Sunday, 26 September 2010

Parrotts Bay Portable Ops

Sunday morning was pretty gloomy with clouds and rain in the forecast, but it wasn't that cold.  Eight of us met at the Parrotts Bay Picnic area on Hwy 33, just west of Amherstview, and set up our rigs and operated portable HF for 3.5 hours.

The Parrotts Bay picnic site is a very nice spot to operate. It's clean, has portable washrooms, and lots of space for parking. The bay is filling up with ducks as they get ready to move south for the winter, and while the water must be cooling down by now, there were some kayakers out on the bay taking in the start of the fall colours.

Don, VE3MNE, and I tried 20m at first, but it was full of RTTY traffic taking part in the CQ RTTY Worldwide Contest.  They were all over the band, so we quickly moved up to 40m were things were a little slower.

The Texas QSO Party was also on, but all our attempts to make contact with stations in Texas fell on deaf ears.  I guess our 50 watts just was not making it down there to that part of North America. 

Martin VA3AKY, Carl VE3DNR, and Dave VA3ORP worked on getting Martin's 20m dipole working.  It had been cut incorrectly and needed a major operation to get it tuned up and on the air.

Dave, who's into the No. 19 Radio Sets, got out his slide rule to figure the measurements out.....I haven't seen one of those things in....dare I say it....40 years!  Anyway, it did the job and Martin was soon up and running, making contacts.

Dave made a few 80m contacts with his "Blue Pill" vertical antenna, including checking into Ontars with a stunning 5 watts on his FT-817.  QRP Rules! 

Bill, VA3WOW, our DEC for Loyalist ARES District also drove from Belleville to join us for the morning.  He also helped in the antenna reconstruction, and we had a good chat about "all things ARES".

As I normally use my Buddipole in the vertical mode, I recently bought three extra kite winders from Buddipole in California to use for my radials.  That brings my "collection" of them to five, so I've decided that I am going to cut some radials - 2 per band - and have a single kite winder for each length ready to go in my go-box.  I think this will cut down on the messing around measuring out the radials using my current system.....we'll see how it goes anyway.

All in all, it was a very pleasant fall day to be outside in the fresh air playing radio.


  1. Looks like you had a lot of fun!

    73 de VE3OIJ

  2. Cool.

    Odd that 50W wasn't being heard by any stations in Texas.

    Looks like fun.


  3. Great pictures of the adventure and looks like the weather held up well for you guys.