QRP… A reminder

Yesterday (December 27 2022) on a HF Net I heard an operator stating that he was operating QRP when he checked in with the NCS (and no it was not me)

The NCS asked what power level he was using and he proudly replied “10w”. The NCS commented that he thought QRP was 5W and a short gruff debate followed with the NCS saying it was not worth arguing over and he then continued the net.

You might remember that I covered this before in a blog post:

https://wordpress.com/post/va3qv.wordpress.com/23157

and I don’t believe things have changed since then.

If you feel like it check my previous post (above) and draw your own conclusions

Happy New Year to all

73bob

Disclaimer:

Over the years I have owned 3 QRP Rigs

FT817 (5w) Flex 1500 (5w) and XEIGU X5105 (5w)

The day after

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….

More News

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

73bob

Another addition to the Station

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

SKU9093949
Package (L x W x H)22.3 x 9.3 x 9.3 in.
Weight10.7 lbs
Item NameHeavy 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

73bob

Second impressions

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.

73bob

Goodbye Twitter and other stuff

If you took a look on my QRZ page over the weekend you would of seen this in your face…

If you follow me on Twitter you might of noticed my last tweet.  Before you ask…  I’m fine and the family is fine….  I’m just getting tired of the amount of crap from all sources that do not relate to ham radio.  You all have the right to speak your minds on any topic… But recent tweets coming from Canada and the USA about stuff that scares me or just plain sickens me have me figuring that perhaps its time to walk away from the more interactive side of Social Media

I will be suspending my Twitter account and if I don’t reactivate it in 30 days it will be deleted.

I will still blog a bit at  VA3QV.WORDPRESS.COM  and I will stay an active amateur…   I became a ham to talk to people on the radio…  I can do that without social media.  Feel free to email me (its on this page) with happy ham radio style news


That just about covers it…. The radio part of twitter was great but as it seems more and more political, doom and gloom, racist and non radio related tweets were taking over my timeline I just figured it would be better for my sanity if I just cut the whole damn thing out rather than spend a good part of my online time editing, blocking and muting those what I consider to be offensive tweets….

So just like that…. No more Twitter…. The bird is dead (at least to me)

Now back to Radio…. On the weekend I snuck a 6m dipole (horizontal) into the back yard and tried to give out some points on 2m/70cm and 6m SSB to those who take contesting more serious than I do…

Well 100w from my FT991a on 6m along with 50w on 2m into a dipole aprox 10 feet above the ground did not do very well…. I listened between the bands and also tried calling CQ but no luck… Its not my loss as I was wanting to give out contacts to others….

However if I was a new ham wanting to experience their new multimode vhf radio …. I would not of been impressed.

Kingston being in between several VHF hotspots (Ottawa/Montreal/Syracuse NY/Rochester NY) should of been heard and hopefully would of heard my reply…. In previous contests a few years ago I was able make local contacts from Ottawa (my old QTH) into Vermont, Rochester and Syracuse. The rig at the time was a FT 847 using a 6m loop and a 2m loop about 20 feet above ground. Not sure if it was a wrong place/wrong time issue or if the bands were just that bad but I did expect a Groundwave contact at the very least.

POTA on and HAMHARDER….

Over the weekend I did see a K6 station operating /KH6 on Potaspots. He was on 20m and shockingly I could hear him. I fired out my Call after his QRZ and thought I heard VA???? and then everyone on the west coast of the USA and a few more just jammed up everything by just rapid firing their callsign out… It was a real blood in the water moment. I understand excitement but still firing out your callsign 30+ seconds after the QRZ is just stupid…. Sorry guys…. I will admit to understanding my 100w will not break the original calls and I might wait a couple of seconds to sneak my call in after the first wave…. but never 30 seconds after…. I gave up and just spun the dial…

Outside of that I was able to make lots of contacts over the weekend along with a few new parks so my totals for Unique Parks have risen to 1777 as of the date of this post. I feel pretty confident of topping 1800 by the end of September and finishing up 2022 with over 2000 unique parks

It was on July 19th that I passed over the 1500 mark… So I do think that I have a good chance of meeting my goals…

If you have voice privs (Amateur Stations operating in the USA do not have voice privs down on 7.100 lsb) you are more that welcome to drop down and visit me….

