SKCC 5123T----- FISTS 14979----- Flying Pigs 2331----- NAQCC 3610-----QRP ARCI 14176-----Polar Bear 257

Monday, May 26, 2014

N4KGL Memorial Day Backyard Outing!

I operated RaDAR from EM72NN02RP Columbus GA which is my Brother-In-Law's house. I used the KX3 and 100 foot wire loop to SGC tuner. I was pleased with QSOs on 80, 40, 30, 20, 17 & 15. The loop was irregular with combination of horizontal and vertical polarization.
I worked:
W1AW/2 18.118 NY
W2NRA 14.053 NY
K5LY 18.079 TX
KJ4RFO Allan in Pensacola FL 21.293 
W1AW/2 21.315 NY
IZ8XQC & I8YAV 18.125  
Checked into 3.950 North Florida Phone net
F6IGS 18.132 
TM4U 18.135
R7DX 18.141.25
W3UC Maryland 7.265 
N4FO In FL 10.108

Posted via Blogaway

Sunday, May 25, 2014

St George Island Field Day May 24th

Field Day is the event that goes all the way back to my early Ham days in the late 60s. There was a club in my hometown but the members left field day ops to me and my teen ham buddies. I always feel like I should be preparing for field day all year round. It is similar to preparing for RaDAR outing by doing quick setups for lunch breaks at work. St. George Island has many RaDAR opportunities for deploying and redeploying but Saturday was closer to a field day than RaDAR.

Perhaps one motivation for getting an Icom 7100 was to have a 100 watt rig for Field Day. Neverless I had the KX3 and the Icom 7100 with me Saturday so why not setup both. Then why not setup two antennas. Sounds like a two operator field day with one one operator. The antenna setup was interesting. The first antenna was the ribbon cable "NorCAL" 88 foot doublet. It was needed for 40 and 60 meter NVIS. I setup the doublet with the center pole at the picnic table operating position. I oriented the antenna to be broadside to Southeast and Northwest. The second antenna was the 100ft wire delta fed at the bottom center the SGC 237 tuner. In order to minimise interaction between the antennas. I ran 70 feet of coax along the axis of the doublet and deployed the delta loop perpendicular to the doublet off the end. Neither of these antennas are much trouble to deploy.

The other aspect of this outing was I invited my ham friends in the area and my RaDAR friends to work me. This was a "This is your Life" experience as my friends showed up one after the other. The 88 foot doublet was exactly the right antenna for my area friends. On 40 meter CW Jim K4LIX in Panama City was waiting for me on 7.120. Then my buddies reported in including Kelly K4UPG in Sanford, FL, Bob WB4BLX and Vic K4GXV in Panama City. Tom WD0HBR in Dothan, Alabama. On 40 meter SSB I worked Bob KK4DIV, Phil N4STC, Jim K4LIX all from Panama City. I also worked another Panama City ham Henry N4HHM maritime mobile.  After a few more 40 SSB contacts including my friend in Sonny WB4NKU in Fort Valley Georgia, I had the pleasure of RaDAR to RaDAR contacts with Rickey KC4S visiting  Pensacola using his KX3. Then RaDAR to RaDAR with Don KK4QAM in Alabama on his X1M. All in all I had a run of 17 contacts in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Louisiana. Thanks to all you ham Radio Buddies this was lots of fun!

The rest of the day was picking up QSOs alternating between the KX3 and 7100 and then the two antennas. I had a extended QSO with Des KB8UYJ in Ann Arbor Michigan. He was really interested in the KX3. So I switched from the 7100 to the KX3. Eventually I got both rigs on the delta loop. Surprisingly he said the KX3 at 10 watts was just as strong as the 7100 at 80 watts. Elecraft will be happy to know the KX3 at 10 watts sounds like a 100 watt rig. I think it might have something to do with the compression on the KX3.

The day was topped off with a try to work my 60 meter QRP buddies Larry K5ZRK in Mississippi and Sonny WB4KKU in Fort Valley Georgia, I did not hear Larry but Sonny in Fort valley was solid copy on the 88 foot doublet.

The temperature was into the low 90s but the 50% humidity made it not so bad. At one point the KX3 gave me a temperature warning between the sun beating down on it and a long transmission. I checked on the crabs I had seen last week at the waters edge. It turned out they formed a huge ball of crabs in the grass. If I got closer the ball moved further out. I decided to give them some privacy.

It is beyond my capabilities to make accurate comparison of rigs and antennas. However, I can say the 88 foot doublet was a GREAT antenna for close in 40 meter contacts and also for 60 meters. The delta with the tuner is at least a FAIR antenna for the high bands. I made a good number of 20 and 17 meter contacts with it. The advantage of 80 watts over 10 watts continues to be in question. The direct comparison said 80 was the same as 10 as far was carrying on the QSO. The battery power for the 7100 held up well at 80 watts. I used 10 amp hours from the 30 amp hour battery.

