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

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Catching Anything?

Well yes some DX and some state side. Marv KK4DKT invited me out for some impromptu portable ops at the Panama City Marina Saturday AM. His wife Melissa joined us. Marv's setup was his FT 897 and the Buddipole. Marv had a good time working DX on 10 meters like Brazil and Bonaire. We figure the DX was a straight shot South over the water from Panama City. I setup my mast and a half wave wire for 30 meters. My rig was the Youkits HB-1B. I worked a couple of TN a TX and a VA. They had some QSB on my signal. Maybe it was my wire waving. Then I had a solid QSO with Tom K0FCG in West Plains MO. My best contacts on 30 meters have been to MO recently. So we stood out a little bit from the rest casting off the dock. I think we caught more than they did! Bob WB4BLX also dropped by and we enjoyed the visit. Greg N4KGL

Destin QRP Opportunity

My wife had some business in Destin FL. So I had a couple of ours to enjoy QRP portable ops. I went in the Bass Pro Store for the first time and looked at their crappie pole selection. I did not find any suitable poles. I did spy a interesting item called a fish-n-mate sand spike. It turns out it will mate with 1.5 inch PVC pipe which mates with my 20 foot crappie pole. I tried it out in an empty lot next door to the Bass Pro. I lofted a slightly less than half wave wire for some 30 meter contacts. I had a couple of tough contacts but the last one was a good one with Rich AC0MP in Columbia MO. The sand spike will come in handy I am sure. See the photos below.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

End Fed Half Waves with 43 Foot Mast

The new wrinkle is extending my military mast sections vertically with the 20 foot crappie pole. The 1.5 inch "four way" PVC adapter will fit over the end of of a military mast section. Note for this application I sawed off the male end of one military mast section. The crappie pole will fit into a 1.5 inch two foot PVC pipe. This in pushed into the top of the "four way" The butt of the crappie pole is locked in. So with five four foot mast sections plus the three foot one with the adapter this yields 43 feet. This assembly is attached to a hitch adapter on the back of my truck. I hope the pictures help.

I tested this configuration out in the driveway and at this month's rocket launch. The height of the mast lets me have a 30 meters half wave pretty much vertical and operate beside the truck. I used a separate wire attached lower on the mast for a 20 meters half wave. I was able to tune them end fed with both the Hendricks BLT and SLT+ tuners. I was also successful tuning the 30 meter half wave wire on 40 meters. So I have made contacts on 40, 30 and 20 with this arrangement. I had a nice long contact with KB4JR Bernie in Lake Wales FL on 30 meters from the rocket field.

Another small detail, I found that "snap" crimp connectors from Home Depot are my answer for joining wires. They push together similar to banana plugs.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Polar Bear and Grid Squares

I went out with the Panama City club today to a bay side park in Lynn Haven, FL. My setup was the Inverted U supported by a mast off my truck hitch. It is 52 feet of wire center fed via 300 ohm line to a BLT tuner. My rig was the HB1B at 5 watts. My goal was to work Polar Bears and the QRP ARCI Grids Square Event. I nailed both by working Kelly Bear K4UPG right off the bat on 40 meters. He was participating in the Grid Square event at EL98. I continued on 40 meters working Lake Wales and Miami FL. Then I retuned for 20 meters and worked W5ESE at EM00 and W4MPS at FM05. So it was fun to get some contacts and mix with the club members. Marv KK4DKT brought his daughter Sydney and she had her first contact on Marv's new FT-897 rig.

Greg N4KGL

Monday, March 5, 2012

Rainy Day Kit Build

Saturday was a rainy day in Panama City and I took advantage of it to build the Hendricks SLT+ 80-10 Meter Half Wave Tuner from WWW.QRPKITS.COM. I bought it in part because it covers 80 meters as most QRP tuners don't. The kit is excellent. Of course there are a few toroids to be wound. The tuner is an L circuit. It uses a polyvaricon type capacitor. So Sunday the weather cleared and I joined Marv KK4DKT who was already setup with his Buddipole at a local park. I setup three 20 foot crappie poles to support 124 feet of wire. I tried the 69 foot counterpoise but it was tripping up some of the other park goers so I shortened it up. Note, the wire was a little short of a half wave as recommended in the instructions. The tuner did a good job of tuning to 1 to 1 SWR on 80 meters but hey nobody was there to work. It also tuned up on 40 as a full wave. I did snag KT4TN as you can guess was in Tennessee. Getting pretty chilly I called that a success. I am looking forward to using this tuner on other bands. It seems to work well on the first try. BTW Marv had a blast snagging DX on his Buddipole including stations from Spain.