A new arrival for the mobile

Even though the HF bands would have to improve about 99% to be considered bad…  I had a chance to pick up (locally) some gear that I had been looking at on line and at a cheaper price (as it was used) so for me it was a win-win situation.

Here is the most important part of my new mobile antenna:

Its a Wolf River Silver Bullet Mini.  Its a 10-40m coil that works quite nicely with a standard 102 inch stainless steel whip.  For way more info please visit the Wolf River Website and check out all their info.

Basically you slide the collar up and down the coil for maximum noise for the frequency you wish to operate on and (in my case) hit the auto tune button on the FT 450 and we will be good to go.  If you are a purist then slightly adjust the collar after that for the lowest SWR.  I have heard lots of good things from people who have used this line of equipment and if I get 1/2 the results of what I have heard then I will be a very happy person.  The timeline is to get the 10-40m version mounted on my pickup along with the FT450 installed and then try things out.  If it performs as I have heard it should I will buy the Silver Bullet 1000 (10-80) and keep the mini as a backup.

I really just want multi band coverage (and really don’t want to be swapping out hamsticks)  when travelling around the Country when Liz tells me its time to replace the trailer we recently sold.  I figure on 40m and 80m will be the two money bands but if we make the anticipated trip out to VE7Land then suddenly 15 and 20 become a lot more important.

I got all the pieces (mount, coil, whip and coax) now all I got to do is put them all together on the truck and then install the radio.

I’m looking foreward to the challenge.

73bob

 

 

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

 

 

 

Putting the pieces together for a HF Morning

With all the C4FM (Wires X, VHF and UHF) stuff I have been doing recently I realized that I needed head out to a park and stretch out some wire and play radio.  I had taken my HF gear down at home as I was getting tired of everyone telling me I should put up a better antenna and me telling them that the only way my antenna could improve was if the tree the wire was hiding in would grow.

Although I have been saying for years I would rather be on the air with a bad antenna than not being on the air…..

I just got tired of telling everyone (not to get stuffed) and decided the tree might grow faster if the weight of the wire was not holding it down….

So this morning I took my FT 450…..

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and my SGC 237 auto tuner….

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along with 2 100 foot rolls of the finest (cheapest) Princess Auto wire….

and my Trailer Hitch Mast mount and 3 of my fiberglass military surplus 4 foot long sections of mast….

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I headed over to Lake Ontario Park to see what a 100w radio with one of the best tuners in the world and surplus masting and lots of wire would accomplish…

For the purpose of this test…..  I used 3 of my masting sections… 1 on the hitch, 1 to hold the SGC and 1 in the middle… So the center of my antenna was approx 14 feet above ground taking the height of the hitch into consideration

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You can see the white breadboard holding the SGC and the breadboard is clamped onto  the top of the surplus masting…

I used the SGC as the center point in my (sort of) dipole antenna with 100 feet of wire running North West and the other 100 feet of wire running South East and the ends were suspended at approx 10 feet above the ground using the existing trees in the park.

I WAS powering my radio gear using a 450 watt inverter in my truck which was powering my 25 amp power supply to breathe life into the FT450 and Tuner.

“WAS” being the best description as shortly after tuning up the radio and making a checkin with Paul VA3PC in North Bay (on the North Bay Net 3.768) my noise level suddenly jumped and then the inverter stopped working.  It did not let any magic smoke out but after I reset it and tried again I could not get rid of the new high noise level…

I then quickly found the spare parts to by pass the inverter and power supply and connect everything directly to the battery in my truck.  Problem solved and the noise dropped down to a very pleasing low of S1 to S3.   Now to some of you out in the country that might seem loud but to a city boy who thinks that anything below a S7 is low….  Today was just fantastic….

At 10am I switched over to the Ottawa Valley Mobile Radio Clubs weekly 80m Net on 3.760 and suprised most of the participants by having a signal that everyone could hear.  Equally I was extremely pleased with being able to hear everyone out there.  Its amazing what one can do when the noise floor is low…

At the end of the net I spun the dial a bit and although I did not try and make any contacts the antenna system (wire and the SGC 237) was easily able to load up on 10m to 160m with a 2:1 swr on 160 which was brought down to 1:1 using the internal tuner on the 450.  That was the only band that the tuner has a slight problem with and compared to other instllations a 2:1 match is not that bad when operating portable…

In additon to HF operation I could also easily change over to VHF/UHF operations by putting my Discone antenna at the top of the mast if I was in need of reaching a repeater not easily accessable while camping or on a Public Service event

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And I could go up much higher as I do have a total of 11 sections of masting for a total height of 44 feet…

However the HF side of things is what is really interesting me right now so I do have enough wire to try several other setups.  A delta loop comes to mind along with an inverted L antenna.  Although I’m not sure how long the weather will allow me access to the best portable operating areas close to Kingston but what ever I can learn this fall will really improve my enjoyment of the hobby in the spring….

A bit of an update with the VA3QV Node here in Kingston.  I still have some issues with the internet.  If (when) my home internet hiccups while the node software is trying to access the server it just causes a crash and nothing happens till I do a reset.  However when the internet is stable the node is working fine all is good.

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Liz and I are still planning the season ending trip with the camper and it will (has to) happen as at the end of the trip we have to drain the tanks and winterize before the camper goes into storage for the winter.

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Thats all for now…  Thanks for visiting

73bob

Some upcoming #RV and #Hamradio Stuff

The first official trip of the New VA3QV Mobile along with the trailer is due to happen the weekend after Labour Day.

