Thursday, 30 April 2015

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Some New Toys .....

Received a couple of new toys today from Buddipole to add to my private stock of their parts.

I ordered the mini-coil which is perfect for use with the large collapsible whips and I also ordered the five section rigid shock-corded adjustable whip.  This whip extends from 22" to 142", and allows you to operate on 10m to 17m by itself, no coils or additional arms.  It will also cover 20m with the addition of two-22" arms.

When I use the Buddipole I very rarely ever use it as a dipole...with the exception of 10m, where it works very well, normally I use it in the vertical mode, so this one whip will allow me to pack just one whip and two arms and operate from 10m to 20m.  Bonus!!!

I have had great success over the last 10 years working all kinds of DX with my Buddipole system.  I've slowly added a lot of extra parts to the basic kit I originally bought, so it's a good job the XYL doesn't look in the shack closet very often.

You know, the only problem getting new toys like this is trying to find the time to play and experiment with them.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Busy Weekend.....

What a great weekend for the QRP to the Field event!  There were lots of QRP stations calling CQ, more on CW than per usual, but they were out there!   I managed to put 31 in my logbook this weekend, not including the SOTA contacts I made as well.

Our weather this weekend was on the cool side, and it did in fact rain just a little.  Over all though I won't didn't snow!

The IC-703 and my Buddipole are a winning combination it seems.  There are more Buddipole parts on the way and should be here this week......and my radio club has an island activation coming up soon, so talk about good timing!

There seemed to be a good number of SOTA activations going on in North America this weekend as well, and I did manage to put 44 activator points in my log.

Unfortunately some collective efforts to get a VE3 SOTA Association up and running over the past three years have fell foul of the SOTA management team rules about only allowing peaks that are a minimum of a 150m prominence to qualify.  We don't have too may of them here, it's true that there are a good number north of Sault Ste Marie and Thunder Bay, but around where the main ham population lives in Ontario there are none.  So all we can do is chase those guys who can activate summits in their part of the world.

It's really great to see the rise in both QRP and SOTA activity on the airwaves, and hopefully it will continue as we slide down into another solar minimum.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Not Much Contest Activity

It was a pretty quiet weekend for the Ontario QSO Party.  Saturday most of the SSB activity was between 7.060 and 7.099 and stayed there until evening and then it moved to 80m around 3.730, but to be very honest I didn't hear too many stations calling for the QSO Party.

There was lots of traffic calling for the Michigan and Nebraska QSO Parties so it wasn't like the bands were in bad condition.  Saturday afternoon the SFI was: SFI-148.  SN-93. A Index-25, and K Index-2, in fact those numbers never changed all weekend.

I did manage to find a few contacts on 20m on Sunday before the contest finished but it was pretty hard slogging most of the weekend.  There was a bright spot though.....I did work VA3QV on Saturday evening!  Yes, the ever elusive Bobster is in the log once again.   For the Ontario QSO Party I managed to put a dismal total of 26 stations in the log.

The IC-703 performed as advertised and I had many good signal reports over the weekend.  Obviously the punch of the 703 and the height of my dipole is a winning combination, I think I'll leave everything as they are as I've tweaked everything as much as I can.

In between hunting elusive VE3's I also spent some time hunting SOTA activations using the SOTA Watch website (HERE), and I managed to snag three USA activations over the afternoon.   It was a lot of fun working those guys and I actually had QSO's with them, not just a quick "59, Thanks, QRZ?"

I also worked four DX stations on Sunday afternoon, R120RM in Moscow, S57V in Slovenia, J79MM in Dominica, and AO2015WRD in Spain.   Not too bad for a QRP station.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

QRP To The Field

Coming up on Saturday, April 25th, is this years edition of QRP to the Field.  I always enjoy this event although I don't always submit my results.

This is one of the very few QRP events that has a SSB category so the IC-703 will be getting another workout this month.  It's funny as I was talking about selling the radio but I find I'm using it more and more these days, so it's off the market.

The event also includes the use of local SOTA Summits......which we don't have in VE3 Land, but it's still a great excuse to head out and operate portable from you favourite park bench in some little park.

SSB Frequencies to use are: 3.985, 7.285, 14.285, 21.385, and 28.885.

This event runs from 0900 to 1800 EDT......hope to work you on the bands that day.....and that means you too QV !!

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Ontario QSO Party 2015

Coming up next weekend is the Ontario QSO Party.  The airways should be alive with VE3 and VA3 stations calling CQ.

I hope the propagation will be better than we have had over the past week otherwise we're in for a pretty slow and dismal weekend.

The rules for this event can be found HERE.

I had the IC-703 out today checking it out as I will be doing the contest as a QRP station using my VE3FCT callsign and handing out contacts from the "very rare" Frontenac County.  Not sure if I will operate portable or stick around the shack, I'm leaning to operate portable, but not sure where I should do that from.

Hope to work some of you guys next weekend............perhaps even that VA3QV character!!

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Update on the W3EDP Antenna.......

A few years ago I wrote a blog entry on the W3EDP Antenna (HERE).  That article seems to be one of the more popular ones I have posted according to the stats for this blog.  The W3EDP is a good multi-band antenna that gets a bad rap from some sources, but it doesn’t deserve it at all.

Recently while surfing the net I can across a couple of articles written by Fred Benson, NC4FB, about some experiments he had conducted using the W3EDP antenna.  Knowing how popular this antenna is with the portable operators in Eastern Ontario, I had a good read of them.


There is some interesting information in those articles and I decided to experiment on my own.  I build my first W3EDP several years ago, and have used it mainly for Winter Field Day and Chillycon, places I want to get a working antenna up fast.

I chose to try the twin radial version, one radial of 33’ that is put in line for use on 80m and 40m, and a 17’ radial that is used for 20m to 6m.  Only one radial at a time is used.  Used with a 4:1 balun with these radials the antenna works like a charm.  I’ve also tried it with a 9:1 balun with success as well.  I’m going to use my analyser and record the difference between the two different baluns, and I will post that information here.

This antenna can be set up in any fashion that you like, inverted L, inverted V, sloper, or as a flat top, it works very well in any configuration.   It’s definitely worth while building and having in your antenna arsenal.

Another good article can be found HERE

More real experimentation is needed on this antenna.  Once the weather warms up I can get back at this..........hopefully next weekend!