This was supposed to be a quick trip out to Wingfoot Lake State Park (K-3516). The variables for this operation were narrowed to simply making 10 FT8/FT4 contacts. I will lead with this: yet again, I got 8 contacts. This time, I was out there for about 2 hours working on 20m. The bands were jam packed. It’s not the best time to be working QRP. My dad (AC8NT) always seems to call me while I’m operating portable, so I had him check PSK Reporter and sure enough, I was getting out. Maybe it was a case of no one coming back or me not hearing anyone who was coming back. Or…it’s the MP1.
Successes: I got a camera mount with a vise grip that allowed me to mount the IC-705 on the grab bar in front of the passenger’s seat of the Jeep. This cleaned up the operation significantly! Not expensive and very effective. That was great! I was also able to figure out that Windows was screwing with me by changing the audio output level of my audio signal, so after 15 minutes of messing around, I was transmitting at full power. Yet another note to self: triple check the Windows volume levels.
Failures: Contacts. I just didn’t get them. I think the MP1 isn’t doing what I need it to do. I have had success with it in the past so I’m not sure what has changed. This sets the stage for me to start using the end-fed as my go-to antenna for field work.
Next Steps: I don’t love tossing a line in a tree at a park, but it’s likely to get me where I want to be. The end-fed takes a lot less time to deploy and is lighter, so moving around is less of an issue. My next trip out (if I’m able to get out next Saturday) looks like it will be warm enough (not in the 20F range) to spend a little time outdoors and not moving a lot.
Also, I need to take some pictures and enjoy my time a little more. I think I’m getting my gear dialed in enough so that the setup is quick. We’ll see how much an antenna change alters that, but more pictures and better descriptions are required.