Radio Preppers

General Category => Tactical Corner => Topic started by: gil on April 13, 2013, 08:24:50 pm

Title: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: gil on April 13, 2013, 08:24:50 pm
If all goes well, I should be putting my radio preps to the test this coming week. I say ?if all goes well? because of some current health concerns, and a myriad of other variables that could prevent me from going on a one week camping trip at a semi-remote location. That said, I am getting ready and will be sharing the ?adventure.? I can hardly call it such, but it will be a good test to figure out what works and what doesn't. I will be available for skeds from ?the boonies? on 20 and 40m CW. Ray will be my liaison to the outside world. I am not sure if there is cell phone reception there or not, but even if there is, my battery won't last a week anyway. If I get cell reception I will keep it charged for emergencies and probably check messages once a day.

This trip won't really simulate a bug-out, but might point out some deficiencies in my thinking...

I am sure you guys would be interested in what I am taking with me, so there it is:

RADIO:



I just received the LNR Precision trail-friendly end-fed wire and choke (see attached photo), it is very small and weighs just about nothing. I decided to use it without the LNR matchbox because I needed an SWR indicator to use with the MTR. For tuning, I will use a 9V battery for reduced power. Besides, I already have their 40/20/10 regular end-fed, so I can use that match box as well. The good thing about the BetterQRP end-fed tuner is that it can be used with any half-wave wire from 15 to 40m. I am very grateful to Larry at LNR Precision for selling me the wire & choke assembly separately. I just tested the combination and could get a 1:1 SWR on both 20 and 40m without having to trim the wire. I expect excellent results with this combo.

I might take my KX3 with me if my pack doesn't end-up being too heavy, but I have the sinking feeling that it probably will. It would be fine without food and water, but both are pretty heavy. What the KX3 would give me is short-wave reception, as well as 15, 17 and 30m on top of 20 and 40. No big deal, but SWL would be nice. If the zombies attack I am sure Ray would let me know via CW before they get to him.  ::) An excellent alternate option that does provide SWL would have been a KX1...

Here is a list of some camping gear I got for the trip (subject to change):



This is just the main stuff of course, I am also packing a number of other items not worth mentioning. I was not going to use my Eberlestock backpack but could simply not afford a bigger pack. I'll just have to strap a bunch of gear on the outside. If you think I am forgetting anything, please let me know.

For food, I got help from a hippie friend who is used to Rainbow Gatherings and camping.. Without her, I would not have included fresh vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes), chia seeds, mixed nuts and dried fruits.. I got tea, protein bars and will get eggs and canned meat on Monday. Oh, and of course some port and liquor  :) I leave on Tuesday afternoon. Again, any suggestion would be welcome.

This will also be an excellent opportunity for me to practice Morse code without the help of a computer as a backup. I am starting to head-copy, but I still miss many words. At about 12 to 15wpm (on a good day), I can copy without much trouble. Faster than that and my brain refuses to cooperate, yet... I think the small CW rig and end-fed will prove to be the ultimate in camping / SHTF applications. It has taken me a while to slim down my portable station and try different options, but with the MTR and the KX3, I think I am now all set.

Stay tuned for more...

Gil.
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: Geek on April 13, 2013, 09:08:53 pm
Safe camping requires a minimum of three people.  If one gets hurt, then one can go get help, while last renders assistance.  That point leads me to the fact you didn't list a first aid kit.  I hope that is among the stuff not worth mentioning, along with map and compass.
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: gil on April 13, 2013, 09:31:49 pm
Hello Geek,

Yes, I have a first-aid kit, forgot to include it.. My above-mentioned friend will stay for three days, and I will remain there alone for the rest of the week. There might be other campers there on Saturday and Sunday, probably not on Thursday night and Friday. So, I should not be alone the whole week, though I will enjoy my solo time, even if it is not the safest. Oh well, life is a terminal disease... Interestingly enough, I have always approached these activities as a solo endeavour. I used to solo-cave-dive, if that tells you anything... Probably wouldn't do that again now... I have mellowed down enough to get people to enjoy joining in my planned outdoors activities now, but I guess I am not yet used to the idea... Map and compass, yes, I have both.

