Sunday, January 14, 2018

Mobile Setup on HF and the Jeep JK

A few people have been asking about my mobile setup. The Jeep is a 2013 2 Door JK. I use a Yaesu FT-891 for HF. My requirements were pretty simple, I needed to be on 60 meters at the very least but wanted all the other bands as well down to 80 meters. The Yaesu FT-891 was cumbersome to put on 60 meters but a firmware update made that a little easier. I decided to just program all the frequencies I needed to be able to access them quickly.

HF and VHF/UHF Bodies mounted in the back of the Jeep

The FT-891 with a mount I picked at HRO that bolts to the passenger seat bolt
The mic is for the Kenwood VHF/UHF. The HF mic is out of view

The antenna was the hard part but most of that was just figuring out how to mount it. I have an AEV rear bumper and while this allows for a nice spot for the VHF antenna the HF antenna needed a little imagimnation.

The mount is a Breedlove Ball Mount and the antenna coil is a Wolfriver Coil.  (I have had dealings with Wolfriver Coils with their portable vertical antenna that worked well during a recent DOD HF exercise I was involved it). The ground system is bonded to the frame of the Jeep and was relatively easy to do with a few grounding straps.

On top of the coil is a 102 inch whip and it will tune 15 meters and down. The whip itself (without the coil) works well on 27 and 28 MHz which gave me the best of both worlds.

So far I have been able to check into the nets I usually check into. I am weaker than normal but that is understandable as this is a compromised system at best and I only use 25 watts on HF.

Here are a few more pictures.
Coil and Whip

Ball Mount on bumper

The whip is tied off on the hood mounted jack/VHF/UHF Antenna above tire

The whip tie down
I often operate with the antenna still tied down because I am usually trying for a NVIS situation. It also helped to figure out the coil settings for several of the main frequencies. Using this coil on the ham bands is easy once you figure out how many clicks to move up or down.

72 Frank

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Happy New Year on Raspberry Mountain

It has been a long time since I posted. Lynn and I have busy so not a lot of time for Summits On The Air.

Of course we wanted to do our traditional New Years hike up to Raspberry Mountain and our good friend and hiking partner Al, KH7AL, was able to join us.

In the past we have had to bail out on this hike due to cold. This year it was 22 degrees warmer than in past years.

The great thing about Colorado is that sometimes it is warmer at altitude than in the Front Range and this was one of those days. While it was cold getting ready once we were on the trail and up about 500 feet in altitude we were shedding layers. It was an absolute fantastic day! I would guess that the temp on the summit was 40 degrees.

Al set up his SOTABEAMS linked dipole antenna for 20 meters and he and Lynn ran an SSB and VHF pileup. I worked 20 meter CW for about an hour before I ran out of callers!

Lynn KC0YQF on SSB

Al, KH7AL on 20 meter SSB

K0JQZ on 2 meter VHF before 20 meter CW

Backside of Pikes Peak

The Catamounts to the left

The Views

The SOTABEAM Linked Dipole worked great

On Trail

Lunch Break


All doing a SPOT


The New Years SOTA crew

The trail is easy and well marked

You take Ring of the Peak trail most of the way

Someone even put a map up

That was a lot of fun and we heard a lot of new callsigns which is always a good thing.

Thank you chasers for doing what you do and thanks to Al KH7AL for sharing the summit with us.

72 Frank

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Little Scraggy Peak

Lynn and I decided to do a close summit and picked Little Scraggy Peak. The trail leading into around this summit is a popular mountain bike trail and we always see a few of them. On this day we ran into one hiker going the other way and a few Mountain Bikers even though I expected to see more due to the mild weather.

This summit is fairly easy and is a nice hike. I do not think you are ever more than a mile from where you park but you feel like you are out there in the wilderness.

Rock marker while ascending the ridge that takes you to the summit

Right before the demo dropped 10 degrees
The radio was the KX2 again. It really works well and I have no complaints about its size or performance.

Lynn tried 20 meter SSB but there was a contest going on so she went to 17 meters. Here are her QSOs.

I was able to get one S2S with KR7RK in AZ.

I tried 40 and 15 meters with no callers. When I got home I saw that my spots had not gone in but I have not figured out why. 30 meters seemed to be the money band on this day.

While we ere on the summit the temp dropped and we were bundled up for the hike down. After descending about 500 feet the jackets and glove came back off. It was a pleasant day, Lynn and I had a good time.

Right after this activation I got busy with one of our annual exercises and feel like I have been out of it the last two weeks. It is good to be back to weekends off and 8 hour work days.


Saturday, October 21, 2017

QSL Card from Armed Forces Day 2017

Today I received a QSL card  from U.S. Army NETCOM. This was in commemoration of the 68th Military-Amateur Crossband Test on 13 May 2017. Every year more and more military stations are participating in this test. To talk to them you transmit on the ham frequencies where the military stations have their receivers set and listen on the published military frequencies the military stations are transmitting on.

This year there were 12 military stations signed up and I was able to get 6 of them. In addition to the stations US Army MARS transmits a Department of Defense Message usually from the SecDef. This year was special as the Commander USNORTHCOM approved the message vice the SecDef.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Midland Hill W0C/SP-117

Midland Hill is near Buena Vista and one of our favorite hikes. It is not challenging like a 14er and there is no bushwhacking involved, it is just a pleasant hike. We only ran into two other people on the trail. One person going down and one that was on the summit with us. Weather wise it was around 55 degrees and hardly any wind. 24 hours later it would be very different but we enjoyed the weather while it lasted.

View from upper trailhead

Lynn on trail

looking down on Buena Vista

Lynn leading the way

This is where we had lunch

Lynn getting a little chilly in the shade

On the summit we quickly setup and Lynn started running a 20 meter SSB pileup while I explained what we were doing to the person that happened to be on the summit with us. He seemed very interested which made the conversation pleseant.

I see these painted rocks everywhere

Lynn writing in the log in-between contacts

The KX2 doing what it does best!

Our shack for the day

Here is Lynn's log:

..... and my log:

The QSO with KX0R was a summit to summit and I got excited about OH9XX from Finland but the best one of the day was KG3W in PA. Scotty is always QRP (less than 5 watts), I heard him on 14 MHz very faintly but he was much better on 10 MHz.

APRS Spot on the summit


Not related video of our Squirrel getting chow from the bird feeder.