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Author Topic: QRP Field Day 2012  (Read 12109 times)
KI4ENS
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Posts: 80




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« Reply #15 on: June 13, 2012, 10:37:34 AM »

Well,  still working on gathering everything up.   Just going to operate part of Saturday afternoon.

Rig:
FT-817ND for phone and PSK31

Antenna:
Homebrew buddistick on 20M and 40M.

Rig Power:
Two 7 AH 12 V gel-cells
10 watt solar panel
HQRP Charge controller

I discussed the solar setup in http://www.eham.net/ehamforum/smf/index.php/topic,82674.0.html.  I am almost finished with it and will post pics soon.

Computer:
Panasonic CF-M34 Notebook with two batteries.  When they run out,  done with PSK31.

And Beer.



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K5TED
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Posts: 758




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« Reply #16 on: June 16, 2012, 02:05:12 PM »

Here's my 72 cell (12 x 6 cell 7Ah SLA) battery pack in a repurposed rollaround Optoma projector hardcase. Fits nicely. Even some room in there for a small solar panel and regulator... Looking for those items for future use..

For Field Day, it'll be charged with a 45w array. As it sits, measures 13.1 vdc

http://k5ted.net/slide_show.html?show=field_day&picture=picture1.jpg
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KI4ENS
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Posts: 80




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« Reply #17 on: June 18, 2012, 12:34:32 PM »

K5TED, Neat setup. 
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WB6BYU
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Posts: 13354




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« Reply #18 on: June 27, 2012, 09:11:54 AM »

A combination of rain and a bad foot restricted my Field Day antenna efforts this year.
We put up the TA-33jr on Friday, then discovered it didn't work right.  Took it down
Saturday morning and put up a mast with a halyard, then hoisted a 20m dipole for the
phone station.  The old 10m Ringo that I modified to a quarter wave ground plane was
set up for 15m.  Also put a 40/80m dipole in a tree, but the 40m wire wrapped around
the 80m wire and had a high SWR.  All this while I was trying to keep on my crutches
to avoid overstressing my foot.  (I didn't manage very well, however.)

My tent nearly blew away Friday night, in spite of the cinder blocks tied to each leg.
Everything inside got wet.

Got the new 10m yagi tuned up (higher impedance than I expected) but, although
I could hear some beacons, we never heard any stations on the band.

Finally got the other stations up and running about 2pm Saturday, 3 hours after the
start, then had to figure out what to use for my CW station.  The last two years I've
used a 80m horizontal loop strung into the trees across the road, but I can't scramble
up and down the embankment to untangle wires from the trees.  This year I had plans
and materials for 2- and 3-element delta loops, wire yagis, etc. (and room to put
them up.)

But faced with limited mobility and time, I pounded in a T-post behind my tent, slipped
a 20' mast over it, and strung up a 40m doublet as an inverted vee.  The ends weren't
that much higher than the bottom of the mast, but being on a bit of a rise looking
over an 800' dropoff helped performance.

Made about 230 contacts at 5 watts on 40 / 20 / 15m using the K2.  That's about
3 times what the phone and digital stations made, combined.


Next year, however, we may reconsider operating QRP:  we had a lot of new hams
operating HF for the first time, and it was just too difficult for them to make contacts
on phone.  A lot of the regulars didn't come out this year, so I need to spend more
time mentoring rather than just operating.
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K5LXP
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« Reply #19 on: June 27, 2012, 05:48:43 PM »

I did my usual QRP with a 706 and a jump start gel cell pack.  Tried QRP SSB for the first time and did well with it, even running just a dipole on 15M.

For the lantern battery discussion, an alkaline D cell is rated for 18Ah.  You won't run a 100W rig from a D cell pack for long but at QRP levels you get over twice the capacity of a 7Ah gel cell for about the same weight and bulk.  A worthwhile option if a one-time use is contemplated.