Gil.
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: gil on April 13, 2013, 10:07:40 pm
Here is my whole HF CW station revisited. The Nomad 7 recharges the AA NiMH cells four at a time. The MTR uses eight. The solar panel also recharges the mini speaker. Everything is there for a fully autonomous station with global reach. It all fits in a very small bag and is very light. That includes the full size antenna and tuner! No heavy batteries to carry when your receiver current draw is 35mA! Power output with eight cells is 4.5W on 40m and 3.3W on 20m. This in my opinion is as small as you can get without losing performance. Total cost estimated at $430, including shipping charges. For a complete station including solar charging and antenna, it isn't bad at all. If a KX1 had been used instead of the MTR (which is rarely on sale and harder to build), you would add about $190 to that. The LNR Mantiz is also a good option if you don't want to build a kit: http://www.lnrprecision.com/transceivers/ (http://www.lnrprecision.com/transceivers/). As far as I know, the MTR is the smallest full-featured radio out there.

Gil.
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: Geek on April 14, 2013, 09:55:27 am
Quote from: gil on April 13, 2013, 09:31:49 pm
Hello Geek,

Yes, I have a first-aid kit, forgot to include it.. My above-mentioned friend will stay for three days, and I will remain there alone for the rest of the week. There might be other campers there on Saturday and Sunday, probably not on Thursday night and Friday. So, I should not be alone the whole week, though I will enjoy my solo time, even if it is not the safest. Oh well, life is a terminal disease... Interestingly enough, I have always approached these activities as a solo endeavour. I used to solo-cave-dive, if that tells you anything... Probably wouldn't do that again now... I have mellowed down enough to get people to enjoy joining in my planned outdoors activities now, but I guess I am not yet used to the idea... Map and compass, yes, I have both.

Gil.


Solo cave diver?  I am certified as a solo diver, wreck diver, decompression diver and I am not insane enough to go solo cave diving.  :-)

Sounds like you're staying in a organized camp ground where there is a bit of staff.  Good enough.

We'll want reviews on each piece of equipment.  I am especially interested in the solar panel and recharger.
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: gil on April 14, 2013, 10:05:15 am
QuoteSounds like you're staying in a organized camp ground where there is a bit of staff.  Good enough.


Primitive camp site.. Staff is a few miles away.. Basically, you're out there with no facilities of any kind. I like it that way because if there happens to be other campers around, they are the kind who don't mind and actually can walk a few miles without dropping dead.. Which usually means more respectful and quiet.

Gil.
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: RadioRay on April 14, 2013, 10:39:41 am
Gil -

Your experience with those who walk to camp is generally correct.  It seems that even a little bit of work to be someplace, makes it better to be there.  The drive-in "camp sites" are something that I avoided like the plague. I had long legs and used them to get up into the high country where everything up there either walked, flew or swam.  I never heard the "boom-chigga-boom-boom..." or mariachi music common in paved parking spots in the payed 'camp'. Up there, found a great deal of peace. I've had friends who RV'd and had generally good experiences in their park & rest mode of travel, but it was usually around other retirees (read old people) who are not immune, but generally much less likely to impose upon others.

As an ex-sailboat live aboard, I loved being at anchor in some obscure spot.  Sailors (and trawlers) tend to give and desire "plenty" of distance between boats, unless specifically invited.  Fast power boaters often were in LOUD packs, music blasting, generators running and etc.  However, 99% of the time, they roared-off just before sundown, racing home to the power cord. Some of my best memories are of being at anchor, sundowners in the cockpit or on the side decks while 'helping' the sun to set.  Some of the OTHER best memories are from when I was single and sailing and I don't mention those infront of my wife .   ;) ;) ;)  "Survival" comes in many forms.

Yup  -   if I wanted to be with several million of my 'closest friends' in a noisy, dirty place, I'd live in Baltimore/DC.    :o  (just discovered that we don't have an emoticon for VOMIT!)


de RadioRay ..._ ._


Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: KC9TNH on April 14, 2013, 12:05:40 pm
Quote from: RadioRay on April 14, 2013, 10:39:41 amYup  -   if I wanted to be with several million of my 'closest friends' in a noisy, dirty place, I'd live in Baltimore/DC.    :o  (just discovered that we don't have an emoticon for VOMIT!)


de RadioRay ..._ ._


http://smileyshack.wordpress.com/2010/12/21/puking-smileys/#jp-carousel-3821
Here you go; applicable to any number of places. I think it's a .gif, can't remember the tag to animate it.
8)
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: gil on April 16, 2013, 03:34:47 pm
Looks like it's a GO!

I was pumped full of iodine and irradiated this afternoon, but all went well. The radiologist can't diagnose of course, but I asked if it was wise for me to go camping, she said "absolutely you should go," which I am going to take the right way  ::) (blood work and EKG were in the green). If you wonder, I've been having bad stomach problems, and weird deep upper back pain, getting worse.. Hopefully it is nothing but stress..

