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….
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
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
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 linking
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.
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….
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….
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
… and it works great
Back on May 8th I posted that I had finally ordered the Wolf River 10-80m mobile coil for VA3QV/m.
Well today it showed up and I am pleased…. very pleased…
Its a little bigger than the 10-40 Wolf River coil that I already was using:
10-40 on the left and 10-80 on the right
With the coil mounted on the rear of the truck, add in the length of the coil and then the 102 inch stainless steel whip we come out to 14 feet 3 inches which is a bit over the Provincial limit of 13 feet 6 inches.
This was expected but I wanted to play with the new toy ASAP so I headed out to Lake Ontario Park in Kingston with everything laying in the box of the truck… I found a shady place to park and then set up the coil for 80m using my MFJ antenna analyzer.
I was able to determine that my SWR was acceptable on 80m between 3.720 and 3.775. Anything over/under that would be easily corrected by the built in auto tuner on the Yaesu FT 450
But the proof is not in what the computer says but more in what the station says when I contact them….
As the sweet spot on 80m was already set I aimed for 3.755 and heard the NCS for the ONTARS Net (Rob VA3WDK south of North Bay Ontario) who heard me and gave me a 5/7 to 5/9 report during our 3-5 minute conversation. That was a distance of approx 180 miles north west of Kingston with daytime conditions on 80m
I am more than pleased with the results so far and over the next few days I will be removing the top 12 inches of the whip which should bring it down to a legal 13 feet 3 inches (total height) and then I will set the sweet spots on the coil for 15m, 20m, 40m, 60m and 80m which are the primary bands I would be using when Liz and I are out (eventually) pulling our new trailer. Not sure when that will happen but when it does…. The truck will be radio active to say the least….
The blog will be updated in the near future once I get the whip trimmed with my final comments on what I consider (at this time) to be a superior product at a great price….
More to follow
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…..
I am still planning to operate Field Day but most likely as a 1A station.
Yaseu FT 450, 43 foot vertical, 25 amp power supply and my Champion 1.5k Gas Generator.
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”
As you know….
VA3QV/m has been using a Wolf River 10-40m HF Coil along with my Yaesu FT 450 and I have been quite pleased with it.
The one important thing missing for me was the 80m band as many of the Nets I would check into while travelling are on 80m….
So this afternoon I emailed Wolf River Coils and ordered their 10-80m version. It will be on its way to Kingston shortly and I hope I will be saying as many nice things about it as I do for the 10-40m version.
More later after it arrives and I get it set up and working as it should
Well its done…. At least as much as I am willing to do for now….
Late this morning I brought the MFJ Antenna Analyzer and the FT450 out to the small un used parking lot and started to adjust the Wolf River Coil.
They claim its a 10-40m coil but …. They were not exactly correct…. which was a good thing for me…
As I was using a 102 inch whip at the end of the coil I was able to get it to load up on 20 meter band, the 40 meter band and …. (wait for it)…. the 60m band. I knew that the coil was not going to do anything on 80m and I did try but other than getting some fresh air…. no real suprises.
On 20m with the collar just about at the top on the coil I had a great SWR between 14.140 (Canadian 20m calling freq) and the top end of the band. Below 14.140 I did need to use the built in autotuner of the FT 450 but how often am I going to be working mobile from that low in the band…
On 40m where I had used it previously the SWR good from just below 7.100 (Trans Provincal Net Frequency) to the top of the band at 7.299. In a couple of spots the tuner might of been needed but for the most part all was good.
Now on 60m. I set the sweet spot at 5.350 and the 5 preset channels in the 450 had no problems and the auto tuner was not needed. I have never operated on 60m so this was uncharted ground and… I heard nothing but…. I am guessing it was just the poor band conditions…. Time will tell on this one…
If you look closely you can see the marks I made with a “Sharpie” to make it easier to find the sweetspots again…
I did not bother trying the WARC Bands (12,17,30) as I am setting up the truck for travelling and not DXing.
Yaesu FTM 7250 DR on the top and Yaesu FT450AT on the bottom….
