My wife and I have been big on the cycling thing since we acquired our new bikes. Since the previous weekend’s trip to Cuyahoga Valley National Park [K-0020] was so much fun, we decided to do it again. But this time, we would hit a less traveled area where I’d never been. The ride was GREAT!
When we arrived at our destination, there were no shady spots for an activation. This was a concern as it was getting close to high noon and was a bit warm. So we pedaled back to another picnic area that was in the tree cover. It was much more comfortable there. I got my gear out and set up. Then…tragedy!
OK. Not tragedy. My mAT-705 tuner just flat out failed. The IC-705 couldn’t detect it. It wasn’t a cable issue (I bring extras). The thing just didn’t work. It was tuned to 20m and I was getting a great SWR there, but the bands were absolute garbage. I got two contacts and called it quits.
The ride home was still amazing! A day on the bike is never wasted!
Upon arriving home, I ordered the modern version of the tuner. Look, the ICOM tuner is overkill in terms of size. I know it’s great, but it’s also the same size as the rig. And I know that my LDG tuner in my shack is amazing and a comperable unit for the field would be wonderful! But also, size. I got the new mAT-705plus and charged it up.
Oh, and I will throw the old one on the bench and screw around with it when we hit dark winter. I don’t want to waste a good piece of gear that can be repaired, but time is precious as we hit October in NE Ohio. I need to be outside while I can.
Have I mentioned that being about half an hour from DX Engineering is a blessing (and a curse)? It’s just TOO easy to order gear for pickup and have them bring it to the Jeep.
The next day, I decided to try Tinkers Creek again [K-1997]. I didn’t ride as there’s not a great way to get there on a bike. Well, not that I’ve found…yet. I got set up on my favorite picnic table near the water. I had to sit with my back to the ducks and it was fun to hear them bob for food. Just that silly “plop” now and again in an otherwise silent park is wonderful.
The mAT-705plus tuned up FAST. And the bands must have been much better as I got 11 contacts VERY quickly. I called it a day at 16.
On this trip, I had the new tuner and another new piece of gear that I picked up. I’m a huge fan of removing cables from my setup. I tried a bluetooth GPS puck from an online retailer for keeping the Surface’s time in sync and the unit was of marginal quality. It didn’t like to pair and was more trouble than it was worth in the field. After a couple of months, I decided to grab the Garmin GLO 2 GPS. It’s aimed at mobile devices, so the Surface Go 2 seemed like a good fit. I power it up, the Surface finds it, and I’m ready to set my time and grid square. Really, really simple. And no cables! Yet another lesson in the You Get What You Pay For With Electronic Devices Sometimes department.
I really have gotten out of the habit of taking pictures on my activations and I’m going to do better with that from here on out. I just try to get it set up and torn down as fast as I can. Sort of a practice exercise of sorts.