My pack is of course way too heavy at 63Lbs, plus a 2.5Gal (20Lbs) bottle of water I am carrying. Fortunately there is a short cut we can take to cut the hike to three miles. Thank God! I don't think I could have hiked 9 miles via the scenic route.. Not with that weight and feeling like crap (excuse my French).. Half of the weight is food and water for a week.

I should be on the air mornings at 11:30 on 14067.5 (sked with Ray first), then I'll listen for others. Same at 20:00 to 21:00 (Eastern) on 7067.5.

If I make it to the camp site with all that stuff on my back ::)
The return trip will be soooo much easier!

Gil.
Title: Radio Contact From Gil at Camp!
Post by: RadioRay on April 16, 2013, 08:14:03 pm
The 8pm sked with Gil from his camp spot worked.  Unfortunately, roaring T-storms made more than the basics of 'arrived safely' not easy to copy.  He should be stronger for the 9pm sked (7067.5).  The morning sked is always the best and no T-storms (11:30/14067.5)

Now mind you, he's using a transceiver the size of a pack of cigarettes into a wire in a tree to reach me over 800 miles away. If there was less of a storm, I'd copy him with no trouble.  I'll post his comments here



>Ray
Title: Re: Radio Contact From Gil at Camp!
Post by: KC9TNH on April 16, 2013, 09:31:30 pm
Quote from: RadioRay on April 16, 2013, 08:14:03 pmNow mind you, he's using a transceiver the size of a pack of cigarettes into a wire in a tree to reach me over 800 miles away.
>Ray
Lots of QRN on 40m tonight, weather doing its thing, plus the usual Canadian SSB'ers exercising their band plan. I figured he was tired but, if you would, let Gil know in the AM that I happened to copy him 239 when those other things were out of the way. Now, I'm over 1200 miles away from Gil and off to the side of whatever directionality you guys might be working.

So put in perspective in the mode of the romantic good old days (which actually sucked pretty bad pretty often), if Ray is "London calling" then Gil is not just in France; he's further way the heck into Central Poland, and another 400 miles to me. Not bad at all. I probably could've even dealt with the QRN but really working copy was tough with LSB voice banging away at inopportune times. It is quite the proof of concept and a standard 20w radio of the time would've been easy. Oh, that's right, they came in suitcases.

Gil, good luck "chewing" down the size of your pack.
When I'm in the shack at any of your sked times I'll give a listen.
Nice job guys!
(As usual Ray you were banging in here, ez-pz.)
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: cockpitbob on April 16, 2013, 09:42:04 pm
Ray, thanks for the update.  I'll give Gil a try from time to time from my hole deep in eastern Mass.  It's a long shot but as one QRPer once told me, with QRP you aren't loud everywhere, but in good conditions you are always loud somewhere.

Are you at liberty to disclose what state his "remote location" is in?


Title: Radio Contact From Gil at Camp!
Post by: RadioRay on April 16, 2013, 09:57:49 pm
Talked to Gil at 9pm from his camp in southern Florida.  I am in Virginia.  When asked how he is doing, his reply -through horrendous T-storm lightning crashes - was "GREAT".  We should have good contact in the morning, no T-storms and on a higher frequency/much lower noise.  FYI - for those who have never worked message traffic through heavy QRN ( lightning induced noise), it causes 'ringing' in the filters, pumping of the AGC and it's also - of course - damned noisy! 

(http://www.uspln.com/images/napln_animated.gif)

One lightning strike is probably a GigaWatt.  Gil's radio is 2-5 Watts, depending upon battery.    ;D  To think that I used to do this for a living - no wonder my ears are a little flat....

-...-

Right-on with the distance in relation to occupied Europe during WW II.   Of course, Gil's TINY transceiver would have been the dream of any SOE agent operating in denied territory.  Those B3 Mk2 suitcase radios weighed about 35-40 pounds, If I remember.  Many of the 'pianists' (telegraphers) in the occupied areas were women, because most men were either at war or in the factories.  Also, women could get away with a LOT more with the German soldiers than a man ever could - simple fact. 

We'll likely have some real copy in the morning.



>de RadioRay ..._ ._
Title: Weds Morning Radio Contact with Gil
Post by: RadioRay on April 17, 2013, 12:28:20 pm
GOOD contact with Gil this morning. I handled one piece of "OFFICIAL" radio traffic for him and also quizzed him about his hike and antenna installation.  Here is the gist.

