Thursday, August 06, 2015

If it is true that imitation ......

..... is the sincerest from of flattery, then I have made a pitiful effort to flatter my friend Dave Hackett KD2FSI. Dave is one of those kind of guys where neat ideas just seem to percolate in his brain. It seems everything he dreams up and builds works really well. I admire him for his creativity and ambition, and know-how.

Anyway, to get to the point, a few weekends ago, South Plainfield had a "Christmas in July" kind of street fair in the "downtown" region. The South Plainfield Amateur Radio Club set up a booth to once again get the face of Amateur Radio out there before the public.

Dave came by and saw our static display and thought it could use some zing, so he brought out his backpack full of portable gear.

I had seen his backpack before, but the PVC frame was new - and ingenious! Dave was able to set down the backpack without fear of it falling over, or just turning into a limp blob.  Personally, I thought this was the greatest idea since sliced bread. The top handle in the back can be screwed off and the uprights store Dave's extendable whips for his various antennas.

I knew right away I had to incorporate his idea into my portable backpack.  Too many times I have set it on the ground, only to watch it fall over. I finally went to the local Home Depot tonight and purchased a bunch of 1/2" PVC elbows. I had a long length of 1/2" PVC pipe left over from my homebrew Buddipole building days.

My configuration is nowhere as nice as Dave's, but it does serve its purpose.

Currently, the pieces are just press fit together. I am going to take it apart to paint it, and when I do, I am going to shorten the uprights by about 3 inches so that the cross piece isn't so far above the top of the backpack. But so far, so good. I can place the backpack down on the floor or the ground and it stays put without toppling over. And the neat thing is that this homebrew frame doesn't interfere with the backpack straps. It's still very easy to sling over my shoulders and carry normally. The PVC is lightweight and doesn't add significant weight.  For the amount of hiking that I do, it's not a problem - it's not like I'm hiking the Appalachian Trail or anything.

I fabricated this tonight while dealing with the 20 Meter QRP Foxhunt. The two Foxes were John K4BAI in Georgia and Dave N1IX in New Hampshire.  I figured it would be a one-fer tonight, and that I would probably work John and never hear Dave.

OK, so I was right about the one-fer part!

I worked Dave and never heard a peep out of John the entire evening. Go figure. Every time I think I understand propagation and how the bands work they go and slap me right upside my head. I guess that's what makes Amateur Radio fun - the unpredictability.

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

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