Thursday, June 27, 2013

Summertime and the living is easy .......

The day started out hazy, warm and humid. As I parked my car at work this morning, I was able to see the haze just hanging in the air, against the dark background of the trees. According to Google, humidity at the time was 91% - almost like being in a shower.

This is the type of summer weather that you get accustomed to if you live in New Jersey for any extended period of time. While it is expected, it can make a Ham's life .... interesting, to say the least. Antennas are left disconnected, as you never know when a thunderstorm is going to pop up. And pop up they do, swiftly - and seemingly without a lot of warning. Just yesterday, we had two bouts - one near 4:00 PM and another around 7:00 PM, complete with lightning, thunder rumbles and heavy downpours. The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for just about all of New Jersey, effective until 10:00 PM tonight. Summer in NJ - you gotta love it!

This weather is also making my radial project interesting. Kneeling down on a wet lawn, in order to secure the wire to the earth is, well .... just so much fun. The bright side is that the grass will grow much quicker in these tropical conditions, and as a result, the green colored insulation will disappear into the lawn all that much faster. My wife will appreciate that.

Pickings were slim at lunchtime. There were many signals on 17 Meters. But it seemed like it was a case of either,

A) It was a new station and I wasn't being heard, or
B) It was a station that I had already worked before.

As a personal rule, I try to avoid working the same DX stations over and over on the same band. I would much rather someone else get the chance to put that particular DX station in their log for that band.

I did snare DL6ZXG, Klaus in Derenburg, Germany, receiving a 559 report. From his QRZ page, you can tell that Klaus is quite the active Ham. Not only does he hold 5BDXCC, and the ARRL's Triple Play WAS award, but he also has over 20,000 look ups on QRZ. That shows me that you're on the air a lot!

The lack of working a plethora of stations at lunch time gave me time to snap some photos of the setup, as requested. Nothing exotic or spectacular, which is a good thing. If I can have success with this arrangement, then you can too, with something similar.

Will I earn DX Honor Roll this way? No, of course not, but I will get more than my fair share of fun, and THAT'S the point, isn't it?

I must give credit where credit is due. Bob W3BBO gave me the idea of using my Buddistick on the car this way. Up until then, I had been deploying the Buddistick in a much more "conventional" manner. Bob clued me in about using the car as an enhanced ground plane, and let me tell you - this arrangement makes the Buddistick soar! (That's a W3FFism!) I had never thought of this on my own (duh!) and I will forever be indebted to Bob for his "out of the box" thinking. This works so much better than individual Hamsticks.


Starting to put the Buddistick together in the back of the Jeep. It screws directly onto the magmount.


The Buddistick in place on the roof of the Jeep. 


Buddistick in place, whip extended to full length - rear liftgate open, that's where the station is.


Usually use earbuds, but today I brought along a small speaker and an audio amp. Velamints tin holds the earbuds, the blue box is the battery and my tablet is in the sleeve underneath the battery.


The open liftgate provides some shade.


All those trees have cicadas, which are LOUD!  Undid the speaker and went back to the earbuds ...
 much better!

Yes, this setup is a compromise. But it also means getting on the air quickly for maximum operating time during a one hour lunch break.  The results are decent, and it's better than not getting on the air at all. But most of all, it proves that QRP works - even under less than ideal conditions!

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

5 comments:

VE3WDM said...

Good evening Larry, I too plan to get my KX3 into the car for some at work operations. For me it will be when I get to work as at lunch time I am no where close to work. I did have some questions..In your picture there is a red thing what is that a fan? I see some batteries and what do they power...the AA batteries that is? Finally how does the mag mount work for you? I have heard they do not really provide a good ground plan connection to the car?
Larry great shots of the mobile lunch time setup.
Mike
VE3WDM

Larry W2LJ said...

Hi Mike,

The "red thing" is a small speaker . I prefer ear buds. The small
Blue box is a 9800 mAh lithium battery, which works extremely well.

The mag mount works extremely well for me. I do not have a tally, but I know I have worked over half the 50 States and over 30 or so countries, using the Buddistick this way.

73 de Larry W2LJ

Larry W2LJ said...

Oh, the AA batteries are inside a small audio amp called a "Booster-oo" which as amplifies the audio going to the speaker. Again, I really do prefer using ear buds.

Paul said...

Hi Larry,
I started a new blog. You can find it here: http://radiozendamateur.blogspot.nl/

Please change the link in your blogroll.

Thanks! 73 Paul

VE3WDM said...

Thanks Larry for the info and I have a hard time with the code if I don't wear ear buds.
Mike