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QRP Portable in St Louis and Orlando this week
Sep 26th, 2009 by kmack

I took my radio with me to St Louis and tried my hand at Hotel Portable ops. The conference schedule did not allow me much time, but I did get a break one afternoon and took 30 min to play radio in the courtyard. I threw my Coleman Clothesline reel over a tree limb at about 15 feet and paid out about 30 feet of wire and placed about 16 feet of wire on the ground as a counterpoise. It loaded well on 40m with my BLT+ and I worked three stations in about 20 min. Not bad!

St Louis Hotel Portable Airport Hilton

St Louis Hotel Portable Airport Hilton

St Louis Airport Hilton Loading the Window frame!

St Louis Airport Hilton Loading the Window frame!

After returning home, the weather in Orlando was great and I hit the nearby lake park for some antenna testing with a Mini Bac in various configurations. I was really happy with the Delta Loop which loaded well on 20m and 40m. This antenna is a keeper and I’ll be doing more testing and learning about how to deploy it.

Lake Fredrica operating position

Lake Fredrica operating position

Buddistick deployed for comparison

Buddistick deployed for comparison

Here is the Delta Loop! Can you see the 26 gauge teflon coated wire? Here is a link to an outlined view of the Delta loop. CLICK HERE.  The Red line is the feed line which is twisted 1 turn per foot and held together with masking tape. Pretty slick. The “insulator” I used is also masking tape, as are the corner point markers and peak of the Delta. As I measured it I stuck a small piece of tape on the wire.

Mini Bac antenna in 14MHz Delta Loop Configuration

Mini Bac antenna in 14MHz Delta Loop Configuration

MQFD August 2009
Aug 30th, 2009 by kmack

At last! We finally had a break in the weather and did not have thunderstorms and rain all weekend! Although it was hot, it was really nice to be out byLake Fredrica and set up antennas again. My trusty slingshot worked well and I managed to get a line over a couple limbs on the tall pine trees for a 40m dipole up at 40 feet. The dipole was fed with 300 ohm twinlead and loaded up well with my BLT+

Can you see that dipole in between the pine trees?

Can you see that dipole in between the pine trees?

Kept moving to stay in the shade!

Kept moving to stay in the shade!

20 ft Jackite pole and 44 ft doublet first test setup

20 ft Jackite pole and 44 ft doublet first test setup

Dr Pepper and CW QSO's what a treat!

Dr Pepper and CW QSO's what a treat!

My wife saved the day by bringing me a cold Diet Dr. Pepper after I’d been baking in the Florida sun for about 4 hours. What a treat that was, eh?

Band was not too great with a lot of QRN and some SSB and RTTY QRM later in the day. My 20 ft Jackite pole and 44 doublet as an inverted vee with the ends 3 ft off the ground was disappointing test. My BLT+ would not tune it on any band I tried.

I posted that result to QRP-L reflector and the MQFD list and got a good number of replies. Seems that anything less than 6 feet above ground makes the 44 ft doublet difficult to tune! So I’ll be trying different configuration the next time out and see how it goes.

Maybe I’ll have my new halfwave end fed tuner completed soon and have some time to test it out and report those results soon too. I love this QRP stuff!

My hat made a good sunshade for the Sierra

My hat made a good sunshade for the Sierra

Portable projects
Aug 23rd, 2009 by kmack

Been out a bit with a nice event held in Naples, Florida by the ministerial association that ordained me. We had a great time meeting old friends and making some new friends. Our hotel was extremely nice and we had a 5th floor room with balcony to play qrp portable from too! The weather was not very good and we did not get a lot of air time, but had fun experimenting with my Buddistick on 40 and 20m.

Not a bad view from our 5th floor perch, eh?

Not a bad view from our 5th floor perch, eh?

The counterpoise was dropped over the edge to a conveniently placed palm tree that was just right for the 40m length and a bit short for 20m ops. Next time I’ll take my bicycle flag and use it to keep the counterpoise a bit further out from the building and operate more of an “L” configuration to see how that works.

I picked up 200′ of nice 26 gauge Teflon insulated wire at the Ft. Pierce (FL) hamfest and have worked on a couple new portable antenna options. Recently I got a great deal on Ebay and acquired 4 Coleman camping clothesline reels which I put to use making a couple end fed halfwaves and counterpoise.