I am the Net Control Station for the 11 am-12noon hour on the Trans Provincial Net. That would be 1500-1600 utc.

Thats it for now…. Have fun playing radio

73bob

A busy 10 days

The last 10 days have been busy ones… at least Radio wise

On the radio side of things I have continue to manage to make a few POTA contacts every day and so far I have confirmed QSOs with a POTA park since the beginning of the new year. As of the end of August thats 242 consecutive days. (I gotta get a life). I am aiming for 365 parks in 365 days if the propagation deity allows for it

As of todays date I have confirmed QSOs with 1762 unique parks. I would like to cross the 2000 unique parks level before the end of the year.

On the POTA topic (still) I have a few local locations that now that school is back in are (should be) available for activations. Always fun to operate portable without having a crowded park and at this time of the year should be less pests as well.

Also on the radio side of things I have returned to the Trans Provincial Net as a Net Control Station. The net runs Monday to Friday from 8am eastern to 5pm eastern on 7.100 lsb in the 40m band. My daily shift is the 11am to 12 noon slot. If your regulating authority gives you operating privs at that frequency and mode… please drop in and say hi.

For now thats it

73bob

Will be back on the net after Labour Day

Before the summer started I was one of the Net Control Stations for the Trans Provincial Net. The TPN operates on 7.100 lsb (its a Canadian Band Plan thing) Monday to Friday from 8am eastern to 5pm eastern. However between the poor band conditions at the time along with family stuff happening during the summer I decided to take the summer off.

Now that the Summer is almost over and things are returning to normal (whats normal???) I have asked Barry VE3ISX (net manager) if I could have my old job back…. He said “yes” so starting on Tuesday September 6th I will be returning to my 11 am to 12 noon spot on the net Monday to Friday.

If you have voice privs that low on 40m please feel free to check in with me and chat….

73bob

Finally… Getting to operate #POTA portable! #hamradio

Well its about time…. Its taken me way too long but…

This Saturday (August 27th) plans have been made for a couple of Parks on the Air Activations…

Thanks to Elections Canada for the above Graphic

George VE3SIQ and myself VA3QV will be (plan to/should be) activating POTA VE0023 and POTA VE4882 along with Canadian Island ON 294 (Upper Brewers Mills Island).

We will be be participating in the W/VE Island QSO Party and as that Island ON 294 is in the Rideau Canal (POTA VE4882) and the island is also part of the Frontenac Biosphere (POTA VE0023) it gives us a chance for a POTA 2fer as well.

I will be operating QRP SSB With my Xiegu X5105 and will have antennas set up for 6 to 40m (6-60m for POTA and/or 6-40 for Island work) depending on the conditions of the day at the time

George (Ve3SIQ) will be operating with a Yaesu FT450 from the same island and his station will have antennas set up for 10 to 40m once again depending on the conditions of the day

IF YOU HAPPEN TO HEAR US PLEASE RE SPOT US ON POTA SPOTS

If things go according to plans we should have both stations on the air by approx 1500 UTC (11am EDST) and as well will be operating until the batteries die or the weather turns bad or the bugs come out and lastly if the bands die out…

QSL info

My logs will be uploaded to POTA and the W/VE Island QSO party as soon as possible after the activations…

In addition I will be uploading to EQSL, Logbook of The World and QRZ.com. Sorry folks but no Direct or Buro QSL’s

Hope to see you on the air and in my log

73bob

Testing the homebrewed #hamradio antenna

If you remember from my last post that I had constructed an antenna to work on the 60 meter (5mhz) band. It consisted of a single 43 foot driven element and a single 43 foot counterpoise/radial fed my a 1:1 balun.

It looks a lot like this

As mentioned before the above graphic is for my SotaBeams Bandspringer Antenna but my homebrewed 60m antenna (in the configuration I use) looks alot like the above.