A great day of operating with 34 contacts total. I think in future trips I'll go for lightweight and see if I can practice some RaDAR redeployments.

delta loop antenna

Sunday, May 18, 2014

May 17th St.George Island RaDAR Operations

Saturday, I had the opportunity to operate for most of the of the day from St.George island near Apalachicola Florida. There was a spot on the Northern side on the sound I wanted to try. This is on the opposite side from the beaches. It is funny when you get to the park early you can say you own the spot ($4 price for great real estate) as you are all by yourself. I did own this spot pretty much all day. The only exceptions were many tiny sand crabs near me that were quite active.

My initial setup was the KX3 and a 100 foot wire held in the center by a 31 foot pole. It was fed with a 9 to 1 balun. The near end sloped down to my operating position by the water the far end was held up by a 20 foot pole. The wire ran East/West and I was hoping that a lobe off the end would point toward South Africa. The lobes tend to be off the ends when the antenna is several wavelengths
which it would be for 10 meters.

I had several schedules I wanted to make. The first was Tom WD0HBR my friend in Dothan, Alabama. Sure enough we had a successful QSO on 7.110. Tom runs 5 watts with a MFJ 9040 and a 40 foot wire. It is nice to know I can reach Tom if all the usual means are lost. Tom and my parents live in the same town. The second was John W8JER in Sturgis, Michigan.  We met on 17 meters SSB. John was 15 over with his home gear. He had me S9 to 10 over. We had a 30 minute chat with no problems. Micky said hello. John and Micky spend a few months of the winter in Panama City.

The third schedule was Eddie ZS6BNE in South Africa, Eddie and I had been trying for a intercontinental RaDAR QSO several times. I had heard him once pretty good but he did not hear me. Ten meters was the ticket this time. He heard me and gave me a 419. I gave him a 439. We both were running 5 watts. His antenna was 10 meter J pole. This tells me I should be using my 10 meter J pole which I have stored away.  I also worked another RaDAR op Fred VE3FAL who was portable running 5 watts. I have to say this was  another good performance from the 100 foot wire. I had good luck on 40, 17 15 and 10 meters.

In the afternoon, I decided to use the Icom 7100 and the SCG 237 tuner. I reconfigured the 100 foot ware as a delta loop fed at one of the low corners with the SGC 237. The funny thing was I had a tough time on 17 meters SSB even though I was running between 40 and 80 watts. 20 and 10 meters were better. I did work ZL1DK on 10 meters. I had a good ragchew with WA9BBS in Indianapolis about how he might go portable when he winters in Florida.

I enjoyed the day and the weather was sunny but not hot as we had a breeze all day. The wind kept the biting flies away. My contacts were

KX3 with 100 foot end fed
15 CW: OK40BOSCH ?

Icom 7100 with 100 foot wire as vertical delta loop.
10 SSB W6WQA CA, ZL1DK New Zealand, KF7DED AZ
10 CW YV1KK Venezuela, LW3EX Argentina

On reflection it seems the vertical delta loop was a pretty good DX antenna on 10 meters!

73s N4KGL

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The April 2014 RaDAR Contest Results are Available

Congrats to all participants in the April 2014 RaDAR Contest. RaDAR is Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio. There were several who missed this one due to the timing and the weather. There will be a July and November RaDAR Contests coming up this year. Check blogs and for details. Likewise check out the Google+ RaDAR Community.

April 2014 RaDAR Contest Results for Region 2

April 2014 RaDAR Contest Results for Region 1

I collected the following soap box info via the RaDAR Community:

Lucy M6ECG
Holland-on-Sea, Essex JO01OT
Terrain: all paved along the promenade and sea wall defences (as high tide at time of contest)
WX: lovely sunny and warm (12 degreesish ?), very light breeze
Radio: Icom IC 703
Power: 17ah SLAB
Antennas: AM Pro mobile whips for 20m & 40m and a DV27 11m mobile whip for 10m
Modes: SSB exclusively
Transitioned: walking
Interesting, surprising, fun stuff ... Lots of 'funny looks' from passers by = funny, some very nice QSOs with contacts, surprising that that the big Polish contest did not impede my operation in any great way!
While out contesting .... I was thinking a smart phone would be useful for locating exact grid references while out and about and for updating on forums etc Also useful for digi modes which I want to try and start sometime, Also some simple way to record video/audio all QSOs so that a nice compendium of snippets of call signs can be edited together after a portable outing would be nice.

