Last week was big for my family. My wife and daughter were at camp while my son and I held down the fort and fed the dogs. With the ladies home safe and sound, and knowing that it was Support Your Parks Weekend, I angled for a time to get out to Cuyahoga Valley National Park – K-0020. That time didn’t really present itself until Sunday.
While at camp, my wife participated in a number of adult programs. One of them involves finding cairns on the trail system. I was able to entice her to join me by taking a non-human powered vehicle (she was exhausted from a week of near constant walking) and by playing up the placement of one of the cairns so close to The Octagon where I’d be operating. My scheme worked! She and the puppy joined me and took a little hike.
I set things up as I always do, but I did include a new piece of gear in my equasion. In the June issue of CQ magazine there is a rather lengthy article on configuring a wireless router. In this case, it was the TP-Link N300 Wireless Portable Nano Travel Router(TL-WR802N). The use case in the article was for DMR on the go. Not really my bag, but it didn’t present a solution to a problem I’ve had in the past.
I’ve gone on at length about syncing time for my tablet. There are a lot of ways to do it, but using the personal hotspot on my phone is a pretty slick way to do it. In a situation where there’s no cellular service, the phone still gives out time as the access point and I’ve seen it help my computer stay in sync. That’s really cool! But… I’m usually using the IC-705 in access point mode. This means connecting my tablet to the phone, syncing time, and connecting to the IC-705 again.
I thought I would be really cool to just point everything at my phone, but the iPhone doesn’t allow UDP. My level of frustration with that is high, but I get it. This little brick which is small in size and light on power conumption can act as the access point for the 705 and tablet while using the phone as it’s internet connection.
I’ve talked in the past about how I don’t have a ton of time for my hobby. The time I do have, I want to spend on the air. That means that setting things up and getting my station going needs to be the focus of any optimizations. Adding this router to the pile of kit meant plugging it in and standing back. It attached to my phone without intervention and both the tablet and IC-705 connected to it without being told. All of that happened while I was running out radials from the antenna. I shaved a couple of minutes off of my time by adding a brick that does a better job of what I need than my GPS dongle.
I don’t imagine that this provides nearly the service for a weekend POTA activation that it will when we’re out camping for a period of time. That’s where this little brick will truly shine. But field tests are necessary and this one went off without a hitch. I can see myself taking this along on my regular activations as a replacement for the GPS dongle I’ve run in the past.
I got my 10 contacts and not many pictures. I don’t think I was at the park for an hour. The humidity was really high, there was no breeze, and the sun was doing its thing while I sat at a table without shade. Not the best time of day to be doing an activation, but we do what we can with what we have, right?
Here’s what the QSOMap looks like:
One of those hits to NC was to another park. That means I hunted AND activated on the SYP weekend. Keeping my little streak alive.
Only two trips to the field in July so far. I really need to change that. I’m one park shy of the Silver Activator so I should probably take an evening and knock that out. The paper isn’t the point, but when I look at my stats it does stand out.
More activations and fun coming soon. 73 and thanks for reading!