I have always enjoyed operating portable HF as you can put up antenna and work bands not possible at home. This coupled with finding an RF quiet location can make HF portable very enjoyable.
Using a 12m spider beam roach pole, an 80m doublet fed with 300 Ohm ribbon cable and Icom 7100 I parked in a rural country lane surrounded by fields. The doublet was cable tied to the roach pole at around 11m, and the pole secured to a farmers fence.
The Icom, Expert 1.3KFA linear and ATU was placed in the boot of the car, and power was provided by an EU20 Honda generator. I started operating at 19:26 with the first call in the log G4JXC Bob from Bristol, signals seemed very good with reports usually over s9, sometimes s9+40.
At times I had a pile-up, really hard to pick out any calls, I did try and pull out a few QRP stations some running just 3 and 4w.
The amplifier definitely helped, but getting a large antenna in the air inverted V means a lot of the RF goes up in the air. Over the next couple of hours, I worked 57 stations in 10 countries. As darkness descended the skip did lengthen out a little, with stations calling me from Sweden, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands.
I was also able to monitor my own signal on my KiwiSDR located some 100 miles away. It was fun to work some stations that had also used my SDR, and also catch up with some people on twitter.
A enjoyable was to spend an evening, thanks to everyone who called.
The RSGB CC run a series of cumulative contests through the year, you can partake in either a fixed station or out portable. I prefer to operate out portable, as this gives me a significant advantage to attempting this from home.
Using our contest site at Kelvedon Hatch SNB and with the assistance of John M0UKD we set up the following station.
The weather was forecast to be dry and breezy and so we opted to set up in the fields overlooking the bunker and the mast. The contest ran from 3 till 5 pm, and with around 1hr setup time to organise the portable station, you can maybe see why some people operate from home. It’s quite a lot of effort for a 2hr contest, but on the positive side, you would expect the activity to be condensed into this short timeframe.
Setting up the beam.
The makeshift shack was constructed to keep out the wind, and the odd spot of rain.
The beam worked really well, having very good directivity and F/B ratio despite its small size.
Over the course of the next 2 hrs, we worked 45 stations, in 4 countries. England, Wales, Guernsey and Northern Ireland. Our best DX was GI4SNA at 527 KM.
George M1GEO and myself took part in the RSGB 70 MHz trophy contest this weekend at the Kelvedon hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker contest site. The weather was ideal for alfresco operating, using the Icom 7100 and homebrew 6e beam at 10m on the Racal PU12 mast. Using 50w and a 85Ah leisure battery we operated from 11am till 4 PM.
Here you can see the PU12 and home-brew 6e 70 MHz beam. Operating from the base of the mast provided quick access to turn the beam. We managed to work 59 QSO with best DX into Scotland at 518 KM. The QSO map is shown here.
Meanwhile Rob M0VFC was operating QRP HF on 3.5, 7 and 14 MHz using a range of dipoles. Unfortunately the HF bands have been a challenge at the best of times during the day, and QRP provided to be interesting. After a few hrs operating Rob had completed 30 QSO, and under the conditions that counts as a sterling effort ! Here you can see Rob operating from the boot of his car Altogether another great weekend of alfresco operating in the sunshine.
Spent a very enjoyable Sunday with the crew from Essex Ham. The operating site is at Gallywood common near Chelmsford, and the operating is outdoors and subject to weather. The sun was shinning, and alfresco portable operating was possible.
Stations included 2 HF, 1 VHF/UHF and 1 on 70 MHz. I opted for the 70 MHz station, using a Icom 7100 and a slim Jim supported on a spidebeam roach pole.
Here you can see various various roach poles supporting HF and VHF aerials.
Over the afternoon I worked 12 stations on 70 MHz, they ranged from Southend, Colchester and Waltham Abbey so around 20 miles.
Band conditions on HF left a little to be desired, although this didn’t stop Peter G0DZB from working CW on 10 and 14 MHz.
Many thanks to the Essex Ham team for their hospitality, bacon sandwiches and tea. I hope to see you again soon on another sunny afternoon for some further portable operating.
The project was to build and test a 2e Quad antenna for 14 MHz, I wanted it to be lightweight and portable. The antenna had to be packed away in the car after a contest, so some parts of the antenna had to conform. The boom could be no longer than 3.5m, and the spreaders must be retracted for storage.
Cost should be under £100 for all the parts delivered.
The design uses fiberglass fishing poles, each pole is 4m fully extended. The project uses 8 poles. The poles will be fixed to the centre clamp using exhaust brackets, as they come complete with “U” support bracket. The size of the exhaust clamps will depend on the size of the roach poles.
The aerial will be 8m long, and 5m wide (see diagram) and the feed point will be at the bottom of the driven element. You may require some matching at the feedpoint, although mine was close to 50 Ohms.
You can find many online quad calculators, one that worked well for me is located here.
Here you will see the basic quad element, the basic construction is the same for both the driven and reflector. Here you will see the basic layout.
Photograph of parts required. (Click to expand pictures)
Having fun with the Quad and linear amplifier. QRO HF portable
A long weekend away in Cromer, time to close up the static van for the winter and hopefully some time for /p. This time I wanted to try a 20m endfed wire, this ran from the tree at the back of the van into the ATU. I connected up another 20m wire and connected that to the earth of the ATU. The antenna seemed to work quite well on 7 MHz and would even load easily on 3.5 MHz (working as a 1/4 wave). I decided to try my luck and load the antenna on 1.9 MHz, as this weekend saw the RSGB club calls contest.
Despite doing a really good impression of a spark generator I did manage to work 20 stations around the UK. The best DX for the weekend was working into South America on JT65 on 3,5 MHz.
Also had a nice QSO with Peter G4VLC on 5.3665 MHz Olivia. Once again goes to show 10p of bell wire may not make the best antenna in the world, but it sure beats the £149.99 Chav 1.