Saturday, September 21, 2013


As mentioned in the last post, I took my Joplin Amateur Radio Club pneumatic air launcher (PAL) to the local park to try it out.

I made sure to wear my CERT shirt, so that if anyone questioned what I was doing, I could say that I was practicing putting up temporary, emergency radio communications antennas, which was technically the truth.

Using a cheapie foot activated bicycle tire pump that I got from WalMart, I pumped my PAL up to 20 psi, as read by the pump's gauge.  I aimed the barrel over a tree and twisted the red handle to release the pent up air.  The projectile soared OVER the tree and came down, and then the fishing line got "caught up" a bit and the weight ended up dangling about 7 feet from the ground.  Manually letting out just a bit more fishing line got it all the way down to the ground.  If I was actually going to use my PAR ENDFEDZ at the park today, the end of it could have easily been pulled up to about 60 feet high.  The PAL worked flawlessly!  For a taller tree, maybe 25 or 28 psi would have probably have done the job with no sweat. And reeling the weight back in?  Not a problem, it came back to me as smooth as silk.

As it turned out there was no one in the park, and no one from any of the surrounding houses seemed to even care that I was there.  This PAL is going to be a must have for QRP To The Field, FOBB, the Skeeter Hunt, SYBO, QRP Afield and the Peanut Power Spring coming up next weekend.

Now on to my QRP Afield effort for the day.  The weatherman got the forecast right.  It's raining right now as I am typing this, but it stayed dry all day.  But at times, you would have thought it was going to start pouring any second.  It would get sunny, then darkly overcast, then sunny again and the threatening again - all day long.  I am glad that I stayed home and operated from the back yard.  My 31 foot Jackite pole secured to the deck quite easily with two bungee cords.

I managed to get a decent photo where you can see the clouds rolling in, the Jackite and the PAR ENDFEDZ going up to it.  Instead of being a vertical, it was more or less a sloper today. But it performed fine!

I was a bit disappointed, as I thought that since this is kind of the last big blowout outdoor QRP event for the Summer, that there would have been more activity.  I got on the air at 1700 UTC and was able to stay on until 1930 UTC.  In that time, I only worked 18 stations - 14 on 20 Meters and 4 on 40 Meters.  I was surprised not to hear more New England QRPers on 40 Meters.  The ones I did work had great signals - nothing less than 589 on 40 Meters.

While I was CQing away, Harold my trusty Beagle was having a ball being outside.  But all the running around eventually took it's toll and Harold plopped under the shade of our maple tree for a snooze.

It was definitely weird, weather-wise.  When it was sunny, it was hot. When it was overcast, it got to feeling cool, especially when it got breezy. Too bad the solar weather took its cue from the terrestrial weather.  It would have been fun to have worked a lot more stations.

The other downside of the day ....the skeeters! They were out in force. I eventually ran in the house to apply some Cutter's. I think that before I did that, I involuntarily donated about a pint of blood.

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

1 comment:

  1. Was great to hear you Larry! You signal got stronger as the day went on. I heard you calling CQ and had to turn down the RF gain as I paused to hear who had such a strong signal. Grrrr! Nice to connect with a Polar Bear and NE QRP op at the same time.

    I too was expecting to hear more ops but I guess football season won over ham radio this weekend. After 3 hrs in the sun at 90F I called it a day as I kept hearing the same handful of stations over and over and didn't get many takers when I called CQ. Band seemed decent though some shifting and QSB out there at times. It was a good warm up to Peanut QRP next weekend. Be listening for ya!

    Kelly K4UPG