It did take me a little more time than expected so the re running of the power cord will have to wait for another day but everything else got done and seems to work fine. On 20m SSB I did make a contact with a station in North Texas but the notepad had not made it into the truck yet so…. Thats about as much info as I have on that…80m all is done for now. The truck is ready to go and all we have to do now is be patient and wait for the lockdown to end so we can freely travel somewhere and really give the equipment a proper shakedown cruise.
There is still a part 4 coming….. this is just an update of a couple of 40m contacts made earlier today
Well I still have to neaten up the installation but…..
It seems to working just great….
There are some issues with engine noise/alternator whine on 40 SSB (and most likely all over the place) but the DSP on the Yaesu FT 450 seems to be keeping it under control. Tomorrow the plan would be to take my antenna analyzer outside and set the swr on the coil for 15m, 20m and mark the coil according I don’t see me using much else for frequencies
Today I decided to put the rig back into the truck as I had to head out for a quick shopping trip to finalize the supper menu.
On the way there I managed to get Larry (near Dayton OH) and on the way back I got Rick (Moncton NB) on 40m SSB. I still have to make the installation a lot neater but I have no qualms about the performance. I also have to get some sort of mobile logging system figured out so I can finally give you some Callsigns to go along with the names and locations.
There is a benefit to working after retirement. The ability to jump fast on deals when you hear about them.
Today this rig found its way into my shack:
My new (to me) Yaesu FT 950
I had offered to buy it a month or so ago but the owner had not made up his mind yet so I ended buying the Yaesu FT 450.
The following from my March 14th blog post”
On a positive note Liz and I drove to Oshawa this afternoon where I paid for and picked a used Yaesu FT 450 from Walter VE3FJC. Yes I do have a FT 450 already but this was a great deal and I decided that it would be easier to operate a radio that I already had a good knowledge of rather than have to learn a new radio. The new one will be going in the shack and the previous one will be going into VA3QV/m along with that 102 inch whip and Wolf River Coil I previously purchased. Pics of the install and setup in the truck will be posted here once I get everything working as it should
Yesterday he changed his mind so now I have the 950 and my HF Stations are complete
In the shack is the FT 950, In VA3QV/m will be the FT 450AT and the newer FT 450 will be set up in the new (to us) trailer when the world returns to normal and we replace the one we sold late last fall.
There is a bit of a leaning curve as the 950 has more buttons and features than I ever had before. This time I really need to RTFM to get this radio operating to its full potential but for now lets call it a learning experience.
Its going to be a “Radioactive” summer….
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.
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
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.
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
Its hard to say but there might be a part 3 to this one…..
Early this afternoon I hooked up my 102 inch stainless steel whip to the coil previously mounted on my truck and then brought out the tape measure and my MFJ antenna analizer.
And the reason for the tape measure was to see how high off the ground the mount was …. which enabled me to calculate how tall the top of the whip was….. If you take the height of the end of the coil (from the ground) being 61 inches then add the 103 inch lenght of the whip brings you very close to 13.4 feet which is too close (for my liking) to my maximum height allowance of 13 feet 6 inches here in Ontario.
However according to the MFJ magic box I was able to adjust the coil to get the SWR low on all the bands between 10m and 40m. Setting the centerpoint to 7.150, 14.200 the built in tuner could easily tune things up in most of the 40m and all of the 20m band.
Before you say anything I do realize once the cutter removes 12 inches from the whip I will have to go through all the tuning processes again but the cost of having an over height vehicle far outweighs the time spent to retune.
Although the poor power connection I had (using alligator clips on the battery) I was able to make a local contact with Bill VE3FI which proves everything works. Next time I attach the wires PROPERLY to the battery then should have no problems running the full 100w. Receive wise we heard lots (including ignition noise and alternator whine) so there will be a bit more work to be done.
On the RV side of things I did visit my lending institution this morning in my travels before the antenna work started and they would like a bit more info on the RV before they start the paperwork process. But seeing that I’m not sure what campgrounds will be open this year (that damn coronavid 19) I will hold off on the paperwork for a while. But its good to know they are interested in my business.
Coming in part 3…. ordering the 10-80m wolf river coil, trimming the antenna and making a strong (very strong) 12v power connection for the FT 450