Best contact for VA3QV/m so far

A few days ago I found myself listening and checking into the CAN-AM Net which is on 7.153 lsb.  Some of you old Pharts (like myself) might remember it as the Communications Ontario (COMSONT for short) Net

As the needs of the Ontario Goverment changed as far as Amateur Radio went the net carried on and thats how my Wolf River Coil ended up on 40m….  I checked in to talk to a few old friends and actually never bothered changed frequencies  after

So lets fast forward to today and I decide to try and check into the Trans Provincial Net on 7.100 LSB ( and before the flames start lets remember that the Canadian Bandplan allows voice there…..

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VE2OL Ray from SAINT-BRUNO-DE-GUIGUES, QC (about 425 kms North North West of Kingston) was the NCS and gave me a really nice 5/9 report from my mobile.  I gave he a 5/9 +10 back and we had a great QSO without any QSB.  It was armchair copy….

When we cleared I noticed that Woody VE3JJA from North Western Ontario checked in and I could actually hear him.

I broke back into the net and asked Ray if I could give Woody a call and as it turned out we could hear each other just fine….  This was a 1500 kms QSO from Sioux Narrows Ontario to my mobile in Kingston….

I was more than pleased…..

Hopefully this is a sign of things to come with the propagation Deity smiling down on us which will allow more great contacts…..

On to other topics for a few seconds….  We will be taking possession of our new trailer at the end of the month and will be spending a few weeks there getting things set up as we would like them….  However we have no WIFI there and my internet will be limited to cellular 4G connects till I run out of bandwidth.  Our provider assures us our plan is actually unlimited and I guess this is where we find out what their defination of unlimited is….

However if you are looking for me…..  try the following

Daytime – 3.755 Which is the Ontars Net between 7 am and noon

Daytime 7.153 Which is the Can-AM Net between 930 am and 11 am

Evenings- 3.733 Which is the Sandbox Net between 630 pm and 730

Evenings- 3.730 Which is the 3730 net which starts at 730pm

In addition I will be listening on the C4FM Repeater VE3FRG 146.805 also connected to the System Fusion Network (look up VE3UCC)

Not sure how radio active I will be as Liz and I have lots to do getting our trailer to resemble how we want it to be

Hope to hear you on the air during that time

73bob

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

 

 

 

 

Pleased with the new purchase

Well after the help of a few local (Kingston) hams and the computer skills of my daughter Erika its working fineimg_0725

The hotspot has found a place in VA3QV/m and I have it set up in such a way that I do not need a computer to control it ….  However I am also not using it to its full potentinal.

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But it is doing exactly what I wanted it to so…. it works for me… And heres how I am using it so far….

I use it to connect to the Canada Wide Room which is part of the VE3ORF/3730 linked Repeater system This lets me keep track with the “home town” when I am not within VHF/UHF RF range although most nites I can contact them on 80m SSB on the 3730 group.

Here in Kingston the local Fusion Group has just (in the process of)set up a hotspot on the the Fusion repeater here in town.  This (once all is finished) will let me call into my new home town when I am on the road.  Once again YES I could do this on HF but its nice to have some communications options.

Now if I was to add a tablet to the system I could use the hotspot to its full potential but for now I don’t want to introduce any more distactions to VA3QV/m and the video display would be doing that.  All I need to do is fill in a few gaps in communications (for now).  I am planning to get a 2nd hotspot to put in the trailer and that will have more computer control but for now its the KISS principal.

I’m still a newby at this but it is a great communications tool

73bob

PS…. as I write this according to the USPS tracking site my 10-80m Wolf River Coil is somewhere between Chicago and Kingston.  It passed through Chicago and so far has not be scanned anywhere since.  I am hoping it makes it to Toronto where it will clear customs and then on to me in Kingston

 

Ordered…. paid for…. and its on the way

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Might not be exactly as shown but my “hotspot” will be here soon.  After some playing and configuration it will be mounted in VA3QV/m to fill in some communications gaps while we are travelling with the trailer (whenever we are allowed to travel again)

More details to follow

73bob

Two antennas in one

Here at home I have some really restrictive Condo rules…..  So far I have managed to keep on the air with various levels of results…  None of them really great but all of them better than not being on the air….

Here is what has given me the best results (so far) but your results and your opinions may vary

In its “Super Stealth” mode I am using an approximate 45 length of 18 ga wire as an end fed (very tight inverted V” folded longwire.  Translated it goes up the tree… over the branch and back down again.

In its “Stealth ” mode I am using the same wire but this time its in an “Inverted L” configuration and the top part runs from the tree branch across my yard to the fence.  Its about 30 feet at the branch and about 10 feet at the fence.  The wire is green which hides it in the pine tree that I use for the support and its in plain sight for about 20 feet or so.

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It goes without saying that the Stealth Inverted L performs much better…

The antenna is fed by my SGC 237 auto antenna tuner and I do have 3 radials of approx 25 to 40 feet each that are mostly going around the inside perimeter of my fence.  IMHO the SGC is a fantastic bit of kit.  Rather pricey, but for me its made the difference between making contacts and not.  Plain and simple…..  My station consists of a Good Transceiver (FT950), a fantastic tuner (SGC237) and a very short wire…

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So far RFI has not been an issue and I have been able to make contacts on all the HF bands between 6m and 160m.  Granted on some bands its not really efficient but I have made contacts using either FT8 or SSB.

The same pine tree that conceals part of my HF antenna also keeps my Arrow Dual Band Ground Plane (VHF/UHF) mostly out of site.  I use this to get the 2 local repeaters and one out of town repeater.  The two local repeaters I can access from the living room using my handheld so if I had to remove antennas I would still be on the air above 30 mhz at least.

Until we change locations I don’t see things improving for HF or VHF/UHF operating.  But I have been promised that the next location (where ever we find ourselves) will be “antenna friendly”

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

 

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

 

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