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I will be leaving Kingston on Friday late afternoon/early evening  and heading out to the Western outskirts of Ottawa to spend the night before I arrive on Saturday morning at the Ottawa Amateur Radio Club Hamfest in Carp Ontario.  Saturday afternoon will be spent having lunch with some friends in Ottawa and will most likely spending a night or two at a Walmart before heading back to Kingston on Sunday afternoon or Monday Morning depending on how I feel.

The above pics were taken at Chillycon a few years ago….  A restfull weekend of QRP Radio… Camping…. BBQs and lying about all the great contacts we made….  The small Class C Motorhome was the first VA3QV/m and that was actually its first trip…

Later in the week I will be again leaving town with the trailer in tow and spending Thursday night at the Kemptville Walmart before arriving at Rideau River Provincal Park on Friday Morning to partake in two of the three days of the Amateur Radio Event sponsored by the Ottawa Valley QRP Society that we call Chillycon.  I have to be back in Kingston on Sunday by noon so not sure if I am going to head out real early on Sunday morning or late Saturday night.

There will be more on both events in a future blog post….

After that its time to work on whatever issues I had on the first two trip because Liz and I will be heading out  early in October for a couple of weeks (destination not finalized yet… )  before we winterize the trailer and then hand the keys over to Erika.  We are giving her the trailer and we will be pickup up a new(er) slightly larger (24-28 footer) in the spring.

This is all part of the retirement master plan but remember plans were made to be changed… And Liz has been known to change my mind in the past….

Erika is planning to renovate the interior and camp with it next year….  Only problem is that her Sonic is a little small for the trailer but she does not like driving the Silverado so,,,,,Lets see how this turns out…

Thats about all for now….  more later next week ….  mostly about the trip from Kingston to Carp and how much I sold and how much I bought at the hamfest

Till then “Safe Travels” and ….

73bob

First Tow with the new(er) Truck

This morning I headed over to the storage yard and hooked up to the trailer just to test out the Silverado….

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It was a local tour as if anything was going to fail I wanted it to be closer to home to cut the towing costs if anything went south….

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I toured around Kingston for a while and parked ( took up a few spots) at the local Timmies and had coffee with VE3FI Bill and then headed over to my local Walmart and took a couple of pictures just to prove I actually went somewhere….

Anyway long story short….  We need to do a bit of work on the Trailer Brakes but other than that all is fantastic….

First trip with the trailer is to the OARC Carp Hamfest on the 7th of September and aftetr that I have 2 days to make it home to Kingston before I am scheduled to work next so Gawd knows where I will end up….

I have some goodies to sell at the hamfest (Buddistick antenna, Winkeyer USB,  Yeasu MD 100 desk mic) and lots of COAX and other such stuff….

Also plan to be heading home with an good HF(40m and 80m) mobile antenna system which will work easily while travelling along with a new FTM 100DR C4FM rig for the Silverado….

Hope to see you there

73bob

2nd Road trip with the new truck

I was planning to take the train to Ottawa for my Doctors appointment (Thurs Aug 22nd) but that was before I bought the new(er) truck….

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So at 6am I headed out and fueled up and headed east on the 401

The route took me east bound to the 416 and then northbound on the 416 exiting at North Gower and then heading east on county road 6 (skirting the southern end of Ottawa) to the village of Metcalfe then heading North into Ottawa

Ham Radio Note:  There was not that much activity on some of the repeaters along the 401 that I am guessing that it was due to the early start time of my trip.  However I was able to access the Linked VE3ORF Digital (C4FM)Network through their Prescott Ontario 2m repeater when close to Prescott and then held the repeater as I went North on the 416.  Close to Kemptville Ontario I switched over to VE3ORF (Kemptville )(uhf) and continued on with my conversation with the group untill Ottawa South when I switched over to the VE3ORF (Ottawa UHF) repeater and continued again with the morning drive in chatter.

For more info on their repeater system go to :

http://www.ve3orf.com

I made it to my Doctors office at 830 am

After the appointment and then taking care of some business …

Unfortunately due to the last minute timing of this trip I was not able to visit all who should of been visited.  Medical, business and family had priority this time but next time the trailer will be following the truck and I’ll have some time to socialize…

Ham Radio note:  While travelling west across Ottawa I did make a C4FM Wires X contact on the 146.805 repeater VE3DRE  I worked a couple of VE1 Stations as the repeater was connected to the CQ Canada Room on the Wires Network

I then grabbed lunch and headed east to Embrun Ontario to have a visit with my oldest daughter.  We don’t see each other as we would like and as an added bonus my youngest grand daughter was there and I got to catch up with her as well.

After a few hour break for supper and chats it was time to head back home to Kingston and so I headed out via the back roads as I headed south west to hopefully find the 401 wb at the Morrisburg Ontario exit.

Ham Radio Note:  leaving Embrun I was able to work the OVMRC Repeater VE3TWO (fm) on 147.300 and join in their weekly net.  The repeater has great coverage and I was able to copy from Embrun to just south of Winchester

I found it and then headed back home to Kingston.  At the end of the long day (16 hours) I had travelled just over 500 kms across various road styles.  The truck behaved itself and there were no issues.  If I did the math correctly I am getting 8.5 litres per 100km for my fuel economy.  The old Dodge used 11 litres per 100 km so that in itself is a savings.  I know that that will change once I start pulling the trailer but I am still pleased….

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Next time we meet there should be a posting about how good (or bad) the truck is as it leads the trailer around Eastern Ontario….

for now….

Safe Travels and to my hams followers….

73bob