Antennas…. antennas….

TUESDAY ON THE ISLAND…. The adventure continues….

The last few days have been RF less as a camper decided to occupy the little spot of ground where my W3EDP was located.  I did manage a few 2m repeater contacts on the week end when we drove over to Charlottetown and played tourist on Sunday.  I plan to get wire up in a tree later today…



Gotta get back on the air….  

BUT I WILL BE ACTIVE ( 2m/70cm/6m ssb only with dipole antenna) FRON FN86 FOR THE UPCOMING VHF CONTEST ….but…. as it’s 5w with the FT817 you gotta aim the beams at me and listen really good


Maybe some PSK31 as well

————————————————————————–

Staying on the topic of antennas…. it seems that I have a bad chunk of feedline between the crank up tv antenna and where my tv connects to the wall mounted connector….


 Add troubleshooting an antenna to the list of things I should do…. or it might be easier just to redo it completely…. but that will have to wait till we get home…

—————————————————————

Everything else is fantastic…… weather good….. views FANTASTIC….. and the food  just as good


CU later…

Bob

Weather…Camping …and UHF Propagation

Good morning…. it’s day 9 of our holidays  to the Province of Prince Edward Island and so far we are loving it.  The weather was VERY wet while in transit here but once we arrived has been FANTASTIC  (my new catch phrase) for the most part.  


As you can see we have an excellent view of the Gulf of St Lawrence from our campsite.  Normally this view comes with a cooling breeze which keeps the mosquitoes at bay and also makes the temps a bit more bearable…  In my opinion these days are Radio days…


My operating position consists of a scrounged picnic table alongside a fence.  I clip the balun of my W3EDP HF antenna to the fence then it goes to a branch of a pine tree about 20 feet above ground in a shallow sloping configuration east to west.  HOWEVER shade is at a premium and 95% of the mosquitoe population of PEI seem to reside in that grassy field beside my operating position.


With no shade it greatly limits my operating due to the temps and if there is no wind  as well then the skitters remind me to find something else to do….

So far 80m has been my go to band for voice comms.  The maritime amateur radio community has a few good daily nets (some morning and some at night) that I am having no problems to check into with my booming 5w ssb signal.  I did try a few 40m nets but due to poor conditions it was not going to happen with 5w.

I have made a few contacts on 20m PSK31 including one with VA3PCJ  who lives less than 1km from my home in Ottawa.  Over the years we have done several qrp dots activations and just portable operating so it was FANTASTIC to get him in the log


The above pic of VA3PCJ is a couple of years old and was taken at the Mer Bleu Bog in Ottawa South East. KX3 with an Alex Loop antenna.

—————————————————————-

The FM repeaters seem to be well used with a Maritime wide net running Monday to Friday morning on a linked system. There is also some DSTAR here but as I don’t have that mode it’s hard to comment on it.

I never really bothered with UHF PROPAGATION till this camping trip.  As you know this new HD DIGITAL OTA ( Over The Air ) television seems to be UHF.  Here with my old commercial RV TV antenna we can receive 2 of the 3 stations available on the Island ( at times ).  Have not found the CBC station yet… Global New Brunswick comes in from the late morning to late evening and we can get the CTV affiliate in Halifax in the early evening and it fades (pixelates) out before we lose Global.  I am planning to upgrade the antenna once we return from holidays.

We did not go camping to watch TV but it is nice to catch the news and weather just to stay informed…

I have tried listening on 6m and 2m ssb but with no openings …. nothing heard….

Other than that…. all is good and I will continue to play radio when the bugs, weather and family permit….

73bob

Amateur Radio on the Island

It’s been good so far.  The VHF Repeater on 146.850 has found me someone to talk to on various occasions so far.  The have a linked (Maritimes) net between 730 am local to 830 local.  It makes for good listening while having my morning coffee

In the evenings there is the Maritime Net on 3.750 lsb .  It starts at 7pm local and runs till they run out of things to say.

