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

Sunday, June 28, 2015

2015 Field Day Highlights

This year, I provided the outside setup for the Panama City ARC 2F Field Day at the Bay County Florida EOC. Our call was W4RYZ. The weather forecast was for thundershowers which was the case. I was expecting a major drenching of the gear but that did not happen. It did quell any idea of operating overnight. Saturday afternoon was nice and sunny. Sunday morning was overcast.

The setup outside the at the EOC. The building is part of Gulf Coast State College North Campus
Speaking of the Sun, I will cover that first. The 100 watt solar panel keep the battery well charged despite operating the Icom 7100 at 100 watts. The panel pumped 10 amp hours into the battery.After the sun set Saturday we were strictly on battery. I hooked up the power monitor backwards so I don't have good data on the load side. I don't think we challenged the capacity of the 40 amp hour LiFePO4 battery I was using.  Also Sun related, I used my two foldable 28 watt panels to charger the 58 farad supercapacitor array for the natural power QSO bonus.  I made the five QSOs using the KX3 at 10 watts. The voltage held up nicely.

The 100 watt solar panel and the two foldable 28 watt panels.
Antenna-wise, I deployed with help from club members all five antennas. These were 1) a 40/20 fan dipole, 2) the Chameleon Hybrid Micro with a 60 foot inverted L with four 25 foot counterpoise wires 3) a two meter ground plane, 4) two Bravo 7K verticals as a parasitic array and 5) a Chameleon Tactical Dipole Lite in a NVIS configuration. Yes, I got those antennas setup no problem but with the rain threatening I packed up the Bravo 7Ks before I used them. Also the supports on the Tactical Dipole were not up to the job and it fell over. So as you would expect the 40/20 dipole worked like a champ on those bands. I kind of forgot I could use it on 15 meters. I did try to tune it on 80 meters by mistake (I thought I was on the inverted L)  Well that explains why it would not tune as tuning a 40 meter antenna on 80 meters is worse case load for the tuner.

40/20 meter fan dipoles.
We used the Inverted L on 80 meters Saturday Night but for some reason there were few Field Day stations on the band. I did work a few with effort. Sunday Morning 10 and 15 meters were active and the Inverted L really did a good job there.

The Inverted L antenna using the Chameleon Hybrid Micro 
We had a good combination of operators, loggers, supporters and visitors at the outside station. I particularly enjoyed a visit from my ham/work friend Dennis. I had not seen him in a long time. He recently recovered from a serious illness. He was very interested in the setup and we had some long over-due quality time. Also Michael almost ten years old got the hang of operating and had a good string of contacts. Michael is Bob KK4DIV's Step Son. Suzy our Basset spent Sunday Morning with us.

Steve, Michael, Suzy and Bob

Of course, the outside station was just part of a successful Field Day at the EOC. Thanks to Steve KM4BWV, Jacque KK4LUW, Bob KK4DIV,  Mike KM4ELJ, and Bob WB4BLX for joining me outside. Also thanks to Genella (studying for the test) for her enthusiastic support.

Michael and Suzy

The setup at night

The Club Hex Beam on Phil N4STC's trailer/tower.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

2015 Field Day Setup

Field Day is one of my best memories from my teenage ham days. It is one of those things I think about all year. I am operating this year with the Panama City ARC W4RYZ 2F station at the Bay County EOC near Southport, Florida. I pretty much provide the outside station. There will also be an inside station. They will use a hex beam in the parking lot. I am outside at the Northwest corner of the building. A 100 foot doublet does the job, but I am bringing the works for antennas this year.


Antenna Layout

1-2 is 40 meter dipole 3-4 is 20 meter dipole. These have a common feed point at 28 foot camo pole mast. There will be 30 foot poles at 1, 2, and 3. At 4 will be another 28 foot mast. It will hold up one end of the 20 meter dipole. It will have a 2 meter antenna at the top. at 5 is a 30 foot mast having the feed point and radials for a Chameleon Micro Hybrid with a 60 foot wire that goes up the mast and toward 4. At 6 will be a 16 foot mast to hold up the Chameleon EMCOMM2 with 60 foot NVIS radiator extending to 7. There will be a 60 foot counterpoise extending under the radiator. 8/9 is a parasitic array of two Bravo 7K verticals. 


When I bought the Icom 7100 I had it in mind for Field day. I used the KX3 at ten watts one year and it did the job. However, since our club entry is not QRP I can go for 50 to 100 watts with the 7100.I have an external LDG IT-100 tuner which will come in handy.

Icom 7100 control head.

The icom 7100 main unit, battery and tuner.


I have a 40 amp hour and a 30 amp hour LiFEPO4 battery from Bioenno. These were quite expensive but they hold the voltage high enough to operate the Icom 7100. The Icom 7100 will crash if the voltage drops to 11.7 volts. I will be using a 100 watt solar panel to replenish the power I draw from the battery during daylight. We will see how the battery management goes. I can drop down to 50 watts at night if needed.

100 watt solar panel

Natural Power Bonus:

This year I am going to try for the five natural power QSOs using a solar panel supercapacitor combination. I will be assured that there was no commercial power electrons involved. We will see how it goes.

Super capacitor bank,

The rest:

Here is the pop-up canopy from a past year at night. 

Well this is quite load of stuff. It is not RaDAR or QRP this time. The Florida heat and humidity are something to deal with. Of course there will be thundershowers. I hope to get lots of club operators involved. The club should have a big Field Day over-all with both stations. Good luck on your Field Day!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Portable Gathering for the June RaDAR Meetup

Today was the June RaDAR On-The-Air Meetup. There were several Panama City ARC members setting up portable stations at a park by the bay in Lynn Haven, Florida. I used this opportunity to test the core of our outside station for the upcoming Field Day at the Bay County EOC. The station included the Icom 7100 powered by a 40 amp hour LiFePO4 battery. The battery was being charged via a 100 watt solar panel. The antenna is a 40/20 meter fan dipole. The center is supported by a mast made of camo poles with a tripod base. It is 24 feet high. The dipole ends were held up by four 31 foot Jackite poles. The poles were strapped to three foot angle iron pieces driven one foot deep. I ran 100 watts. The rig pulled 8.5 amp hours out of the battery and the solar panel put 6 amp hours into the battery during the meetup.

Suzy admiring the solar panel
The first hour was 40 meters. On SSB I worked K4LIX first. Jim was in the park with me. Then I worked Don KK4QAM in Sweetwater Alabama from the RaDAR Community. This was followed by KK4DIV Bob setup next to me. Then Jack N1HQ who was in Panama City, The last SSB contact was Cory N4UVR in the park. On to CW I worked K4JYS running vintage gear from North Carolina. Next was N1ZX Stan in Stuart Florida.

40/20 meter Fan Dipole
The second hour was 20 meters. My first contact was a surprise K4FUS Fernando nearby. I did not know he was operating portable. I finished out the SSB contacts with VE3LYX Don, W8BOX Tom in Ohio and KE8AQW Michael in Michigan. On to CW i worked Bob WB4BLX right off the bat, he was at his home in Panama City. I was picked up by the SKCC Week End Sprint ops. I worked K9JWV in Utah, KA3OCS in VA, WB0CLL in Oklahoma, K0LUW in Nebraska, K9JWI in Indiana and NS3C in California.

Icom 7100 Control Point

Icom 7100 Go Box with battery

I would say this setup is going to work fine for Field Day. We should be able to work 15 meters with the fan dipole as well. Suzy the basset puppy did well and greeted the visitors. Here some photos of the other setups.



Cory N4UVR.