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Cannot Get Enough QRP Portable
Aug 20th, 2010 by kmack

Now into the third week of my sabbatical, I am surprised how much I want to get out and operate my QRP portable gear. Guess I have deprived myself over the years of being a confirmed workaholic and avoiding time off, vacations, and time for my favorite hobby.

PB QRP

Grrrrr! The Polar Bears Are On The Loose!

This should be a good weekend for QRP portable. The Polar Bear QRP Group will be out for another Polar Bear Summer Picnic Event and Polar Bears from Spain to the West Coast of the US will be out looking for BSO’s. Grrrrr! I am PB #173 and we’re over 200 members now. With the new Twitter and APRS connections to QRPSPOTS.COM which also point to the excellent spotting site of K3UK with a section for FISTS/QRP Ops to spot and sked one another, there are plenty of ways to use technology to help find each other. Add in a few other contests and state QSO parties, and there should be some buzzing going on this weekend. Makes me wonder when the FOBB results will be announced! Buzzzz Buzzzzz

I’ll be out and if all goes well I will be field testing a new C Pole antenna based on the suggestion I received from Neil W0LVZ. I added some switchable capacitance to my BLT+ and have rewound the main toroid to see if I can push the range a bit more with it so will have a delta loop and probably my W3EDP in the air too. I love playing with antennas and am still amazed when the ones I build actually make contacts!

Give a listen for me on the QRP watering holes on 40m, 30m and 20m Saturday morning. I’ll be self spotting on QRPSPOTS and the K3UK sites to make it easier for you to find me. Let me know how my newest antenna is workin’.

72,

Kelly K4UPG

PB #173

What Would You Do? Antenna ideas anyone?
Aug 12th, 2010 by kmack

We purchased our condo before I got back into ham radio. Like most in Orlando, we have antenna restrictions. I can put up portable or temporary antennas but cannot mount anything to the building permanently. I’d love to be able to get on the air without all the hassles of dragging gear to the porch, setting up an antenna and then tearing it all down again. It takes so much time to setup and tear down that it turns a few minutes of operating into a long process.

Here’s the layout I have to work with at the QTH…

The front yard

The front yard view... I am next door down from the blue car

backyard view

Preferred antenna site is the backyard

The buildings run north and south and these photos are shot facing due north. My condo is ground floor, second from the south end of the building. Yes, that is a big electrical transformer box and a major underground feeder line runs to it from the north.

I’ve used my Buddistick with some success but it doesn’t like being so close to the buildings and the swr is higher than when it is out in the open. I also have run a doublet inverted vee fed with twinlead but the north south orientation is not very favorable from my Florida QTH and sends most of my rf into the two buildings. My W3EDP works fairly well as an inverted L with my 20′ Jackite pole and I’ve used end fed halfwaves as slopers and inverted vees but again the directivity is not favorably oriented. I have a 3 foot magnetic loop propped against the wall but it is not working as well as I’d like yet. (i.e. the outdoor antennas work LOTS better so far)

Thought I’d ask ya’ll for some input.

Any outrageous ideas or thoughts for  me? Send me a comment and let me know.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

Polar Bear Midnight Madness Event Mar 2010
Mar 28th, 2010 by kmack

A fitting end to this season of PBMME … Saturday the weather was finally decent here in Orlando and with 80F temperature and lots of sun, I certainly earned my red neck for the season! I set up my portable station near the tall pine trees in our neighborhood park on Lake Fredrica. A few curious neighbors came by to find out what the crazy guy with the wires in the tree was doing!

I am really liking the latest antenna launching combo shown in the photo below. I have been using a slingshot taped to a shelf bracket and equipped with a spincast reel, but have been considering other alternatives. The monofilament fishing line is prone to wind knots and tangles and does not always slip through the branches as well as I’d like. I found an old post by Russ Carpenter, AA7QU, a co-founder of Adventure Radio Society, which described using an archery reel and super slick braided line. Sure is nice to learn from those that have gone before! The bright yellow line is very easy to see though very thin, 3x stronger than monofilament and flies through both air and branches with ease! KEEPER!  Think I will do away with the spincast reel and save it for the grandkids!

Tools of the trade

Antenna Launching options

Mar 2010 PBMME site

Here's my site for the event

another view

Great trees for antenna wire hanging!

If you look closely, you can see the 30m half wave going up to the tree on the left. Nearly vertical for 46 feet and is spooled on a Coleman Camping clothes line and used with a 3 ft counterpoise.

To the right is my 20ft Jackite pole and a W3EDP 84 ft antenna with a 17 ft parallel feed with 3/16 inch PET pipe spacers about every 2.5 ft. it tunes 80-15m with my BLT+ tuner.

The Polar Bear QRP Group is a great bunch of guys… (no yl’s or xyl’s that I’ve heard yet) and our monthly outings are something I look forward to each month. The Yahoo Group is a good source of information and laughs as we swap stories and share our adventures. If you like QRP and portable operation, this is the group to join.

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