/MM QRP on Hermit Lake
Hanz and I went canoeing on Hermit Lake this morning. We made a QSO with NC while /mm and then we stopped on an island and made a few more… it was all makeshift because I forgot a tuner!
It was 85 degrees on Hermit Lake… hot and humid, but with a nice breeze. We set out about 10:30 with an FT-817, a bit of wire and hopes for a great adventure. That’s when things started going wrong…
As I began to raise the 14 foot fiberglass pole, I broke off the tip and had to rethink my strategy for attaching a wire. I knotted the wire around the tip and pretended everything was fine. I reached for the tuner, only to discover I had left it behind in a last minute gear switch. I thought the adventure was over… but recovered quickly. Oh well… who needs a tuner? We’ll just find the band with the lowest SWR and hope for the best.
After putting up the antenna, I stuffed the wire into the center conductor of the SO239 on the back of the rig. I didn’t even use a counterpoise. I turned the rig on 17 meters and there was K2J, the 13 Colonies Special Event Station from North Carolina, calling CQ with an S9 signal. I called him signing /MM. He came right back to me. Hanz and I grinned from ear to ear. I told the operator I was on a lake in New Hampshire and thanks for the contact! Then I realized I had forgotten to switch on the external battery. I was running with 2 1/2 watts on the internal AAs with no tuner. And all that with a few feet of wire wrapped around a 14 foot pole lashed to the canoe with rubber bands… and no counterpoise. To make things worse, the bands were clearly very poor. Geepers!
We floated around for a while but there wasn’t a lot of activity. At one point we heard KG4TO in Guantanamo Bay. He heard us and tried coming back to the /MM, but he couldn’t quite get our call. We headed for an island to get
out of the wind a bit.
Once there, we decided to land and set up a dipole cut to frequency. We grabbed the gear, and headed up a short but steep hill. At the top was a clearing with some tall trees. We heaved a wire over a branch and pulled up 33 feet of wire and laid a counterpoise over the tops of some bushes, and listened around. 20 meters sounded like the best bet. We had to shorten the wires a bit to lower the SWR, but quickly made contact with Paul, KW7D in NM. Paul gave me a 579 and we were thrilled. Hanz took the key.
Hanz worked K2G, the 13 Colonies station in Georgia. Tim gave us a 599. We figured we’d beaten the odds of an outing with no tuner and called it quits.
Good evening Jim, seems we both had an outing today. Seems we both had very hot and humid weather. I too have had stuff happen and had to think hard to come up with a cure for things. Great that you were able to get to the island and setup for more contacts. Jim I have done the same in the past with portable op’s. I am so excited about getting out that once there I find out that all is not with me that should be!! Great work on the contact with no tuner.