Saturday, July 12, 2008

Back from Lake George

We just got back this morning from our annual Summer vacation trip to Lake George, NY. The lake is 230 miles away from South Plainfield; and we had a much needed relaxing week with a chance to recharge the ol' batteries in a manner of speaking. I could have used two weeks of battery recharging; but I'll not be greedy and be happy with what I was able to get!

Of course, I brought the K1 along for some Amateur Radio activity. I didn't set up every day; but I did make a few QSOs and got some of my fellow vacationers curious enough to deliver a fine pitch for Amateur Radio.

For the most part, I used the PAC-12 with the multi-band coil; although I did also use the Hamsticks on the top of the Explorer. It was much nicer to sit at the picnic table and spread out a bit and enjoy the beautiful weather rather than work from the cramped rear hatch of the Explorer. As I mentioned before, the transceiver was the K1 and I used a 12V sealed lead acid battery as my power supply. The key was a Bulldog iambic paddle and I used QSO Diary on my Palm Tungsten E for logging.

I had QSOs with Fairfax, Virginia and Oak Ridge, Tennessee and Sherbrook, Quebec among other locations. 20 Meters was nice on Friday with lots of European signals being heard with the loudest coming from Germany and Poland.

The sound of Morse Code and the sight of the PAC-12 brought a few curious vacationers by the picnic table and I was able to give the "pitch". A few guys and their sons walked away quite interested, especially after hearing those signals coming from across "the pond"; and I promised to follow up with e-mails detailing how to go about getting a license. It seems the "magic of radio" still has the albility to capture imaginations, even these days! Strangley, the folks I spoke to were as impressed or even more impressed with the solar panel that I was using to keep the battery up to snuff.

And quite by coincidence, it turns out that the occupant of the next cabin over from us used to be the mayor of Newington, CT; so he was quite familiar with Amateur Radio and the ARRL.

By the way, this is the view I was able to look at while operating:

Not too shabby, eh?

I brought along my Autek antenna analyzer; and it made using the PAC-12 so much easier! I was able to pin point the tap setting on the PAC-12 multi band coil to the point where the match was so good that I was able to disable the antenna tuner on the K1. It amazed me to see what a big difference just one coil tap setting would make. With the Autek hooked up I was able to see the SWR jump from 3:1 down to 1.4:1 on the next! It sure takes the guess work out of things! The Autek will now be a permanent addition to my portable ops kit.

I brought along the NorCal Doublet; but ended up not using it. Chuck LaPlante, who owns the Stepping Stones Resort, where we stay is VERY accomodating to my Amateur Radio exploits. I didn't want to push the envelope too far by putting up a dipole in his trees, even if it was the very stealthy NorCal Doublet.

By the way, if you're an Amateur Radio op and you're thinking of a Lake George vacation; do make a point of looking into the Stepping Stones. It is a VERY family friendly place and my wife Marianne and our two children love the place. Chuck runs a very tight ship; but like I said, he is VERY accomodating to Amateur Radio as long as it doesn't bother any of the other vacationers.

Tell him that Larry W2LJ from NJ sent you - I'm pretty sure he'll remember me.

73 de Larry W2LJ

No comments:

Post a Comment