After all of the work in getting my computer setup for field work again, I was itching to get outside. Easter Sunday presented a very nice opportunity. The weather was stunning. It was in the mid-50dF range with light breezes and perfectly blue skies. It was a great weekend in general and my wife and I had a great bike ride on Saturday. I decided that riding out to Cuyahoga Valley National Park – K-0020 was really the only way to follow up on the bike fun from Saturday. And we all know that ham radio and bikes go together like…uh…two great things that are fun to do together? Yeah! That!
When I arrived at the park, I got my gear out, drank some water, and went to set up my antenna. Suddenly, I was hit with the realization that my coax was…at home. I grabbed my phone and quickly called my wife. She’d been planning a hike at another park with the puppy. I asked if she’d be willing to alter her plans to hike out at CVNP instead and, as it turned out, she was amenable to the change in plans. This was an activation saver. I would have been really bummed if I had missed her.
She got there not too long after our call and I was able to get things set up and running. I was in such a rush that I didn’t extend my whip so I was trying to tune a 27″ piece of metal (and the associated feedline) to 20m. Hmm. That wasn’t going well. I noticed before too long and got things put right.
A bit of an aside…
The new OS and software worked brilliantly. I was able to get attached to my IC-705 as an access point and connect wfview instantly. WSJT-X worked right out of the box. Everything was as smooth as it could be. I just can’t stop smiling when I look at this new approach.
That said, I do have some things to learn (shocking!). My GPS wasn’t syncing the time. I found that I was about 1 second off from most of my contacts on WSJT-X. 1 second is fine. When you get to that 2 second mark, you start to miss exchanges. I like to keep my time nice and locked. I’ve done some digging and will share my findings later. Learning chronyc and all of the bits and pieces associated with gpsd and pps is indeed The Linux Experience. So there will be notes and things posted here in the coming days as I sort it all out. I might have even pieced together how to use my Bluetooth GPS but we’ll do some experimenting before we call victory there. In any case, I have a line on a solution. I just need to knock it out.
I got my contacts on 20m as that was a hot band and I knew I could do it quickly. I still had to cook dinner and I didn’t want to push my luck any further with additional delays. I did jump to 15m for a moment and got a contact with Russia. I know that there have been a lot of weirdness with stations causing some QRM but the rest of the decodes were from that region. If I’d had more time, I would have stuck around to see how many more I could get from 5000 miles!
Here’s what it looked like on the QSO Map:
This was an activation that (re-)taught some lessons. First off, have a checklist. It’s amazing that I remembered to bring all of the other bits but forgot the feedline. Ouch! The other big lesson is that Linux is truly ready for a smooth field operation. This was an activation that sits in the sweet spot of my use case. I still have things to figure out and stuff to experiment with, but the basics are covered. And the more it’s used, the more facile I will become. I’m looking forward to feeling like I’m in charge of my computing situation again.
Thanks for reading! KC8JC out and clear.