Posts Tagged ‘outdoors’
Nice weather and an open schedule allowed for some radio time this weekend. The QRP ARCI Fall QSO Party made some buzz so I loaded up the gear and headed out by the lake. I put up an 88ft doublet in an inverted vee. I shoot a line over a tree limb at about 40ft and use that for the center and have two 17ft Crappie Poles that I use for end supports. That allows me to reorient the antenna to suit the conditions.
One of the things I threw together is a simple mount for the crappie poles. I use a 2ft piece of PVC with a couple bolts inserted at right angles to one another at the base to keep the pole from going all the way through to the ground. The PVC is attached to a 3ft piece of aluminum angle iron that with 3 stainless steel hose clamps.
The poles are pretty limber and take a bit of a bend but do a good job of handling the 24 gauge teflon wire I use. As you can see in the pictures, the mounts do the job and don’t cost as much as commercial counterparts.
So it was a good day and I made a few contacts, enjoyed the outdoors and had a nice picnic lunch with my XYL down by the lake between QSO’s. The bands were pretty decent and I gave points to 20 of the more serious contestants out there.
Kelly K4UPG PB #173
p.s. The Polar Bears will be out and on the air next weekend. Give a listen, hear?
Remember when we used to think computers would save us time?
I spent the last 6 hours running updates, fixing the problems the updates created and figuring out how to install the updates that would not install automagically. Grrrrrrr!
Think I need some time to play radio, but I won’t be taking a SDR radio with me for a bit. Grrrrr…. need to recover from the 26 reboots and all the time wasted surfing and reading the small print.
Good thing there is a QRP ARCI event this weekend and the following weekend is our Polar Bear Moonlight Madness Event. Grrrr! I’m ready for some CW. CU on the bands!
Kelly K4UPG PB #173
On my morning walk yesterday, I had quite a treat. Sure wish I had taken the camera along. On the shore of the flood control pond that flows out into the golf course, were 4 fine Florida water birds. It is not common to see them bunched together like this. A Great Blue Heron, a Little Blue Heron, a Great Egret and a Comorant were lined up in a space of about 8-10 feet. There was a good bit of shoving and jockeying for position and they were working down the bank fishing in the same small spot.
Made me think of the pileups a DX station creates… The comorant had a distinct advantage as the only real swimmer and diver of the bunch. It ranged up and down the bank picking off small fingerlings and bullying the other birds by swimming right up to their skinny legs and surfacing. Reminded me of some of the pileup busters I’ve observed from time to time.
At the same time, the little guy, the Little Blue Heron, and the regal looking, very white and tall Great Heron were left to glean around the edges and pick off the fish that were panic striken and confused by the other birds fishing in the midst. This reminded me of all the contests where I have to dodge the big birds and pick off what I can around the edges.
Funny thing is there are tens of thousands of fish all along the bank, not just where these birds were bunched up. What is it about us that piles us up and forces such fierce competition? Hmmm?
Yep, I am a devoted CPG (Contest Point Giver), who had a nice morning walk and got to see a great outdoors show for free. That is why I love operating QRP portable. Being outside and enjoying the free shows only adds to the enjoyment of the hobby and the friendships made on the air.
Kelly K4UPG PB #173
Wow! Great way to bring together a lot of ham radio ops on a Saturday using all sorts of technology! Way to go! QRPSPOTS.COM is normally used by QRP ops to spot each other when we are out operating portable or to alert others of band openings. It was ALIVE with reports and updates from all over the USA and even a few DX ops adding input too! In addition, several QRP reflectors were buzzing with updates and info. What a great community effort this turned out! Congrats to all and thanks to QRP ARCI for helping get the word out.
But for me, the coolest thing was listening in on the streaming webcast of VE3EN and his wonderful IC-7700. Sure wish I had thought of recording a bit or doing a screenshot to share here. But what a treat to listen in and hear the beacon’s signal right up until touchdown. Thanks Kevin for a fun way to eavesdrop on this event since the lawn mowing crew took over my condo’s yard and didn’t allow me to put an antenna out today. There is a ton of info and creative website construction on Kevin’s website and it is worth spending some time looking at the solar cycle data.
