Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Favorite Phone app for RaDAR activations- Post #3

RaDAR is an interesting group that is based around rapid deployment of portable stations. Unfortunately I have been focusing on NPOTA activations this year but I will get back to RaDAR next year. Visit the link below for more information.

RaDAR Google group

Now the phone app for RaDAR!

Part of the exchange for RaDAR is the grid square you are operating from. The more resolution on the grid square the better. Probably many folks have never seen a grid square like this. See the grid square at the bottom of the screen shot.

There are plenty of apps that can display this level of detail. Check your Apple Store or Android Play Store for new apps being added frequently.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

BF04 Fort Donelson NPOTA activation

The National Parks on the Air program has really excited me this year. I enjoy chasing the parks and I am currently sitting with 298 confirmed parks as of 11/5/16. What I have enjoyed more is being an activator of the parks as I like the planning and execution of the activation. The pileups are fun but putting it all together and making it work is the fun part for me!

My wife Andrea and most excellent traveling buddy(same person) went along for the 4 hour drive from Illinois to Dover TN. She has family there so she got to do some visiting and did some exploration of the park. I setup in the upper parking lot near the cannons along the river.

I found a spot on 40 meters for phone operation and self spotted on the cluster. Within 2 minutes the pileup hit with the first QSO at 1850Z and the last 40m QSO at 2000Z. 123 40m QSO's were logged.
Sometime during the 40m pileup I made contact with Jim KT4FQ and he said he was in the area and he asked if it was OK to stop by for a visit and I said "come on by". When he arrived I was ready to switch to 20 meters anyway so I took a break. It was great to visit with him and learned how we both are from Illinois and his dog provided some entertainment for my wife. Jim is on the left and that is me on the right.

Now it was time to get on 20 meter phone and show some love for a different part of the world. Jim stuck around and helped me pick out call signs from the pileup. We started 20m at 2033Z and went until 2140Z and made 124 20m phone contacts. I probably should have made another run on 40m but it was time to pack up and head back north and check into a hotel for the night.

The map below is hard to read but here are what the colors mean:

Aqua color= states contacted with 40 meters only
Yellow color= states contacted with both 20 and 40 meters
Dark Blue= states contacted with 20 meters only

Set up in the truck was similar to my Grant House NS73 and Ozark Waterway RV05 activations. The radio was a IC-7100, Heil BM-10 headset, 31 foot S-9 telescoping mast with 33 feet of spiral wound wire and an ICOM AH-4 tuner. I set out 2 tape measure ground radials one at 31 feet and the other at 16 feet long. At the last minute before we left Illinois I loaded my battery box with DC booster on the truck. Turns out that was a good call since my truck is noisy on 40m with the motor running but the noise blanker takes care of most of it. When I realized that I had a S0 noise level it would be a shame to add noise to that so I ran off the battery while on 40 meters. When I went to 20 meters I connected the power to the truck and ran the engine. Below is a pic of how the antenna setup looks but I forgot to take a picture so this one is from Grant House.

Below is a picture of the logging setup. WinBook running Windows 10 with N3FJP software with rig control. Bluetooth keyboard also has a touchpad instead of a mouse. The board that hooks under the steering wheel that the keyboard is on can be purchased from Amazon.

The trip was a great success due to the wonderful weather, band conditions, and getting to meet Jim. Mostly, thanks to my wife Andrea for putting up with this ham radio hobby. She does not fully understand it but she knows it makes me happy.

247 contacts
229 minutes on the air
42 states
3 provinces
Puerto Rico