Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Well here we are once again trying to get the portable ham radio setup going. My first attempt was to place one of my mono band whips on my bike and set out a counter poise. It was with mixed results, the SWR was sometimes all over, there was a TX error message now and again on my KX3 and basically frustration trying to get it to work. So if at first you don't succeed try try again. Last week I was online searching again for another way to get my portable op's on the air. I was looking for something that was easy to deploy, was portable and worked! My interest has gone toward the Endfed antennas. I was looking at LNR's antennas and then I came across the Endfed 40-6m antenna by Steve W1SFR. I shot him some questions regarding the antenna and he got back to me right away with the answers. His Endfed seems to be very well built using Wireman "silky" 18 gauge wire which I have used in the past and been very happy with. There was a nice noticeable quality in both the wire connections and the 9:1 unUn. The antenna is only 35 feet but you do need about 25 feet of coax to act as a counter poise. Also your rig needs to have an antenna tuner (mine does) to get the benefit of 6m-40m with only a 35' antenna and no traps. Also it was nice to see on his web site a link to purchase his antenna including shipping to VE3 land. The shipping was super reasonable the total came to 67.00 U.S. Steve also mentions that his price includes handling as well. Other sites I had gone to being very interested in their antenna to only find out the shipping at times was either 1/2 or more of the price of the antenna. There was lots of positive reviews on Eham about Steve's antenna as well. I put some items I am not using in the shack sold them very fast and the funds were in place so I have placed my order and waiting for it to arrive. I have the 25' of coax on hand but I do have to head out to the hardware store for some rope 1/8" nylon rope. Then I'm thinking of placing a water bottle with some sand it it as a weight to get the rope up and over a tree branch.....that is going to take some practice!
Saturday, June 4, 2016
|The test setup|
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
|The setup by the Lake|
On Monday I got out a bit later and the park was very active and finding a picnic table proved to be very challenging. The spot I had been at for the last couple of days was taken. I did find another spot about 15 minutes away from my first spot but again it was on the lake with a nice breeze. I setup and was on 20m in no time calling CQ at the QRP watering hole again. I did hear K4BBH and VE4AK but they did not come back to me when I sent out my call. I did notice on Monday the conditions had changed to the point where an S8 signal in no time was down at the noise floor. I did make one contact for the day with W2KJ, Joe was in North Carolina. He has a good signal that without warning would fade down to the noise floor. The Audio Peak Filter (APF) on the KX3 saved the contact for me as I was able to dig Joes fading signal to readable levels. We both were QRP at 4 watts and both of us were using Elecraft KX3 rigs. My RST was 329 and I gave him 559 and that seem to be it for my contacts for the day. I packed up and when back home satisfied with only one contact considering the conditions and my minimal setup.
Saturday, May 21, 2016
|The bike all loaded up|
|Diamond K400 mount|
Here is a list of the items I am packing:
KX3-on it's own with no Pelican case
Extra battery just in case- The Tracer battery pack
18 gauge counter poise- only for 20m at this time
Pens, paper and 3x5 cards with programming Kx3 instructions
Headphones- I don't use ear buds as my hearing is not that great and any noise around me tunes out CW.
Trunk lip mount base for antenna- Diamond K400
Miscellaneous items- antenna connectors, adjustable wrench, tire repair kit for bike, hat, sunglasses and so on.
Lets get to the trail adventure..........I was able to bike to one of my pre picked spots down at the Lake where a nice size picnic table was available. The antenna mount setup worked great on the bikes rear rack which I mounted back at the condo in case there was issues. I attached the counter poise via a male female 14 gauge connectors. The rig setup was straight forward as I have done this many times in the past. I fired up the rig and I wanted to see at this point if the counter poise was sufficient for a decent SWR and it was. BUT after
|The surprise error code|