Congrats to the team for a successful event today and for bringing so many hams together for a good learning experience and something out of the ordinary. Well done W0OTM, well done indeed!
Ever see one of those tie bars or pins that say, “IYKDWYBDYKGWYBG” My dad had one back in the days when men wore ties. The thing used to bug me cause he didn’t tell us what it meant right away. We tried guessing for a few days before he got tired of 7 kids all ganging up on him.
It is the famous “If You Keep Doing What You’ve Been Doing, You’ll Keep Getting What You’ve Been Getting!” Not sure who gets the credit for that one, but it sure stuck with me all these years. Of course, I’ve heard my bosses recite it a few times along the way too.
That’s what this series of posts is about. Not repeating mistakes I’ve made. Maybe you can learn from my mistakes and save a bit of time. Or maybe you’ll just get a laugh and some relief from knowing someone else made the same mistake you’ve made. HA!
Well, last night, I did not follow my own advice. I put together a new antenna a few hours before the NAQCC Sprint and set it up. LESSON: As previously mentioned, don’t try to use a brand new antenna in a contest.
Ooops I did it again. Strike TWO! It was a disappointing night and too late to try to get another antenna up before the 2 hour sprint was over. So no contacts for me, I’m still scratching my head. Was it the antenna, me, or the band conditions? BUT… I don’t think I’ll pull that one again. Unless I have a hole in my head…
p.s. Don’t forget to take the poll on my blog for the best ham radio QTH in the USA! It is on the left side column.
Spent my birthday participating (casually) in the Straight Key Century Club Weekend Sprint. My Lake Fredrica neighborhood site was where I set up my shelter and 3 antennas. I had a 40m dipole fed with twinlead up 40 ft and running E-W. An End Fed Halfwave for 20m was nearly vertical suspended by a nearby tree. A twinlead 44 ft doublet on my 20 ft Jackite with the ends at 16 feet was setup running N-S to give me a bit of a mini-smorgasbord of antenna choices. Since it was really sunny, I hooked up my ACME GC100 Solar Charger and VW Solar Panel.
Bands were decent with 40m quiet and some DX coming through early from Eu stations. Nice to hear that again. 20m came alive and was pretty much the go to band for the majority of the day. I did check 15m a couple times but did not hear much and no one replied to my CQ’s.
In the middle of a QSO, my Jackite pole decided to collapse but I was able to finish the QSO with one end of the dipole about 4 feet above the ground. hi hi
The highlight of the day was my last QSO with EA3NO, Lluis in Spain. As the special station for the sprint there was a lot of competition but Lluis hung in there with my weak signal and pulled me out of the crowd after a couple attempts. THANK YOU FOR THE BIRTHDAY PRESENT Lluis!
Still wondering what a CPG is? Contest Point Giver! I am a really casual contester. Really the only reason I participate is that contests offer a fairly good opportunity to make some QSO’s. When you are QRP you have to do a lot of listening, plus pounce and search, but serious contesters will dig out weak signals to make the QSO’s so it is fun. I enjoy giving out points and reading the mail on ops that are faster than my cw comfort zone. Good practice, eh?
Here’s some photos from the day. Enjoy!
Kelly K4UPG PB #173 SKCC #5415
Had a great time setting up the C Pole antenna in a tree suspended configuration. My good friend and cohort, Jim Diggs, K4AHO came by with his AIM 4170 Antenna Analyzer and we were ready to tune the antenna and get a feel for it.
LESSON: A good analyzer makes tuning an antenna fast, simple and accurate! The AIM 4170 gave us a TON of info (most of it going over my head) and let us see how the C Pole was doing in several areas. Take a look at this output! (Click on the image for a larger version)
LESSON: I followed Niel’s directions, but did not have a small plastic coffee container so used a Quart Coke bottle instead. So I call it a Coke Choke and it seems to work well. Here’s a photo to show it off!
I think this one is a keeper. Goes up easily, hears well and loads nicely too. I made a few brief contacts and called it a day, but look forward to more C Pole action in the days ahead.
Kelly K4UPG PB #173
p.s. Don’t forget to vote in the Ideal Ham Radio QTH poll on the blog!