I dis participate in the RAC CANADA DAY contest on July 1st.  Operating QRP with my 817 and a wire antenna I managed contacts in NF PE NS QC ON MB SK BC.  I heard VE8RAC ON 20m ssb….. But along with ALL THE ALBERTA stations I Heard…

They could not hear my booming 5w SSB signal…  My meager score will not set any records but it was fun….   Best I Could do sitting at my picnic table

IMG_0236

PSK 31 later if the bands and the wind cooperate

73bob

Now VA3QV/VY2

It was kind of fitting that when we crossed the bridge into PEI THAT IT WAS RAINING


We have been getting wet… when we fuel…  when we walk across the Walmart lot for groceries and just about with anything we have done over the last couple of days…

However tonight in Summerside it’s a beautiful evening.  Windows open… and in our minds we are really living the dream…


Tomorrow is a walk across the lot for groceries then a short drive from Summerside to Cabot Beach Provincal Park… 


Should be there by noon which will be plenty of time to get everything set up.  Hopefully the trees will cooperate and I will be able to get the W3EDP up working with my FT 817 as I try to give out contacts in the RAC CANADA DAY CONTEST as VA3QV/VY2


After the contest I will be trying some PSK31

Hope to get you in the log

73bob

PEI Adventure Day 1 Update

Liz , my daughter Trisha and yours truly left Ottawa just after 9am on Wednesday.  Our first stop was at the Flying J Truckstop in Lancaster Ontario where we stopped for fuel and snacks.  It goes without saying that EVERY time we stop I do a circle check of the truck and trailer before we head back on the road… 


Above pics taken before we left home and the one below was taken at the Flying J


Our next scheduled stop was in The Levis Quebec area (close to Quebec City). We made it from Lancaster to just outside Montreal where we has 2 very close encounters with 18 wheelers in 15 minutes.  In both cases there were merging into my lane without checking.  No signals …. just moved into my space which I had to vacate quickly…. Even though I was in the right….Big rig trumps little rig….so they missed me….

We continued on our trip and stopped at the Ultramar gas station at the first exit after Levis.  Not a truck stop…. but it seemed like one … When we got there I was the 5th RV in line for fuel…. the Owner had a smile in his face….  No pics for this stop due to rain….   After $73.00 of fuel and $41.00 of cheap Quebec price suds we were back on the road.

We continued east on the Trans Canada and decided to stretch our legs at a highway stop in River de loup….it was raging but we took a walk around anyway…. Then back in the truck and we continued on to Edmunston NB .  This was as far as we got last year after the RV fire cut our holidays short.  


In Edmunston fuel was $63.00 and then we were aiming towards Fredericton NB… Just before Woodstock NB we got “lit up” (pulled over) by a RCMP officer for a routine check.  He was polite , checked my ownership, insurance and drivers licence and sent us on our way…  We decided to call it a night and stop at the Walmart in Woodstock NB for the night.  We joined about 15 other travellers in the lot…. had supper and then got some sleep…


Here is our site taken this am…. it was to dark for a pic when we pulled in….

On the radio side of things…. nothing but dead air on 146.520…. I went from there to scanning repeater s with the same results… learn a few I’d so I  made general calls but no takers… Is 2m Fm a thing of the past??.?

So far just over 850 km (500miles) Driven at a cost of approx $160.00.  It’s The start of another day and tonight we should be in SUMMERSIDE PEI.

See you then

Bob

#RACFD2017 (my)Field Day adventure

Field Day… The last rainy weekend in June… more on that comment later….


Liz and I left Ottawa around 4pm and after a couple of wrong turns ended up at our destination just outside of Kemptville Ontario at the Red Devils AIRSOFT field.  It’s an interesting sport and Most weekends they are open for visitors..Check their Facebook page for more info


We were joining some friends fron the VE3ORF repeater group to operate as part of their Field Day effort.
Friday evening… after we got our rig set up we spent time socializing and having a FANTASTIC deep fried turkey dinner with all the fixings…  


This was a first for Liz and myself… but it won’t be the last…  I can see one of these fryers in our future…


While setting up I had planned to run my 1.5 Kw Champion Generator… That would of been enough power to run all my electronics except the roof mounted AC unit.

However the Ham who had the Trailer across from mine offered me a plug on his 9 Kw Champion so we had the luxury of AC to help Liz and myself when the humidity got a bit much.  It seems that size does matter…

Saturday morning we assembled our stations…  


We ran a 1a station using a Yaesu FTDX 1200 with a triband beam, Armstrong rotator and a 132 foot doublet fed by 450 ohm ladderline.


