|Polar Bear Moonlight Madness
November 14, 2009
Craig LaBarge, WB3GCK
I was overdue for participating in a Polar Bear Moonlight Madness (PBMME) event. I hadn't really done much advance planning so, I decided to keep things simple and drove over to Charlestown Park. The park is located in Charlestown Township, PA, just outside of Phoenixville, a few miles from home. Since it was raining, I decided to operate from the truck.
Once I was on site, I cobbled together an antenna that didn't require any thing to support it other than my truck. I used one conductor from a 25-foot roll of cheap speaker wire from the local dollar store and supported it from a 28-foot Jackite fiberglass pole. The pole was supported by my homebrew "roll-on" antenna support. I had to splice on an extra 12 inches or so, in order to reach my 4:1 balun. The other terminal of the balun was attached to the body of the truck as a counterpoise. From the balun, I ran a piece of RG-8X coax into the cab of the truck, where it was connected to an LDG Z-817 auto tuner. To my surprise, this kludge of an antenna loaded up nicely on 40, 30 and 20 meters. I don't normally like to "force feed" an antenna like this but, what the heck; it seemed to work OK. Plus, I could operate from inside the truck, where it was nice and dry. The rig was a Yaesu FT-817 running 5 watts and powered from a gel cell battery.
Here are the stations I worked:
40M: K2OGT (NY), WA8REI (PB #21 in MI), W9JVC (IL)
It was a lot of fun getting out and playing radio for a couple of hours today. I also stumbled on an antenna configuration that I can put on the air in a few minutes. Not a bad day... even with the rain!
Passenger seat operating position