my ToyBox portable antenna or finding some trees that would work with my EFHW. The End Fed Half Wave is far the better antenna but the ToyBox has its good points especially as all I have to do is open up the Tripod and add a counterpoise to match whatever band I have decided to operate.
Liz hates it when I go there… Princess Auto has so much stuff I don’t need until I see it there on Sale….
That brings us to my latest purchase…
While walking around in their Surplus Section I found the following:
Its a heavy duty Tripod…. thats what they call it anyway
Attributes and Specifications
Package (L x W x H)
22.3 x 9.3 x 9.3 in.
Heavy Duty Telescopic Tripod
So seeing that there was no one there to talk me out of it…. It followed me home… the $30.00 price tag will not break the bank…. and over the last couple of days I have tested it….
It easily supports my dual band VHF/UHF Arrow Ground Plane antenna at 20 feet above ground. Even though I would use Guys in the real world it was not needed for the quick test in my backyard…
I should add that for masting I was using 4 sections of Surplus Military masting at a lenght of 4.5 feet per section. Adding to the 18 feet of masting the Tripod also opens up to 3 feet bringing it to a 21 feet lenght in total
It also supported my Shakespear 20 foot wonderpole with no issues. This would be the support for my EFHW or an inverted Vee Portable antenna that I use occasionally…
I can actually see myself trying to buy one more… as of now the Kingston store has 6 left in stock… They started with 7 and I bought mine… I can’t get there again before Tuesday but I think that having two of those Tripods would be a great asset for my Planned Transportable Station… I would love to activate a POTA Park for a weekend and use the tripods to get a few antennas in the air… My Portable station fits in a backpack…
The planned Transportable station will be a bit heavier but…. will have more (and better) toys as well
More on the Dream Station later if I can swing some of the details
Yesterday (Thursday) afternoon I took the Xiegu and the Toy Box out to a POTA site here in Kingston Ontario. The gear and I took Kingston Transit and ended up at the POTA site VE4877 (Murney Tower) which is paired up (as a 2 fer) with the site VE4872 (Kingston Fortifications).
As stated at the beginning the X5105 and the Comet Toy Box was the gear for my second test…. This time I brought a change of counterpoises. The random lenght wires of yesterday were replaced with the 1/4 wave lenght for 20/40/60/80m. I only used a single counterpoise for each band as recommended by the “Page of words” for the antenna.
As usual the bands were pure crap (at least for a QRP signal trying to test a new antenna) but I was hearing lots. In addition I did manage to get checked into the Nickel Belt Net on 7.252 with Rolly VA3CRE being the Net Control Station in Copper Cliff Ontario (about 270 miles from Kingston – outside of Sudbury in Northern Ontario). The 5 X 1 signal report was encouraging as I had set up the audio to match up with my voice and the “1” part of the report was expected as its QRP and a compromise antenna.
It was just as hard trying to break a pile up with the Xiegu as it was to try it with my old FT817 so many years ago.
But for the second time I proved that I can make a contact across Ontario using the “Toy” and the X5105
The third test will be coming up next week when I try using an elevated counterpoise as recommended by the page of words…. After the third test I will be doing a comparision between the EFHW and the Toy.
More on this next week after I get thru the weekend.
Well…. its almost 6pm and I picked up my parcel at the Post Office at 1pm…. I brought it home and got it installed on the Tripod….
Then there was some fiddling around with the MFJ Antenna analyzer and then it was time to start playing…
I had it hooked up to my Xiegu X5105 and operated from the dining room table and as you can see the antenna was placed on my deck. The location was decided by the lenght of coax I could find on short notice and the radials were decided by the available amount of white wire that I knew where to find quickly.
With careful adjustment I was able to tune the antenna but it was easier just to find the close enough spot on the bands I wanted to operate on and then just use the built in auto tuner on the 5105. The finals survived and I was hearing plenty…. Unfortunately not many were hearing me…. The problem was solved by adding a 45 foot lenght of wire to my radial pattern and then the signal reports pleased me…
Jumping back to radials the page of words for the antenna suggest that in effect you use a single counterpoise that’s a 1/4 wave lenght for each band you operate on…. I now have counterpoises for 20/40/80m and if I was able clip them together the 160m coil could be used as well…
In the short time today that I could spare for the antenna I managed to make a QRP to QRP contact with Bill VE3FI on 40m. Bill was camping at the Rideau River Provincial Park in Kemptville Ontario. My second 40m contact was with Barry VE3ISX in Hamilton Ontario. Barry was the Net Control Station for the Trans Provincial Net and was able to pull out my QRP SSB signals through his noise level.
So today it worked… and I am pleased…
Over the next few days I will re work the radials and actually set up in a Park and see what I can scare up… (Weather and Band conditions depending)
But remember this “Toy Box” is one of 3 antennas I will be using during portable ops. Its not the best one but it sure is the easiest to set up
I originally going to make the title “Upgrades to the Portable Station” the realized that the title could be up for debate….
So to bring you up to speed…. My portable station consists of:
XIEGU X5105 QRP Transmitter
Antenna #1 is a homebrewed 10-40m EFHW Wire Antenna with 49:1 unun
Antenna #2 is a SOTABeams Bandspringer Wire antenna (20-40-60-80m using built in tuner in the XIEGU)
Both these antennas need cooperating trees or another support device. I do have a 33 foot MFJ Telescopic pole to help support if the trees are not an asset
Realizing that there might be a (good ) chance that on an outing the trees might not be in the right places and the pole could draw unwanted attention to my Portable Operation I purchased the following gear today…
COMET HFJ-350M TOY BOX, 1.8-50 MHZ PORTABLE TELESCOPING ANTENNA
This antenna along with a 13 Dollar Camera Tripod from Princess Auto will complete the backup antenna system.
These and a few other reviews from Amateurs who know what they are talking about helped me make my choice. There were some negative reviews but mostly from newer hams who have not quite figured it out yet…
Now this antenna is not designed or intended to be my primary HF antenna… Its in the backpack because it might be the only antenna that can be used in a certain situation.
Babysitting my “Grandkits” (Sassy and Mouse )when my daughter goes away in mid January comes to mind.
I can put the Toybox/Tripod on her balcony in the evenings and make a few contacts. Her apartment is not high enough to lower the EFHW off her balcony so….
There will be more on this (much more) once it arrives and I get to play with my new Toy (Box). It was shipped today with Canada Post Expedited Parcel service and I hope to see it in the next couple of days…