We used a Yaesu FT 897 on 6m with a 3 element beam…


The GOTA station was a Yaesu FT 840 with a doublet…

I started on the 6m station and spent a few hours looking for an opening with little success. The FTDX 1200 however was racking up the contacts on the HF Bands…

Saturday evening was spent in a social setting with the scheduled radio operators leaving the group setting to operate for their hour long shifts…

Sunday morning I operated on 40m and 80m SSB on the 1200 from 7am to 9am… Although I am  a Yaesu fan… I should of read the manual first… I did manage about 50 contacts and then checked 15m ssb and managed a few more log entries..  After the next operators came on shift I went back to the trailer and made Liz bacon and eggs…  It might be me but I think that food tastes better when cooked outdoors on the Coleman stove…

I went back to the 6m station and found an opening.  The 6m beam was aimed southwest and a fair amount of contacts were in the log.  


Shorty after that the skies opened up…  as you can tell by the pic I took of my neighbors rig…  It was the last rainy weekend in June.. Suddenly it was 2pm and it was over…  The antennas were lowered and the gear packed…  I got stuck trying to get out of the field towing out the trailer from our saturated site…  Good thing there was a 4×4 there with a tow strap…

All in all it was a great time…

We returned home Sunday evening and rushed to get ready for our first big trip…

The adventures continue as we head down to the east coast of Canada later this week…

CU then 

bob

Ps… sorry about the pics but…. it was easier to show you rather than tell you

Defining casual operating

When we are on our first “major” trip with our new (to us) “Truck/Trailer combo” Liz has agreed that there will be “Radio Time” allowed and I have agreed that “Family Time” will not be disrupted by “Radio Time”.

What this means in reality is that as I am an early riser I will be enjoying the sunrise with my first coffee of the day and looking for stations who might be able to hear the 5w of my Yaesu FT 817.  Modes of choice will be SSB and PSK 31 as I will be bringing my NUE PSK modem with me.

nuepskmodem

This handy little device once I attach a keyboard to it allows me to use the popular Amateur Radio Digital mode PSK 31 in a very portable operation.  No computer or monitor needed…  What you see is what you get…


2016QRP1

And here (above) is the complete portable station (not counting antennas)  FT817 with the LDG QRP Auto Tuner.  Battery Pack with the NUE Modem resting on it to get a bit of angle on the screen and the old AT Keyboard that is one of the few that works with out issues on the NUE Modem.


I will be using the callsign VA3QV/vy2.  It is my hope that early mornings I will be able to make both DX Contacts (20m) from the Picnic table at the campsite and also contacts back home to the guys in the Ottawa area on 40m.  In the past I have had no trouble making contacts to the east coast of Canada from Ottawa on those bands at those times… Really hoping that the reverse will prove true with me contacting Ontario and DX Stations from the east coast..  No guarantees with the band conditons being what they are but….  I’m going to try…

The afternoons should be spent playing tourist but after supper I will be out there again trying for VE3 and who ever else can hear me…  I plan to be active on 2m, 6m to 160m although my W3EDP is far from the best on the 160m band  so 2 to 80m would be more realistic.  For 2m and 6m I have a dipole cut for 6m and it really works well on 2m as well.  The thing to remember there is that….  I’ve only have 5w to work with so….  you have to be aimed at me to even have a chance of getting in the log.


 

If we are luck enough to make a contact I will be uploading the logs (after we get back) to LoTW, EQSL and QRZ.com.  Please be patient as I have to figure out how to add the portable designations to my accounts so you get credit for contacting where I was operating from rather than where I live.


Aim your beams towards FN86dn for the best results.  If we are lucky enough to make a contact then also remind me that my grid square at the campground is FN86dn…

Between family commitments…campfires… and band conditions it will be hard to commit to skeds but…. Mornings and evenings would be 20m if band is open along with the Canadian Voice Portions of 40 and 80m.  If the bands are opening up then the Digital Portions of any band open for PSK31.  If you hear me please spot me on the cluster…

Amateur_radio_prefixes_in_Canada

CanadaFlagSunset1During RAC Canada Contest I will be giving out the “PE “multiplier as VA3QV/vy2.  I will be operating QRP SSB on any allowable band for the contest.  

Sorry no CW for this one but my poor CW Skills have deteriorated since I quit operating with the Flex about 6 months ago.

There is also a good chance that towards the end of July we will be moving over to VE1 Land as well as VE9 Land before we head towards VE2 and then home.  If time permits Liz has given me permission to aim the camper North into VE2 and operate for a day in Zone 2 but thats only if everything comes together within our timetable.

img_0118-1

But then again after spending a month with each other in a camper we might just want to get home and find our own space…

Final (before we leave) test for the new setup will be on Field Day Weekend… Hope to hear you then as well.

73bob