With a couple of failed activation attempts behind me, I decided to turn my park trips into experiments. Last week, I tried a different approach to my Jeep mounted MP1. That didn’t really do much for me. So this time out, I was going to ditch the MP1 and head out into a field so I could toss my end fed dipole into a tree.
The weather was set to hit the mid to upper 60sF mark and I thought it would be a great time to get outside and “Touch Some Grass” so to speak. I packed up a minimal set of gear and asked The Mighty Nacho if he wanted to go with me. He certainly did! He loves going to the park and even though his leg is a bit of a pain for him, he does enjoy a nice, much-shorter-than-he-used-to, walk around the park.
We got to West Branch State Park (K-1999) at about 10AM. The spot I picked was at the boat launch near the water (why would you launch a boat anywhere else?) at a picnic table. It was still in the 40sF when I got there. Nacho took up a defensive position to scare off the geese that were encroaching on our territory. I’m proud to report that he sent them scurrying off back to Canada! Maybe.
It only took me 3 tosses to get my line up in the tree and deploy the antenna. I do need to practice a little more with the arborists line so that I can look less dumb if there are people around. Luckily for me, no one saw me almost bean myself with the weight on a return bounce off of a branch. In any case, the line went up, the antenna followed, and we were ready to go.
The Endfedz EFT-10/20/40 is perfectly tuned for 40m. My IC-705 registers 1:1 at 40m, just over that for 20m, and a smidge over that for 10m. It is, for all intents and purposes, perfectly tuned for my application. With everything in place, I went out on FT8 at 20m and got two contacts almost right away. Things were looking pretty good. But there was a bit of a lull and I was clearly being overlooked, so I went over to 10m for giggles.
Within a minute, I had my first ever contact on 10m and my first ever contact with a station reporting from Honduras. That was pretty exciting coming from a picnic table in Ohio. It did seem that my new friend was the only person I could hear or be heard by on 10m, so I kicked over to 40m and FT4. Then to FT8. By the time I hit the hour mark, I was up to 10 contacts and I was feeling pretty good about it. Nacho was looking like he was done resting under the picnic table, so I decided to pack it in.
When I got home, I took a look at where I’d been heard and it was quite impressive for 5 watts and a wire in a tree.
What did I learn? I think I’ve come to the end of my time with the MP1 for now. I’m going to focus on the end fed for my next few trips out as it seems to really hit the mark. I also learned that I can really trim down when it comes to equipment. This is something I’ve been focusing on because of QRPer.com and the outings detailed there. With each trip, I keep a list of what I took along and what I actually used. I’m beginning to peel away at the delta there and figure out what really needs to be in place for a successful field operation. Sure, I like a certain amount of redundancy, but even in the case where something failed, it would still be a nice day at the park. The biggest reason to pare down is to focus on the gear that I do take and not drown in options when something doesn’t go perfectly on the third or fourth swing. Limitations can be a good way to enforce some patience.
What will I do next? I plan to try another activation. Next time, I will try to fire off a Winlink email from the field. I will assume grid down and not use any internet assistance for finding a channel/station. That means my next trip has two objectives and that’s likely more than enough, so there will be no changes to the station.
I’ve got to say, it’s nice to set out and achieve something like an activation of a park. Maybe it’s not earth shattering, but it’s something I can say that I did.
- KF5NQV – EM15
- KF9JF – EL98
- HR5/F2JD – Reportedly out of Honduras!
- KD8CHP – EM89
- N4RRW – EM56
- VE2DA – FN35
- AC9HP – EM69
- WA9TT – EN54
- AG4JO – EM74
- VE3CCD – FN04
- KJ4MCT – EM96
- KC9IWZ – EN60