Boy, it sure has been a while since I’ve done any portable operating. Other projects and interests seemed to have overtaken ham radio for the past few months. With temperatures near 70F today, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to shake off my cabin fever.
My XYL was planning to drive out to our daughter’s house to help her out with a household project. I decided to tag along and do some operating from my daughter’s property. I purchased a new truck about a month ago and had yet to do any QRP operating from it. Today looked like a great opportunity to do a little testing.
I parked the truck in a remote corner of my daughter’s property, next to her neighbor’s corn field. I set up a 29.5-foot vertical using my bike rack mount on the rear of my truck. I fed it through a 9:1 unun and ran a 25-foot coax cable into the passenger side window of the cab. So far so good.
Given that this truck is larger than my last one and the configuration of the center console is much different, I had to do some finagling to place my KX3. I used a small Rubbermaid® container on the passenger seat and placed the KX3 on top of it. Due to the distance involved, I had to place my clipboard and paddles on the console in order for the cable to reach the rig. (Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the setup.) It worked OK but I need to figure out a more comfortable arrangement. I have some ideas that I’ll be exploring.
My goal for today was to make contacts on 40, 30 and 20 meters. I started out calling CQ on 40 meters and NN4NC in North Carolina came back with a very strong signal. During our QSO, Mac reduced his power to match my 5 watts and he continued to boom into southeastern Pennsylvania. I then moved up to 30 meters and had a short exchange with W1TEF in South Carolina.
When I moved to 20 meters, I heard WU5M calling CQ near the QRP watering hole. I gave Bryan a call and we had a two-way QRP QSO, despite some fading on the band. It started to rain so I signed with Bryan and quickly took down the antenna. I was parked in an area that tends to get very muddy when it rains.
So, everything worked fine with the new truck but I do need to work out some better ergonomics. It felt good to get back out in the field again, even if only for an hour or so.
72, Craig WB3GCK