Mobile DXing can be fun
Mike DiPersio, KC2Q
I'm not sure if there is an award for DXCC/M (mobile), if there is, I'm not aware of it. If there is not, then there should be. At any rate I have been HF mobiling for about 25 years now and enjoying it very much. I have had many different size HF rigs in the mobile from Yaesu FT101's to Kenwood TS130 to Icom IC730 to the IC735, this last one for about 10 years - now I'm with something even smaller yet, the Icom IC706 MKIIG. As a single unit it's small enough to locate on or near the dash area when I owned a Toyota Camry, since replaced with a Dodge Caravan. But when you take the removable head and just place that somewhere on the dash, (velcro works good) the body of the radio can be placed under a seat somewhere or in the trunk, it becomes a stealth radio, practically invisible.
The antenna can be from a number of different sources. After trying many, I chose Hustler, a 40 or 20 or 10-meter resonator on a 54 inch mast works really good, but having to stop to change resonators every time I wish to change bands does get to be a bore (I band hop a lot!). So I tried their multiband adapter. It worked fair, but not great.
That's when I designed my own adapter about 20 years ago. It is in a 90-degree format with one resonator forward into the wind and the other two swept back for lower wind resistance, all horizontal, and one resonator holding this assembly in place, allowing four, not three, bands plus the 54 inch mast which gives me 6 Meters. The horizontal resonators act as a ground plane to the vertical, and the vertical resonator and the mast do much the same for the other bands, plus I now have the benefit of any of five bands to go to with just the touch of the band switch on the rig. No stopping, no changing resonators, etc. Eventually I made it out of stainless steel rather than aluminum - keeping the coefficient of metals similar.
I find that the quadband or multiband antenna adapter as I call it, gives me a 58% increase in reception as well as transmit when the assembly is together instead of working the resonators individually as a monoband. I prune each resonator individually before I put them into the assembly. Then I fine tune each resonator, starting with the highest frequency in use working my way down to the 40-meter or 75-meter resonator. An SWR of 1:1.5 can be achieved on 10, 12, 15, 17 and 20 Meters almost across all the amateur portions of each of these bands. 40 Meters normally gives me approximately 20 kc above and below the resonant frequency when used as a mono. However, when in the assembly it becomes a little wider, 3040 kc above and below the resonant frequency (usually 7.255). I have done very little with 75 Meters, therefore I can't comment on that band. Iÿ have been making these adapters for close friends and club members over the years. I have however, been told by others that 75 or 80 Meters works similar to the 40meter resonator but with a higher "Q" - only 1020 kc above and below the resonant frequency.
It's true, it can be somewhat of a package, (four resonators plus SS Adaptor) but with a 40 or 50 lb. test monofilament fishing line to prevent the antenna from leaning back, it works ok. I can be traveling on the Florida Turnpike at 70+ mph with no problems.
Once I reach my destination, and would like to operate from the base, I simply remove the mast, which is on a quick disconnect, and place it on a ball mount already mounted on a 10-inch diameter by 5-inch high cake tin. I have wires in the length for 10, 20 and 40-meter dipole style, connected to the cake tin to act as a ground, taking the place of the vehicle.
This base assembly works very similar to the way it does on the car. If it's on a roof of the building somewhere or in the field, use some more fishing line as guys to keep it from blowing over. In my case I put the antenna on the balcony of the condo rental in Key West, FL supported by a "bungee" chord with a plastic wastebasket as a spacer from the metal railing.
The IC706 MKIIG sits very comfortable atop a switching power supply (very light in weight) 12 volts 20 amps. I also field tested a 12volt power booster; it's like a car battery but somewhat lighter, with a handle and rechargeable. Worked great. Good for jump starting other cars as well.
In the three weeks of my trip I worked a schedule on 14.305 daily from 1300Z to 1500Z and again from 2000Z to 2200Z with many Hams who join in on the 305 group from areas in NJ, NC, AZ, TN,NY and many other states like IL, NV, OH, TX, NE as well as stations from other parts of the world - YJlPD,VK3JBH, NH6IG, 5B4/ RW3GW, HR6/AH6PN, EA3EVR, SP9LJD, and P43E.
All of these contacts, as well as many more from outside this three week period of driving to and from Florida, have been worked with only the 100 watts the IC706 has to offer. Most of the signal reports were 59 and 59 + both to me and from me, from the mobile or the portable setup on the balcony.
I have enjoyed this trip and you could also. Mobile HF or just DXing is really a lot of fun. However, the logging can become a little difficult, but with a small tape recorder to log the calls, times, frequencies, names etc. or a copilot to log for you, can make it pretty safe.
Good luck and happy mobiling.
Reprinted from WORLDRADIO
International Lighthouse Weekend
B.Peter Treml, K8PT & Bruce Anderson, KG8YT
In March of 2000 I completed my first DXpedition (MJ/K8PT). It was a wonderful experience and I wanted all the members of the Hiawatha Amateur Radio Association (my local club) to experience the rush of a different culture, exotic operating site, and working pileups. I wanted an experience that would hone our operating skills and excite the newer members and encourage them in HF and CW. How could we accomplish this goal , though, without the expense and effort of launching our own DXpedition?