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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KI4ENS
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Posts: 80




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« Reply #20 on: June 30, 2012, 12:47:45 PM »

Well,  things did not turn out how I was hoping.  Good news, is my solar panels charged my batteries and I had good reception.  Bad news is my antenna did not tune up well,  had to use a tuner.  And with about 2 watts forward power on SSB (20 and 40 meters),  I made no contacts.
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K5LXP
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« Reply #21 on: June 30, 2012, 03:48:33 PM »

A buddistick is a pretty marginal 40M antenna at best.  If it wasn't working right, a tuner wouldn't make that better.

Did you try other bands?  I was working from the Caribbean to Alaska on 15m QRP SSB.

The good news about Field Day is there's thousands of stations to work. Most of them though will be running 100W and a dipole antenna.  QRP and marginal antennas will be a challenge.  There's a QRP multiplier for a reason.


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM

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K5TED
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Posts: 758




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« Reply #22 on: June 30, 2012, 06:12:18 PM »

Our total was 70 contacts, all on 5w or less phone, 3.5w or less PSK, all from battery/solar, using either the 20m Hamstick dipole at 12', a 30' ground mounted vertical fed with 4:1 unun, or a 60' random wire I threw together at the last moment.

Daylight battery voltage stayed around 13.4vdc with two radios running, nighttime didn't drop below 12.3vdc. Opted not to deploy the FLEX 1500 w/Macbook PSK station due to a shortage of operators and the cross band interference.

Used only the SG-2020 with Astatic 10-DA on phone and the FT-817ND with stock mic on phone, and NUE-PSK. The NUE-PSK modem was a poor performer in a crowded band, in my opinion. But, to be fair, the psk slots were full of high powered stations and the bands were not all that great in S. Texas. It was disappointing, though, since I had spent a couple of weeks before Field Day testing the NUE-PSK at QRP power on a random wire to make sure it would be up to the challenge. Also, we did not operate much past midnight.

Next year I'm going to use a PC and regular psk software. The battery pack would have easily supported the Macbook.

In hindsight, I did much better on 15m phone than on psk on any band. Even a couple of Pacific stations.

Made one really surprising contact back to the W5SC Field Day event in San Antonio(about 40 miles away from us), on the FT-817ND running 3.5w on 40m phone, using the 60' end-fed random wire suspended about 7' off the ground, fed with 9:1 unun. NVIS? 

Got many good reports on 15m phone, many very surprised at the signal we were putting in with QRP.

I forgot to load the big spool of #12 copper wire I had planned to use for ground radials on the ground mounted vertical, so I used some lengths of coax (did remember to bring way too many 50' RG-58 feedlines) instead.

Actually, noise wasn't too much of a problem after I located the cabin's copper grounding rod and tied my station ground to it. The NUE-PSK had been generating some significant noise on 20m, but it went away after I grounded everything to the rod and put on a couple of snap-ons on the NUE power line and data cable.
 

Next year: more ground, more phone, more dipoles, better digi terminal, work shifts instead of trying to stay awake the whole time.
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K5TED
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« Reply #23 on: June 30, 2012, 08:13:47 PM »

more pics here http://k5ted.net/slide_show.html?picture=picture1.jpg&show=2012_Field_Day
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KI4ENS
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Posts: 80




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« Reply #24 on: July 05, 2012, 12:48:00 PM »

K5LXP,  didn't try 15m.  Did think about it but was a bit tired and called it quits.  I didn't want to spend too much time with the radio as it was a family get together.  On the positive side,  my sisters thought it was cool that I was receiving signals from all over the country.  The bummer was that I did not pack enough wire to try a random wire antenna.  The website for the camp site did not show any tall trees but there were plenty.  I used the tuner just to keep the radio happy with the swr.
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W5ESE
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« Reply #25 on: July 06, 2012, 10:33:54 AM »

Thanks for posting the pictures.

I understand the Austin Amateur Radio Club did a QRP Field Day one year, but it was disappointing/frustrating for the SSB operators, particularly on the lower bands, so they went back to the 100W category.

I did a QRP 1B 1op/battery Field Day in 2005, and had a lot of fun with it, but I was CW only.

https://sites.google.com/site/arsw5ese/home/wilderness-qrp/field-day-2005

To this day, it remains of my favorites.
73
Scott W5ESE
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