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WD4ELG QRP-in-the-field adventures, session #2

Discussion in 'QRP Corner' started by WD4ELG, Apr 4, 2021.

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  1. WD4ELG

    WD4ELG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Objectives:
    • Test out new ZM-2 antenna tuner, improvements maybe from session 1
    • Try out random wire antenna with counterpoise (new antenna type for me)
    • Test my arbor line throwing skills in the field
    • Make a few QSO's; have some fun, learn some things
    Conditions/gear:
    • 76F, sunny and windy; Haw River State Park (not a POTA activation per set)
    • FT-817ND with CW filter and BHI DSP module, Palm paddle
    • BioEnno LiFePO4 5 AH battery
    • Emtech ZM-2 tuner
    • 58 feet of landscaping electrical wire for radiator (acceptable length according to several articles)
    • 17 feet of landscaping electrical wire for counterpoise
    • Par EndFedz 20 meter EFHA
    • Arbor's weight and 100 feet of line
    Steps taken:
    • Managed to get the arbor line over a 30 feet tree on first try, and raised the 58 foot radiator
    • Discovered that I somehow forgot to bring the ZM-2 tuner; too bad because I had everything but the kitchen sink in my go-bag
    • Raised the 20 meter EFHW
    Results:
    • I saw that my new 20m EFHW was a bit too long (SWR was high above the CW segment); too bad I had no wire cutters, so I used a rock to cut the antenna wire (that was quite a workout, that is some strong weaved antenna wire!)
    • Made three QSO's on 20: HA3NU (CW), HA5TM (SSB), HI3MRV (SSB). No US stations heard my signal, although I called several of them. The 20 meter band was mostly quiet, but the EU DX signals were strong (I also heard but did not work HB9, DJ7, I0)
    Conclusions:
    • Even without a 1:1 SWR (the FT-817ND was showing some SWR, but it's not exact) I was able to make some QSO's so the EFHW is a good option as far as field antennas go (no surprise). Not sure why I can't get 1:1 even after pruning it...maybe the specific installation.
    • My go-bag had a ton of stuff in it (10 pounds), which is not a bad thing since I only had to walk 100 yards from the parking lot. Until I refine and learn some more and complete additional experiments, I probably won't lighten the bag much.
    • I should start making checklists so I don't forget.
    • The FT-817ND audio was not harsh this time...maybe I have some RF sources at my home QTH from Session #1 that were not present for this session. I had no problems listening to the quiet band without any "roaring" sound.
    • I'm struggling to picture carrying an IC-705 into this scenario. Do I want to drag my $1200 high-end radio to a park? I don't really need a bandscope or digital modes for these outings (that would be a different use-case to have a tablet with me for digital modes or satellite). Honestly, it's a lot of fun to "tune the dial" and make CW and SSB QSO's...fun that I had forgotten about. Between that and the QRP challenge, I am re-igniting some serious excitement!
    Recommendations:
    • I need to come back to this QTH because it's close to home, not crowded, quiet, and there's a food store where I can grab an adult beverage after my outing.
    • I need to register for POTA and activate this park; it's a small state park, I doubt if anyone has activated it much.
    • Next time, I will experiment with the random wire antenna to see how it does.
    Photos:
    • The pruned section of the EFHW and the rock I used to cut it (and cut my finger LOL)
    • Setup for Session #2
    upload_2021-4-4_18-31-39.png

    upload_2021-4-4_18-32-16.png
     
    K7WFM, KE8OKM and W4ZNG like this.
  2. W4ZNG

    W4ZNG XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    The very best part:
    >>>I saw that my new 20m EFHW was a bit too long (SWR was high above the CW segment); too bad I had no wire cutters, so I used a rock to cut the antenna wire <<<

    Real Hams adjust for better SWR with rocks! Outdoor operating at its finest.
     
    K7WFM likes this.
  3. KI4POT

    KI4POT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Could be common mode currents on your coax. I had the multi-band version of that antenna years ago and my 817 would show highish SWR in some situations. I also had a QRPGuys No-Tune EFHW that did the same thing. Try putting a choke on your coax about 3' down from the feedpoint.

    You'll figure out what works and what doesn't after a few trips. Until you go to a new location and decide to pack the kitchen sink again "just in case". :)

    BTW, before I sold off my 817, I had my portable HF kit pared down to the radio and mic, an EFHW SOTA Tuner from QRPKits, 80' of 26awg wire on a chalk reel, a 17' counterpoise, and either a Bioenno 4.5ah battery or 8 AAs for the internal battery tray (that would usually last long enough for a single SOTA activation). With the KX2, I just have 54' of wire for the radiator, 17' for the counterpoise, a sony earbud set with mic, and the radio. I might toss in the MFJ-1820t antenna if there's a risk of no trees or I'm primarily operating on VHF and want HF along "just in case".

    Sounds plausible. I have similar issues with my radios at home vs in the field, especially when I'm far away from civilization.

    Welcome to the wide wonderful world of portable operating. :)

    Chris
     

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