Matching XFMR and 3 of my antenna reels

Matching XFMR and 3 of my antenna reels

I’m still tweaking on my EFHW Tuner modeled after the SLT+ but using RF chokes rather than toroids. So far, I’m not satisfied with it, but perhaps it is my novice building skills that created the problem. hi hi. So I am working on a couple other tuners. I found a very interesting lite weight idea on WA5BDU’s website. So of course, I had to try it.

WA5BDU 40m EFHW matching XFMR

WA5BDU 40m EFHW matching XFMR

The rain came shortly after I got setup at the nearby lake park, but I was able to get a 1:7 to 1 SWR without any tweaking of counterpoise or antenna length. So with some time to tweak I think I should be able to improve on this tunerless matching transformer. YAHOO… stay tuned.

Flight of the Bumblebees 2009
Jul 27th, 2009 by kmack

I have been like a kid on Christmas Eve thinking about this event. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate and I chose to stay closer to home than originally planned. In this low power (QRP) ham radio event, the Bumblebees were to hike, bike, or travel via water to the spot they would operate. As bee #86, I donned my backpack (overly packed by the way) and headed to the lakeside park in our housing development which is about 3/4 mile from my home. It was about 90+ degrees Farenheit at 11 am when I set out to my site.

The sky looked good, except the clouds were building to the Southwest… So I setup camp and decided to use the shelter rather than be out in the open in case rain came. Good choice!

So I setup my Buddistick for 20m using my MFJ 207 Analyzer. I soon had the SWR down to 1.3/1 and after hoisting the antenna into the air on my semi-official BEE colored painter’s pole it went down to less than 1.2 to 1! Good enough for this ham! Signals were a bit down and there was a good bit of QRN which would get worse. Since it was early, I ate lunch and watched the herons work the shallows of the lake while I waited for the 1 PM starting time.

Bumblebee 86 on the way out~ note the BEE colored hat

Bumblebee 86 on the way out~ note the BEE colored hat

Buddistick up and away

Buddistick up and away

She's up and ready to rock n roll

She's up and ready to rock n roll

From the bottom looking up!

From the bottom looking up!

My Rig setup. Nice view, eh?

My Rig setup. Nice view, eh?

Unfortunately, the weather decided to roll in and 15 minutes  after the start I made my first qso. Then the lightning sirens went off and I pulled down the antenna and played it safe. After two hours of watching the rain and lightning show and a few herons on the hunt for food, I got a window of good weather and put the station back on the air.  Two more qso’s in the next 20 minutes and then the rain and lightning moved back in on me.

Here comes the lightning and rain again!

Here comes the lightning and rain again!

So with only 39 minutes to go, I decided to roll up the coax and trek home. I had lots of fun despite the challenges. I’ll be there next year, the Lord willing!

Field Day at the Beach Jun 2009 — Hammock Mobile?
Jun 28th, 2009 by kmack

The last couple weeks have been busy at my office. This weekend we took some time off and headed to St Petersburg Beach. Since it was ARRL Field Day and I have not participated in that great event in almost 30 yrs, I took my Wilderness Sierra and Buddistick antenna and did some LAZY operating from the beach. My little 2.5 watts out didn’t break through too many pileups, but I had a great time listening to all the activity and being at the beach too.

You can only take so much Florida sun in one day… gets might hot. So I found a fine alternative and perhaps set a historic way to use the Buddistick. Check out my Hammock Mobile operating site. Buddistick is on the support pole.

Successful Walkathon
Mar 29th, 2009 by kmack

Saturday 28 March we participated in a walkathon at our ministry. To spice things up, I went Pedestrian Mobile on 20m and had fun. The CQ WPX contest crowded the bands with high power contesters, but I had fun walking and listening to the good dx. My new configuration worked well but I have more ideas on how to keep improving the mix and making the rig more stable in the high winds we often get here.

After the walk was completed, I  helped my friend, Matt KC8IWD align a newly received NorCal 40 with the Buddistick clamped on the balcony railing of our ministry’s prayer tower. Boyz n toyz…

73,

Kelly K4UPG

Ready, set, GO!!!

Ready, set, GO!!!

Hello CQ!

Hello CQ!

Watch out for my counterpoise!

Watch out for my counterpoise!

Just one more qso before I quit...

Just one more qso before I quit...

Tweaking the new Norcal 40

Tweaking the new Norcal 40

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