Month: November 2017

Monthly QRP Outing

Monthly QRP Outing

Every month the Lake Wales Amateur Radio Club has their QRP outing. It is normally at Crystal Lake Park in Lake Wales. This month was no exception. It was a really good turnout as well. 10 of my fellow hams showed up and we had 6 radios set up.

One of the goals of the monthly outing is to test new set ups you may have and this month I had one. I bought a SpiderBeam 12m (40′) push up pole. I’ve had an end fed half wave antenna for quite some time now but have not been able to use it since at the State Parks and other places I go you are not allowed to use the trees for supports. This gave me the opportunity to test my new set up.

My drive on mount consists of a 3 foot 2×12 with a floor flange and 1″ pipe, 3 feet long. I used hose clamps to mount the SpiderBeam to the pole and a bent piece of stiff wire to hold the antenna end. Instead of driving on the board I put it under a picnic table, pushed up the pole, and it worked great! I made 15 CW contacts, most of them DX on 15 meters. Since the CQ WW contest was going on, that helped quite a bit.

I can use this set-up at the State Parks and not worry about having to tie the antenna to anything. Also, if I have continued success I may sell my Buddipole system since I won’t be using it anymore. I prefer the EFHW antenna and it performs much better. I do not need a tuner on 10/20/40 meters and the KX3’s internal tuner matched the wire on 15 and 30 meters. Best part, I didn’t have to drop and raise the antenna to make band adjustments!

AE4RM Station during 2017 CQ WW

Also, since it was CQ WW weekend, I set a goal of 100 contacts. I’m not a big contester and I only operate an hour of so at a time so 100 contacts on a weekend is a lot for me. Especially since I am operating on the KX3 (I did go up to 10 watts). I also used a new logging program, Skookum Logger. It is for the Mac and worked great. It may not have all the bells and whistles of N1MM+ but I would say it is very comparable to N3FJP’s logging program. I’m still learning it but it has a lot of great features and interfaced with the KX3 and my WinKeyer with no issues at all.

Overall, it was a good ham radio weekend.

Hillsborough River State Park – Take 2

Hillsborough River State Park – Take 2

I went camping again at Hillsborough River State Park. I am really enjoying the combination of ham radio and camping.  This time, I was able to relax more and take in the sites of the park. I walked one of the trails that went by some rapids and then over a boardwalk. It was very nice. Sam enjoyed it too!

The River

 

12m SpiderBeam Mast

I was able to test out my new SpiderBeam 12m pole too. This is the first time I was able to use my End Fed Half Wave (EFHW) dipole since you are not allowed to tie anything to trees at the State Parks. IT did great. SWR of 1.2 or less across 40m and 20m and it had a SWR of 4:1 on 30m, well within the tunable range of the KX3. I made 17 contacts on 20m and 10 contacts on 40m bringing my park contact total to 40… I need 44 to make it count for WWFF so I’ll have to go back one more time.

I was planning on activating 2 other parks as part of this trip but I caught my daughters cold and cut the trip short. With the threat of rain, I didn’t want to chance getting sicker.

I go again in a few weeks, this time to Alafia River State Park. Should be a cool adventure. I hope to hit Manatee River State Park as well as part of that activation.

Thanks to all chasers who contacted me.

Also, since it is Thanksgiving, I thought I would share my favorite Thanksgiving video clip…

73 and 44

Happy Thanksgiving,

Roger

Camping and Ham Radio

Camping and Ham Radio

I’ve decided to start camping again. I had everything I needed except the tent so I got one. This is a great way to get out in nature AND enjoy ham radio. The Florida State Parks that are campsites are all one the WWFF – Parks on the Air (POTA) list. My goal is to camp at all the ones in Florida over the next 2 years. I have 4 or 5 within an hour of me so I should have a good start.

I’ve already camped at Hillsborough River State Park and going back again next week. I had a good time and when I went a few weeks ago it was kinda my trial run – just to make sure I had everything I needed and Sam, my German Shepherd, liked camping as well (she did as long as we went on a walk every few hours).

POTA has an award for activating parks from 00:00 – 08:00 GMT. By camping at these sites, I should be able to earn the award. Also, I can chose a campsite close to other parks and activate multiple parks in a few days and instead of staying at an expensive hotel, I just pitch the tent!

My time at Hillsborough River State Park was great, I even had a visitor, a deer, show up at my site! I made the required amount of contacts, took notes of what I needed for a multi night stay, and called it a success!

I’ll be going next week for a few nights and hope to activate 3 or 4 parks. It looks like the weather will be great.

I plan on starting to update the blog more often again. Life kinda got in the way since Irma. BTW, no damage here from the storm except for some branches down (no made into firewood for camping).

I hope to see you on the air!

73,
Roger