QRP Portable in St Louis and Orlando this week

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

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

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.