This morning represents my first QRP group outing in almost one year. One year and one week ago Steve, KF5RYI, and I were on the Joe Pool lake dam operating HF pedestrian mobile and having to explain what “agency” we were working with to the Army corp of engineers who administer the dam complex. The only way it could have been better is if we had slung M4’s over our shoulders.
Today’s outing was much more innocuous, setting up in Rotary Park in Duncanville, Texas which is located pretty much due center for all of our QTH’s. We said the last time that we operated at this particular park that we would make this activity a monthly thing. We failed last time so we are trying again. I remembered to bring the GoPro along, something that I have said I needed to do on a number of previous operations. This time I succeeded and will try to tell part of this story in pictures.
Fred, N5VDQ, received his Elecraft KX2 this week and he was anxious to try it out with one of his portable loaded whips. Fred is very active with NPOTA so this rig will make a fine addition to his field kit. Steve and I were using Elecraft KX3’s, with Steve using an end fed half-wave wire with a counterpoise. Steve has connectors on the wire to change bands and maintain true half-wave lengths on the bands of interest. For my antenna, I was thinking big and relatively simple with an unterminated V-beam. I’ve had very good success with this antenna in the past and while time and space limited the actual length of each wire to about 120 feet with a 45-degree angle, the antenna was a very good performer. While I had built terminations for each leg, time dictated that I keep it simple and digging out ground rods was not in the cards today. I was not, however, disappointed with the unterminated performance.
Running five-watts to a generally North-pointing antenna, I worked about 25 CW stations in the IARU HF World Championship on 20 and 40 meters. The antenna worked well in spite of the low sunspot numbers (a few have finally popped up) and current G1 geomagnetic storm levels. I should also note that in nearly 30 years as a ham, today was the first time that I operated 6-meters. I was pleasantly surprised with the performance of the V-beam, which was really long enough to show very good gain on 6-meters. Reverse beacon network data shows some pretty surprising (to me!) signal levels:
Further review suggested that the receiving station on 6-meters was not too far away and definitely not in 7-land!
In addition to working a number of stations in the contest, I also took some measurements of my signal on 630-meters as WG2XIQ. Truth be told, I needed to make a video for my elmer space on Eric Guth’s, 4Z1UG, QSO’s Today community to explain a recent question. That video, posted to YouTube is included below.
Here is the video and explanation of the portable MF receive system: