Its smaller than I thought

A few post ago I mentioned that we (local Fusion group) had ordered some Hotspots from a dealer outside of Toronto and we were awaiting Canada Post to deliver them. Well they showed up on Friday and were distributed to us on Sunday Morning.

So far no issues…. They were shipped tested but we did have to reconfig and update software to get things working as they should. In my case it took the computer skills of my daughter to get it set up and running but now its working fine. A few of the others had similar problems but using a few UTube videos and the knowledge of one of the group who had done this before we are now on the air…

In my case it will be installed in VA3QV/m and tethered to my iPhone for the internet source and mostly used to connect to the Kingston System Fusion Repeater when I am not in RF Range but do have cellular service.

When I am in Kingston I use my home PDN to connect to the VE3ORF Repeater System in Ottawa

This summer if we are allowed to travel and we decide to get the new trailer then we could use it to connect to any location we deemed necessary as long as it was on the Fusion network.

It does have the capability to cross mode connect , Fusion<>DMR as an example but at this time I have it locked down in the Fusion Mode only

As you can see from the pic below its is a tiny thing compared to my microphone for my FT7250DR

There will be more in-depth review once I get the bells and whistles figured out

73bob

Coming soon

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

73bob

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

 

40m VA3QV/m contacts

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…..

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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.

More later

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 new addition to the shack

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:

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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

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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….

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

 

COVID 19 restrictions

From this mornings Ottawa Sun we have some more needed restrictions that impact both of my hobbies:

The province has also introduced new measures to address surge capacity in hard-hit retirement and long-term care homes, restrict recreational camping on Crown land, and allow the repurposing of existing buildings and temporary structures.

The Crown Land part affects me as a RV’er as well as a Amateur Radio Operator.  

First of all for my non Canadian readers….  Crown Land is land that is owned by the Goverment and therefore owned by the Queen/King at the time and so named Crown Land.  This would be the same idea of BLM land in the USA and can be designated for various recreation and conservation uses.  A Boondockers paradise…..

Restricting camping is a no brainer as when one person set up camp in an isolated area it seems that another camper has to set up close to that site no matter how much area is available.

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I’m guessing that the Provincial Enforcement Officer (Police or Conservation Officer) will not know the difference between Bob the Camper and Bob the Radio Operator.  

I’m not happy but I understand its really necessary as the only way to beat this damn bug is to isolate and (so far) the minor inconviences that are being imposed on us are worth it.

Just really glad that I’m not making monthly payments on a Rig I can’t use or making storage payments on a Rig that I can’t use

Stay Safe our there

73bob (safe travels)

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