Today, 4/17/12, I was still tired from the hike up Lantern Hill but I still wanted to set up the radio outside. Since it was a very nice day I decided to head to the beach. I did not spend much time there but I did log into the Maritime Mobile Net on 14.300.00. I took the hamstick dipole this time since the parking lot is very close to where I set up.
Here is video from the area I was operating from:
The Hamstick Dipole at the Beach
The Radio at The Beach
Closeup of The Radio
On Saturday 4/14/2012 I decided to haul my gear up to the top of Lantern Hill. There are open trails, though they do tend to get a little rocky and step near the top and it is only 400 feet but the view is great and I figured it would be a good test for some SOTA work that I want to do this year. I took along the following radio gear:
Small 12V Battery
A homemade Pac-12 Antenna with a 20 and 40 meter coil
A camera tripod to use as a mast for the antenna
My 2 meter HT
Various wires to connect everything together
It was quite the workout to get to the top. I set up everything with no issues. I had thought of bringing my hamstick dipole and mast. That would have been far too much work. The mast alone weighs a few pounds. This was the weekend for the GA and NM QSO party and the Rookie Roundup so I did not foresee any issue with contacts. Since I started out late in the day, I did not have much time to spend at the top but I was able to make contact with the following stations:
It was interesting to notice that there was almost no background noise on the radio. I guess being far from interfering power sources and a very high antenna makes a big difference. Since it was starting to get dark, I packed it all in and headed home.
Here is a video of the summit:
Lantern Hill CT
My hombrew Pac-12 Antenna
Radio With A View
I remember, in the 80s, when there were many HF handhelds on the market. It seems that the last ones that were available were around 2003 or so. Ten meters has always been special to me since it was my first real experience with phone on HF. I was still a Novice when they gave the enhancements that allowed us to use phone on ten meters. At that time, you could work the world during the day. Then the cycle ended. By this time I had upgraded so it was not a problem for me.
It seems that ten meters is making a comeback and while looking up information about what had changed since the last time I was one that band, I found this HT. Some said it was good and some said it was bad. I did finally decide to get it knowing I would have to do some tinkering to get it to work best for me, which is really what this is all about. As long as the device I chose to use works well for me, then the arguments become moot.
It uses AA batteries. I would have thought it would have a rechargeable pack like any other handheld on the market. Using regular batteries give you an output of 2.5 watts. This is not gangbusters but I am quite familiar with QRP so I was not worried. The stock antenna is really hopeless. I was able to make a contact to an operator in PR using my MFJ 1899T but I am sure he had to work at it to get that QSO in the log.
If I were to use a more powerful AA battery I could get 5 watts output. Add to that a better antenna and the right location, I feel that this might be a pretty good HT to have. The bands are getting better and more often than not, ten meters is open. The radio also works on 12 meters but I have not tried it yet. There is also a modification you can do to the radio to allow it to operate on the CB bands but I am not going to do that.
I’ll update later on as I get more time on this HT. One of these days I will also get a photo up.
I decided to test the MFJ 1899T antenna with the Yaesu FT 817. I was able to receive with no problems but I was unable to be heard. Given the 2.5 watts out I was putting out, I am not surprised. Below you will find the link to the video I took. Sorry for the poor video, I was using my iPhone.
Me on the FT 857d
I decided to take my portable setup to the Charles River on the Boston University Campus. Shun came along. When he saw the MFJ 1899T antenna that I intended to use, he was not so sure that it would work but he remembered the last time he doubted one of my antennas. I did not bring the dipole and mast since it was getting rather tiresome to lug all of that on foot in the city. I had hopes for the 1899T.
I know that it is not a very good antenna and many would call it a dummy load. However, when one must go ‘Urban Portable’ we use what we can. I figured I would get some better contacts being on the river. It seemed to me that the river would act like a funnel towards the ocean which is really not far from where we were. I have no proof to support this idea but it was worth a shot. What a surprise. We made a few contacts including one in Ireland while on 20 meters! Now, if I could just get this a little lighter I would be happy.
I had one of those 45 degree angle adaptors but it broke on the second day of use so, as you can see in the photos, I removed the faceplate from the radio, stood it up with the back and antenna ports facing the sky, and jumped on the air.
Shun on the FT 857D
FT 857d and the MFJ 1899T antenna
In March 2012 I was invited by Shun (KE7UBS/JE1RIV) of the Boston University Amateur Radio Club, to help with some antenna work on the roof of the Photonics Building at Boston University. The view was fantastic though it was starting to get rather cold. While I was up there I happened to have my HT in scan mode and picked up a station It was the Derry NH repeater. From the roof of the building, I was able to speak with some of the users of that repeater using my rubber ducky and 5 watts output. Just goes to show you that getting the antenna high up is a good thing.
Me on the roof of the Photonics Building
In Early March of 2012 I decided to test out a portable setup. This consisted of my Yaesu FT 857d, my Hamstick Dipole, and a battery. Shun Otaka (KE7UBS/JE1RIV), who is a student at Boston University came along. He is also
KE7UBS/JE1RIV at the mic in a QSO with Croatia
a member of the Boston University Amateur Radio Club. He did laugh a little bit at my dipole but I told him it would work just fine. In very short order I had a contact in Croatia at got a 5.9 report. I then turned to microphone over to him and he was able to contact the same station. I was running at 100 watts output and the other station was over 4000 miles away. Needless to say, Shun was able to see that this antenna does, in fact, work. Adding some height but setting up on the top floor of a parking garage at Boston University helped quite a bit.