I hoped this activation would allow me to add some new unique callsigns to my stations worked list for the 10m part of the 6m/10m challenge. I used three new pieces of equipment for this activation.
First, the antenna. I thought my inverted Vee dipole could be improved upon for long distance contacts (DX), so I cut a quarter wave vertical with 4 radials as a trial antenna. It seemed to work very well and I heard and worked stations in Japan and the USA without much difficulty despite using 5 watts from the FT817.
The base of the main vertical element was at about 1.5m above ground, with the radials sloping down to ground level but insulated off the ground by small lengths of hootchie cord. The main radiator element was taped to the squid pole. It was actually the lower half of the 20m vertical I have used for several activations on that band. I simply cut it at half its length, then crimped a set of spade lugs onto each half. Thus, a linked vertical. I should probably do the same for the radials.
Signals from some of the Japanese and US stations were indicating s9 on the strength meter of the 817. What I found was that it was necessary to call the louder stations, sometimes several times, to make contacts. I did have a “run” of about 5 contacts on 28.052 where I called cq for about 15 to 20 minutes at one stage. But to really attract attention you need a big signal and mine certainly wasn’t big.
The second new piece of equipment was a sun shelter, kindly bought for me by my wife, who worried that I would get badly burned sitting in the sun on hilltops.
And the third new item for this activation was the guying kit that Adan VK1FJAW made for me, complete with 3D printed guying ring that sits right on the top of the first segment of the Haverford 7m squid pole. With guys about 2m in length, the pole was as stable as if it was tied to a fence or a steel stake. I’m very pleased with that one, Adan!
After working about 25 stations on 10m CW I decided to take a break from the pressure of the contest speed (about 22 wpm in my case but some of them were running somewhat faster). I pulled down the squid pole to put up the usual linked dipole set to 40m. Then I found I was almost the only SOTA portable on the air, apart from Greg VK1AI who I could barely hear. The parks weekend was in full flight, with a dozen or more portables workable at various locations around NSW, Victoria and South Australia.
After the break on 40m ssb I decided to have a final listen on 10m and after removing the 40m dipole and feedline, I made a few more contacts on 10m CW.
Final 10m cw contact count was only 28. More power and an even better antenna next time!
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