Eddie ZS6BNE
Molopo river - KG34ac19fk
Flat, bush veld - Late summer, pleasant
Radio: FT817ND
Power Source: 7 A/Hr Gel cell (For lack of something better)
Antennas: 10m Wire J-Pole and "Fuchs" end fed
Modes: SSB, CW - Attempted PSK31 digital
Transition: Mountain bike
Highlight: To set up station in the field and to communicate effectively. Chasing the ultimate goal of intercontinental RaDAR to RaDAR. To overcome hardships encountered and adapting to unknown situations. To follow a plan and strategy and to learn new ways to do things. There is always something new to be learnt!

Bob Plank, KK4DIV
Laurel Hill, FL  EM60RW
Pine forests/sandy hills
Low to mid 70's F
Radio: Yaesu FT-817nd
Power Source: Internal Battery, 2700 mAhr
Antennas: Wolf River Coil Silver Bullet 1000 and buddipole long telescoping whip on a camera tripod
Modes Used: SSB
Transition: Walked
Highlight: While out, thinking and planning new ways to deploy my station.  i.e. /pm pack

Greg Lane N4KGL
St. Andrews State Park near Panama City FL EM70DD and EM70DC
Beach on St. Andrews Bay
Overcast with temps in the 70s
Radio: Elecraft KX3
Power Source 10 AH LiFEPO4 Battery
Antenna: Alexloop
Modes: CW SSB
Transition: by foot
Highlight Used my Semi Pedestrian Mobile setup. I enjoyed discussion with other park visitors on what I was doing. I was surprised it did not rain.

Pat Ring N0YCA
Excelsior Springs, MO / EM29vi / low hills / clear
Radio:  Elecraft KX3
Power source:  Mains 110/120
Antennas: 40M-6M End Fed Halfwave 25F at feedpoint to 35F at the end
Modes used:  CW, SSB
Transition:  Shack-bound
Highlight:  discovered use of reverse beacon network to track CW participants.  It was fun to participate in my own way as a RaDAR chaser.
Roger ZR3RC, KF18, small town.
Cool sunny, light breeze.
7AH SLA (battery failure took me out of the contest)
Kenwood MA-5 mobile helical whip, adapted for portable use.
SSB only
/PM by wheelchair
My first attempt at RaDAR, spoilt by battery failure!

Fred Lesnick VE3FAL
Location: Thunder Bay Ontario (North Western Ontario) EN58hh Spruce/Pine Poplar forest with hilly rock terrain (on this outing snow, snow and more snow), used snoeshoes to get to destinations
Radio: Pack:1-VX-1210 Pack 2-FT817 HL50 Amp and Tuner
Power Source: Pack 1- LiON battery pack Pack 2: PBox LiPO batteries (x2 in parallel)
Antennas : Pack 1: Chameleon Emcomm II with various mil whips Pack 2: Chameleon Hy-Brid mini with various mil whips, also have various wires in bag
Modes Used: CW and SSB but both packs also set up for digital with Pack 2 being more digital ready
Transition: Snowshoes
Highlight: Listening to the wildlife and nature around on the trails, working Ukraine on 2 watts on 10 meters cw

Richard S. - KF5RHI
Bicentennial Park, Fort Worth EM12hn
City park and suburbs, Cold and rain
Radio: Yaesu FT-857D
Power Source: Two 10 Ah SLA batteries
Antennas: 6 - 40m end-fed on a 28' telescoping jackite pole
Mode: SSB
Transition: Shoot and scoot!  After 5 contacts antenna and radio was tore down and loaded into the truck.
Highlight: One of my contacts was in the Azores.  That's the first time I've ever worked the Azores!

Steve Parks KF5RYI
Location Name and Grid Square Type of terrain and Weather
Cedar Hill State Park,  EM12MO06 and EM12MP03, overcast and cool.
Radio: Elecraft KX3
Power Source: Tenergy LiFEPO4 10 Ah (Greg Lane Special)
Antenna: Homebrew EARCHI EFHW
Mode: CW and SSB
Transition: By foot
Highlight: Having people inquire what I was doing and the look of total shock as I explained.  It was also super awesome to contact a couple of G+ RaDAR members.  Although I will admit I didn't know it was +John Corby at that exact moment.

Jack Chomley VK4JRC
QG56FJ time zone +10 fine weather, night time, farm terrain.
Elecraft KX3 @ 5 watts
Off grid solar
1 kilometre horizontal loop, Cushcraft MA-5V vertical, PAR Omniangle
PSK31 only
"Shack Sloth" at club field facility
Due to night operation in my time zone, moving RaDAR ops not safe, weather very warm here, snakes are a big hazard. I used digital because propagation to this part of the world at this time is poor so I felt best chance was with digital. Only called CQ RaDAR and did not search and pounce, I got no contacts at all. Many that I did listen to, were very weak sigs and all running about 20 watts. I tried 10, 15 & 20 metres only.
See for pics of Weasel Park field facility, where I operated from.

