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.
I have been spoiled in the past. I have had access to a yard where I could put my antennas and operate with no setup other than turning on the radio. This has changed since I moved to Boston MA. I live on the ground floor and have no place to put up a permanent antenna. I use two ham sticks set up as a dipole on a tripod right outside my windows which is also next to the sidewalk. Unfortunately my location is just not very good though I have found that going either up or down the street a few buildings away, I am much more effective. This made me think of using a more mobile solution.
My main radios were a Kenwood TS-140s and a Ten Tec Century 21 CW transmitter. Neither of these are very portable though I have used both in Field Day operations in the past. I started getting into QRP a few years ago with the MFJ 20 Meter Cub which has worked very well for me. However, I really wanted to also have other modes available to me. After much thought I purchased a Yaesu FT 857D. This has worked well both mobile in the car, at home and in various parks and rooftops. As the weather gets warmer I will be using this setup more than I do right now.
I had the oppritunity to purchase a used FT 817 for a very good price. I had to get a new battery and I have used the radio accessing the various repeaters in and around Boston with no problems. I have not had a successful SSB contact yet. This is due to the fact that I have tried using the MFJ 1899T antenna. This has worked on my FT 857d though I did have to push out the max wattage that the antenna could take. My location was also better. However, with the internal batteries I am only putting out 2.5 watts on the FT 817 and unless I am in a very good location and / or have a very good antenna, I am not going to have too much luck at that power level. Over the next few days I’ll have a larger battery to use which will give me 5 watts output and hopefully, better luck.
Given that I am creating a very portable setup, I plan on getting involved with SOTA very soon. There are many summits in CT, MA and NH and these are all states that I go to for various reasons. I love to hike and camp so this just adds even more enjoyment by adding Amateur Radio.
I decided to start this blog as a way to document my progress and to show off the work and fun of Amateur Radio.