Pedestrian Mobile Honeymoon Island, Florida Mar 21, 2009

After taking a few laps of the tailgate vendor area at the Gulf Coast Amateur Radio Club Hamfest in New Port Richey, my wife, Connie and I drove down to Honeymoon Island State Park and Beach on the Gulf coast north of Clearwater/St. Petersburg.  This was my first time out with the new setup for pedestrian mobile. I learned a lot and had a blast despite semi-poor band conditions and a very windy day.

I was using a MFJ 9420 on 20 meter SSB to my Buddistick mounted on my backpack frame. I connected with several HF-Pack members on the 14, 342.5  MHz hangout or there abouts… heard lots of others too. Budd Drummond, W3FF was spotting and helping the portable and mobile stations make connections. Budd was pounding in at 20 over S9 from California and had the best signal I heard all day. Lower on the band I heard good signals from Spain, Azores, and a few G3’s but my 10 watts didn’t compete with the contest crowd today at least.

Here’s some photos of the setup I used. Will refine it to prevent some of the wind related problems I experienced today and post more detailed photos in case someone is considering a similar rig. The wind load on the Buddistick and bicycle flag combination was a real surprise and caused a number of issues for me.

Honeymoon Island initial testing.
Honeymoon Island initial testing.
First contact brings a smile to my face!
First contact brings a smile to my face!
Tweaking to compensate for sun caused vfo drift
Tweaking to compensate for sun caused vfo drift
Working the HF Pack 20m frequency
Working the HF Pack 20m frequency
Wind forced me to the pier
Wind forced me to the pier


  1. Kathy Kaiser says

    Hey, Kelly …
    My first thought … who is that skinny guy?!!! Glad you are feeling healthy … just don’t get TOO skinny!
    The winds will blow you and your “get up” away!!!
    Keep on enjoying and fingers are crossed for really good weather for your upcoming walk.
    Love to ya,

  2. Len KA1LOR says

    Hi Kelly,

    Enjoyed reading and the pictures of your recent QRP outings. I also use a buddistick along with either IC-703 or FT-817 – SSB. I do get out hill-topping, and beach/light house operating. Hope to meet you on the air some time.


  3. kmack says

    Thanks Len! Good to hear about your ops too. Do you have a blog out there somewhere?
    Kelly K4UPG

  4. says

    I enjoyed your wonderful photos and description of your Pedestrian Mobile activity on HFpack.

    73 Bonnie KQ6XA

  5. kmack says

    I am honored that you took time to look! I’ve read your posts, files, photos and videos, and am trying to follow in your footsteps… You blazed a good trail for the rest of us on HF Pack. Especially enjoyed the Mt Victoria pics. Long time since I visited there but one of my fav places in the world. Look forward to a qso one of these days.
    Kelly K4UPG

  6. says

    Good job Kelly! We’ve just started Ped Mobiling here as well! It sure is fun and amazing to be walking around with a radio ‘on board’ much less talking with your ham buddies on the other side of the country!

    I think you found the same secret weapon as us! If you can keep the ‘drag-wire’ up off the ground your QSO rate goes way up. I’ve done some measurements with the analyzer and when that drag wire-wire is in contact with ground is resonate point drops dramatically 1-2MHz (depending soil cndx) indicating it’s capacitively coupling to the ground. And we all know it takes lots of radials to overcome ground losses. Unless you’re over salt water or an extremely good ground. Unfortunately my goats haven’t learned to how to carry my drag-wire yet much less resist the temptation chewing on it!

    Keep up the good work and have FUN! Us Goats(Rooster&Peanut~wGØAT)

  7. kmack says

    Thanks Steve! It all started with you helping me buy the Buddistick at Orlando Hamcation! Sure glad I stepped up and did that and got to meet you and Budd.

    The bike flag is a bit of help keeping things airborne, but it does create the challenge of not poking someone’s eyes out or snagging on things. Learned I have to anchor it firmly or wind will spin it and that’s no fun. I’ll shoot some closeups of my new rigging this weekend. Think I can get a bit more height and stop the swinging. I made a bit of a balun with coax and not sure if that is helping or not, but seemed fine last outing. Would love to experiment more in that area and wish I had the TRSB or similar setup to try to do the ultimate tweak and get as much power to the antenna as possible.

    I am having a ball and enjoying the HF Pack and Buddipole User’s Group immensely. Along with 4SQRP and QRP-L reflectors, I’m getting all sorts of ideas and encouragement. The QRP and portable communities are friendly and fun, just like the good ole’ days!


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