QRP Picnic

With conditions ranging from awful to non-existent here’s something for QRP ops to do.new logo v

The Michigan QRP Club is holding its annual picnic on July 11. They get about 35 or so QRPers to attend and you’re invited 🙂

Check the Michigan QRP site for more info on this popular and fun event.

If you can’t make the drive, the guys have a Tuesday night net on 3535 kHz at 9pm ET.

Homestyle QRP Field Day

What do you do when you hold a Field Day organization meeting in May and you’re the only one who bothers to show up?IMG_0004

The answer is you hold a one-person Field Day effort from your front porch.

Why the front porch you might ask?

Note in the photo the wet pavement on the right side. Here in southern Ontario we got unrelenting rain, high winds and unseasonably cold weather.

About the only thing that was missing was a plague of frogs. Oh yeah the propagation forecasts predicted rotten conditions with a possibility of solar flares. Lovely.273313314

So with our local club Field Day in disarray, I decided at the last minute (after checking the bands on the Drake 2B and finding some signals) to launch a one-person QRP effort using the Par Mountain Topper tri-band QRP rig and the PAR end-fed QRP 40/20/10 wire antenna.

(Editor’s Note: Got a nice email this morning from the good folks at PAR who remind me they call their antennas PAR Endfedz and said they are coming out with a new 20/30/40 antenna to be called the PAR Endfedz EF-MTR to match their LNR Mountain Topper. Super news!)

Using a throw bag it took 10 seconds to get the Par end-feed antenna up about 30 feet in a front yard pine tree. The end with the feed point was only about eight feet up and I connected a 25-foot section of coax. The SWR on both bands was under 1:1.5 at four watts out of the Mountain Topper.IMG_0012

The Mountain Topper is a fully built QRP rig that runs 2 to 5 watts (or so) depending on the battery. It can operate quite nicely from 6- to 12-volt batteries and can even run for a few hours using a 9-volt battery or small AA battery pack. I used a 12-volt gel-cell which was a bit of overkill.

My YouKits DP-1 QRP watt and SWR meter has a big built-in rechargeable battery which I could have used to power the rig for 24 hours and would have made the simple setup even simpler.

The rig has a built-in memory keyer (although I used the Idiom Press memory keyer as it was easier to just plug into the rig which automatically recognized the mono input and disabled its own keyer) and covers the CW portion of 40, 30 and 20.

I wouldn’t have thought the rig would have enough filtering to run in a contest but the Mountain Topper did just fine in sorting out strong signals. Using its up and down keys to QSY a few kilocycles at a time, running QRP on Field Day was like shooting fish in barrel.

On 40 meters I worked easily out 400 to 500 miles and when 20 was open I was working into Florida and Texas. The rig is stable and simple to use. I can highly recommend it. BTW it can fit in a shirt pocket!IMG_0015

All told I logged 74 Qs and the only reason I quit was I couldn’t get warm or dry enough to continue.

There weren’t too many QSOs where I was asked for a repeat but almost every time I sent “GTA” as my ARRL section there was a long pause and occasionally query. Whoever thought that GTA would make a great section name (the other sections in Ontario are ONN – where there are like two guys, ONS and ONE) should get a visit from the Wouff-Hong. GTA is just awful as a section name. How about ONC? wouff-hong

I’ve advocated a QRP Field Day for a long time but I kept running into opposition so this year’s solo effort shows it can be done.

I’d love to use a KX3 or K3s on CW and maybe the same rig on SSB at 5 watts The Flex 1500 would work as well. Par has a new SSB/CW rig (LD-5) that I’d like to try.

For antennas I’d say a decent all-band dipole or the Par end-feds (They just work!) and an 80-meter dipole for CW plus a two- or three-element beam for the SSB station. The simpler the better when it comes to contesting and I’d bet we’d do very very well but we’d need some folks to show up for the organization meeting in May 🙂

Maybe next year…

Hams at Farmer’s Market

Ham Radio was at the Farmer’s Market and cultural festivities at Centennial Square at the main library on Navy Street in Oakville.DSCF6354

I ran a NorCal 20 with the AlexLoop and we could easily hear Europe in the morning and I even worked one guy in Rome, GA later in the day.

We had quite few folks stop to ask about Amateur Radio and I had a few handouts about the club which I gave out.

I ran an external speaker from the NorCal so the sound of CW wafted over the market.

I was thinking of showing digital modes but a laptop in bright sunlight isn’t something that’s easy to see so kept the new laptop (Lenovo ThinkPad bought at Dave’s shop on Kerr Street north of Speers on Friday. BTW it runs the Flexradios easily at home!) in the bag.

I would be nice if we had some more guys there to work the equipment and answer questions as we’ve got two more dates when we can setup our display. Also Aug. 1 and 2 we’ve been invited to demonstrate Amateur Radio at the Maker Fair at Toronto’s Reference Library on Yonge Stree.