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:
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
I travel to CT on the weekends and the radios come with me. I have some space in the back of my apartment where I can set up my hamstick dipole. I have 20 and 40 meter sticks and have had some good contacts with this setup including logging into both The Brothers Net and The Nightwatch Net. I have thought of setting up my Tarheel II antenna on the mast but I need to set up radials of some type. I will figure that one out at a later time.