Our answer: International Lighthouse Weekend. As residents living in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (were referred to as Yoopers) we are privileged to live on the shoreline of Lake Superior, the largest, deepest, cleanest and coldest of all the Great lakes. It also has several lighthouses within driving distance.
I had run across the web site of the Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society (www.waterw.com/~weidner/arls.htm) and found out that the 2000 International Lighthouse weekend would be 18/19 August. It was not a contest but a time to honor the tradition of lighthouses, publicize the role they and the Coast Guard play in promoting safety at sea, and promote interest in Ham radio and the preservation of navigational aids. Last year's (1999) International Lighthouse/Lightship weekend had included over 218 lighthouses/lightships in 39 countries from around the world, and many on-the-air participants. In the year 2000 they were hoping to activate 400 lighthouses and lightships. Why couldn't we be one of them?
After talking with several club members who seemed excited about the idea, I then wrote a letter to the local Coast Guard commander explaining the concept and requesting permission to occupy the lighthouse and operate for the weekend. Two weeks later I got an enthusiastic "yes." We were in business!
A week before the event, several club members and I took a site survey and tour of the lighthouse. The site was a Ham's dream. We were surrounded by a scenic expanse of water on three sides, and we had lots of room to put up antennas. We planned our antenna placement and operating set-up and made provisions to bring our own radio equipment, food, water, tables, and chairs.
All of a sudden the big day was upon us. On that Friday afternoon a small crew of us gathered at the lighthouse to set up the antennas and install the radios. We put up a 3-element beam at 15 feet (about 35 above the water) and an R-5 vertical on top of the light. We also strung out a G5RV and a 135-foot dipole fed with ladder line. Since the club owns two Kenwood TS-570's we set one up for CW and the other for SSB. We were ready.
At 8 p.m., the designated start time, we had about six club members on hand who started operating and we continued through the night. We worked some at a rapid rate and for others we answered questions about the lighthouse, our club and the area. Simply making the maximum numbers of contacts was not the goal. As dawn rose we got some beautiful photographic shots of the sunrise and of the lighthouse. Since we wanted an attractive picture of the lighthouse on the front of our special "W8L" QSL card, cameras were clicking rapidly for the honor of getting the BEST shot.
We continued operating throughout the 48 hours, during which we had about thirty club members participate. Three operators new to HF really got hooked, and we almost had to wrench the microphones out of their hands for the next shift. All told, we made 1,089 contacts. They included 45 states, 53 countries and 27 lighthouses or lightships. We were elated.
Although the Marquette Lighthouse is a fixture on the local landscape, many of the club members had never been in it, even though they had lived in the area for years. For them, the tour of the building and light were an added treat. What more could any Ham ask? Good band conditions, plentiful DX, and a spectacular vista of sailboats, kayakers, and the sparkling open water of Lake Superior - Ham radio just doesn't get any better.
When the contest was over, twelve members helped to break down. We had everything packed up and the lighthouse cleaned and vacuumed in forty-two minutes. Since we hoped to be able to come back next year, we wanted things looking better than when we came. After we had taken final pictures and extended a final "thank-you" to the Coast Guard, the weekend of operating was over. All that was left to deal with now was the inevitable deluge of QSL cards to be answered.
Do you have a lighthouse or lightship in your area? If so, consider sharing in the fun of next year's Lighthouse Weekend. This event makes a wonderful club activity and a wonderful weekend. It can hone the operating skills of your members and ignite the enthusiasm of others for Amateur Radio. Give it a try. Ahoy!
Reprinted from WORLDRADIO
GRUMMAN AMATEUR RADIO CLUB
MINUTES OF GENERAL MEETING – 12/17/03
By Pete, N2PYV
The meeting was called to order by Pat at 5:37 p.m.
All present introduced themselves.
Pat announced that an ARRL Antenna Handbook would be raffled off during the meeting.
Finances continue to be in good shape.
REPEATER REPORT –
Gordon reported that the attenuators have been received. One was installed and the repeater seemed to be working OK, but still had the "crackles". Soon after the installation, Gordon received a phone call from the Plant 14 NGC people stating that we would have to shut down the repeater while they performed some antenna tests. It is not clear when we will be allowed to put the repeater back on the air. Until it is up and running we will use Simplex on the Bethpage portion of the Thursday Evening 2-Meter Net.
NET REPORT –
The Sunday 40-Meter Net was excellent. Several members had a CW net after the regular net. The Thursday Night 2-Meter Net was good. Propagation has been poor on the Wednesday 20-Meter Net.
VE REPORT –
There were two applicants and four VEs present. One upgraded to General and the other became a new Technician.
WAG REPORT –
Bob, W2ILP, reminded everyone that the Ham Radio University will be held for the fifth year at the Eastwood School in Oyster Bay Cove on January 18, 2004. Marty, NN2C, Pat, KE2LJ, and Bob, W2ILP, have been active in the preparations for the HRU.
We had our annual Holiday Party. Thanks to Bill, N2SFT, for making the arrangements for the food.