In reality its a 60m dipole but in reality as I don’t have enough real estate to stretch out almost 90 feet of wire I use it as an End Fed inverted VEE with an elevated 43 foot counterpoise attached to my fence at about 3 feet above the ground. The SWR is good to where I don’t even need the built in tuner on my Yaesu FTR991a and so far the signal reports are fairly strong considering the very poor band conditions (darn solar storms) that we are going though right now. With the help of the built in tuner I can get it to load up on some of the higher bands but I like the long wire better….

So with the addition of the new antenna I can now operate on:

2m, 6m, 10m, 12m, 15m, 17m, 20m, 30m, 40m, 60m, 80m and 160m

Some bands are not as strong as others but I am on the air, doing the best I can from within an antenna restricted environment.

There is talk of getting a group out for some QRP activities so perhaps my Xiegu X5105 might finally get some time outside to play. More on that later this coming week

73bob

Temps rising and so are the #hamradio Log Totals

Its getting hot…. Temps (counting the humidex) are getting close to tilt… Liz was saying that according to the local TV station were were over 100 deg F yesterday and its not looking much better for today

Its hot!!!!

And just as I’m finishing this post I get this notification:

————————————————–

1:14 PM EDT Friday 05 August 2022
Heat Warning in effect for:

  • Kingston – Odessa – Frontenac Islands
  • Napanee – Consecon
  • Picton – Sandbanks Park

A two day heat event is expected Saturday and Sunday.

Maximum temperatures are expected to be in the high twenties or low thirties with minimum temperatures in the low twenties, bringing little relief from the heat.

Humidex values are expected to reach the high thirties to low forties.

Cooler temperatures are expected on Monday.

Hot and humid air can also bring deteriorating air quality and can result in the Air Quality Health Index approaching the high risk category.

The risks are greater for young children, pregnant women, older adults, people with chronic illnesses and people working or exercising outdoors.

Drink plenty of water even before you feel thirsty and stay in a cool place.

Check on older family, friends and neighbours. Make sure they are cool and drinking water

Never leave people or pets inside a parked vehicle.

Outdoor workers should take regularly scheduled breaks in a cool place.

Heat warnings are issued when very high temperature or humidity conditions are expected to pose an elevated risk of heat illnesses, such as heat stroke or heat exhaustion.

Please continue to monitor alerts and forecasts issued by Environment Canada. To report severe weather, send an email to ONstorm@ec.gc.ca or tweet reports
using #ONStorm.

————————————————

I’m on blood thinners and I hate the cold but I’m finding the current heat wave “quite unpleasant” and that description is about the only way I describe it and keep my blog suitable for all audiences.

If there was a good side to this its that its still cooler (almost comfortable) in the shack (basement of our home) and so… Its too darn hot to do much else than sit in the shack and use the FT991a and make lots of contacts.

Well so far since I got the new rig back on July 19th I have logged 340 contacts resulting in 110 new unique parks in 3 dxcc entities.

Nothing “new” in my DXCC list but I did manage a couple of new states in CW working towards my ARRL Triple Play award from Kingston. I had previously completed my “Triple Play -Worked all states in SSB/CW/Digital ” from Ottawa and so far I am at 50 states in SSB, 46 states in Digital and 26 states in CW.

Need: Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada and Wyoming in Digital. As I no longer operate FT8 I am hoping to fill in the missing digital states using PSK31 or RTTY . I have a PSK/RTTY interface which worked quite well with my earlier Yaesu Radios and I just want to confirm that it will work with my 991a before I plug it in and start.

Need mostly the central states and the western states along with Hawaii. I have not confirmed Alaska yet but I did contact the K7K DXPedition on 17m cw so that should be confirmed soon.

Not sure if I can do it or not but I would like to complete Triple Play from here (Kingston) before we move at the end of May 2023. Time will tell…

So in the meantime as the basement is cooler the “Shack Cat Trio of Mouse, Sassy and Willow” and myself are staying as cool as we can in a non AC house… and I continue to spin the dial and make contacts.

73bob