Back to the Field Again

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.

My new truck's first QRP-portable outing.
My new truck’s first QRP-portable outing.

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.

Bike Rack Antenna Mount. A 9:1 unun is attached to the Jackite pole with a bungee cord.
Bike Rack Antenna Mount. A 9:1 unun is attached to the Jackite pole with a bungee cord.

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

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