Don Gibbs KK4QAM
I had a great time today on my first truly portable op. I setup as a fixed/p operation not far from my home QTH. Things were slow at first but picked up some later on. I  took 3 different antennas with me today to do some experimenting and the results were as I expected. The home brew Buddipole is going to be a very good NVIS style antenna around my QTH due to the lack of elevation as it is with any dipole antenna. The End fed Trail Friendly 40/20/10 works well set up as a sloper since I did not have a tree tall enough to use it as a vertical. I did not take time to try it as an inverted L. I also have a home brew Buddistick, but did not take it today, because I had a vertical wire based loosely on the antenna. I made it out of #18 speaker wire and use a cardboard winder to keep it on. I still have a little more work to do on the Buddistick before I feel confident enough to take it into the field. The X1M is doing a great job for me and I am planning on getting a TNC for it to run PSK31 in the field. I finished the day with 3 contacts. AB6Z-Thomas in MS, N1GMV-John in NC and N0YCA-Pat in MO. Pat did not get my grid due to the band fading out but I did get his. I had a good copy on KF5RHI-Richard in TX but he could not hear me.I hope that the pictures attaché are good enough to see some of my operation from today. One is the Buddipole and radio setup, one is the matchbox end of the trail friendly, one is of the radio and radio/battery box, and on is of the vertical wire and counterpoise being fed by a BNC to binding post adapter.

Gord Kennedy
Made my first km across the icy trail to a spot where the maple sap had been running, set up my Bitx20 and heard 2 YV's having a rag chew at 14.200 59++, I decided to move up the band when disaster struck. The vernier for the VFO fell apart in my hand!! There I stood

John Corby VA3KOT
Not a great contest for me. Temperature at the start was -4C rising to -1 by the end, but strong winds made it feel much colder. We have had some thawing here and that has created a lot of mud. So I decided to leave my backpack behind and operate from the warmth of my basement shack.

I tuned around the QRP frequencies for a while but didn't hear any RaDAR stations so I went into hunt and pounce mode on the Mississippi and Missouri QSO Parties. The bands were up and down but I managed to get 7 SSB QSOs and one difficult CW RaDAR contact with Steve KF5RYI whose signal was affected by QSB. I sacrificed some points by blasting out my signal at 100W from my FT897.

Spring seems to be making a timid appearance here in southern Ontario so I hope to get out soon and do some field ops. I am definitely getting some snowshoes for next winter; it's been a long time since I got out on the trails.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Tres De Mayo Mucho Fun for RaDAR/QTTF

My Tres De Mayo outing for RaDAR/QRP To The Field was at St Andrews State Park near Panama City FL. My favorite spot in the park is Sandy Point. This is a 1 kilometer walk from the parking area. I had my beach cart loaded with many choices for antennas because I could not make up my mind. The beach cart doubles as a table for the rig.

My final choice was a 100 foot of ribbon wire fed from the end by a Balun Designs 9 to 1 Unun. The center was supported by a 31 foot Jackite pole at the center and a 15 foot pole was at the far end. I used my universal counterpoise dressed out on the sand. I suspect it may have worked without it. I was very satisfied with the antenna which I used the KX3 internal tuner to match.

I started on 20 meters CW looking for QTTF contacts. They came with NM5TW in NM, NE5DL in TX, WA8REI in MI, W5MSQ, WG0AT in CO, VA3KOT/RaDAR in ON, and K4LIX/RaDAR across town.

Then 20 SSB yielded K7TAG OR, N4STC/RaDAR across town, KB3LXI/M in PA, WB4EEH in TX, KD8RUD in OH, WB6JDH/QRP in CA, KF5RHI/RaDAR in TX.

I tested 12 SSB meters and got K7HZ in OR. Then on 15 SSB I got W7FSL in AZ. 17 meters gave W1AW/1 in CT and KD2DXN in NY.

I returned to 20 CW for more QTTF and worked WB0WQS in MO, W4MPS/P in NC, W8JK in OH, N9AW in WI and AC4CA in TX.

So three and a half hours in the sun near the lagoon yielded 22 contacts. I'd say the 100 foot of ribbon cable and the KX3 did well. I was very pleased to work Steve "Old Goat" WG0AT, RaDAR operators John VA3KOT and Richard KF5RHI, as well as local RaDAR Ops Phil N4STC, and Jim K4LIX. Marv KK4DKT and Jim K4LIX were RaDAR portable near the Panama City ARC club house. There were a number of RaDAR ops active and you can see their accounts on the RaDAR Community.

Beach Cart with Gear

Beach cart doubles as table

100 foot of ribbon cable deployed.

Balun Designs 9 to 1 Unun

One of many craft passing in the channel.