He had a good but hard hike in with the HEAVY pack . His new/small military grade tent is working VERY well. The antenna is a Better QRP End Fed Tuner using a lite weight wire with choke for 20/40m from LNR Precision. The wire is up a tree, put there using fishing line and a sling shot. He is excited about "ONE WEEK WITHOUT A COMPUTER!". //ha ha//

We were joined by one other station from Gil's CW operator's class. This other station is also from Virgina (where I live) , which is really too close for us to hear each other well on this higher frequency band, but I copied him fine, while he could "detect" me but not copy.  In the same state, only a hundred fifty miles apart, we'd usually use 40m afternoon and 80m all other times for solid copy.  Low local RF noise is why I could hear the other Virginia on weak ground wave on 20 meters: the skywave coming down several hundred miles away. He was also easily talking with Gil in CW.

-...-

Think about this type of radio communication in the realm of personal preps.  Gil is operating from a hike-in camp site, is using a radio transceiver the size of a cigarette pack . . .

(http://radiopreppers.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=391.0;attach=210;image)
Transceiver circuitboard.

. . .and a wire up a tree for an antenna, yet easily spanning more than 800 miles.  Power is from solar rechargeable batteries. This is not some TEOTWAKI novel - this is actual fact, happening right now. This very low power with field expedient antenna would usually result in very rough or no copy in voice, but quite easy copy in Morse. I copied his "OFFICIAL" message letter perfect on the first pass, so it's an easily copiable signal in Morse. Remember: higher power/less efficiency mans carrying larger & HEAVIER batteries requiring larger & HEAVIER recharging methods. 'Electrons are cheap, but heavy!'

de RadioRay ..._ ._
Title: Re: Radio Contact From Gil at Camp!
Post by: KC9TNH on April 17, 2013, 03:31:11 pm
Quote from: RadioRay on April 16, 2013, 09:57:49 pmFYI - for those who have never worked message traffic through heavy QRN ( lightning induced noise), it causes 'ringing' in the filters, pumping of the AGC and it's also - of course - damned noisy! 
WHAT??  Speak up young man!

Good deal on the tfc passing. I respect what he's actually doing, will try to give another listen. I'd probably still just use my 817 'cause it has a little more versatility band-wise, as well as being available for SWL, etc. But this is cool.  We're getting hammered for the next couple of days - again - but if the convective krappola will keep south I'll stay plugged in & listening. I'll listen on the 817 tonight as it's got a better filter.

"John has a long moustache..."

This is going to make for an interesting AAR, in terms of how the 63# tick on the back vs. how it will be next time.
8)
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: KC9TNH on April 17, 2013, 03:46:46 pm
Follow-up RFI re the end-fed (assumed sloping, not flat-topped over 2 trees):

- Fed from the top or bottom, and azimuth of the wire, i.e., if fed from low-end is the end of the wire pointing away from you, vice-versa for top-fed.
Just curious. Third-world Norwegians are curious.  ;D
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: cockpitbob on April 17, 2013, 08:29:43 pm
Shortly after 8:00pm I gave a listen on 7,067.5 but nothing heard.  I'm 1,200 miles north in coastal Mass and I often hear FL so I'm hopeful I'll hear him and maybe get to say "hi" at some point.  I'll give his 9:00 sked a listen tonight too.
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: RadioRay on April 17, 2013, 09:41:06 pm
I missed the 8 o'clock sked.  I was pole dancing at Romie Haag's to earn some ham radio money ( I earned $1.43 before taxes).  We made it for the 9 pm shot, but it was poor copy, though we did chat a bit. 

>>> Morning shots are excellent: night - not so much, because of the T-storms and HIGH noise.



>Ray
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: cockpitbob on April 17, 2013, 10:20:38 pm
I was listening at 9:10 tonight but nothing heard.  I'll try to remember the 11:00am sked tomorrow.

It's great that his gear is working so well.
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: RadioRay on April 17, 2013, 10:45:29 pm
Oh yeah!  That's a great transceiver!


>>> The best sked is 11:30  / 14067.5  .  Your should be in a good location to work him.


>Ray
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: KC9TNH on April 18, 2013, 05:59:12 am
2000, one of those "heard him in there" but nothing really copyable while you were pole-dancing.
2100, heard "someone in there" same result but was disconnecting some things so didn't hang around.
Then again 1 pic may be worth....
Title: Thursday Morning Contact
Post by: RadioRay on April 18, 2013, 12:12:50 pm
Gil is in good spirits. The new tent is getting good reviews. Water is a bit of a concern, but only a bit.  There is water from a pump in the area, but it's very poor quality and at the least, requires boiling. 

Gil asked for a weather forecast for the area. I got it from internet and tapped it back to him in brief form. He was pleased to hear mixed rain in the forecast so that he could collect fresh rain water and have easy showers.  He has two trash bags and one old trick is to collect rain water in the trash bags, press out the air, then when the sun comes out, lay the bag out flat and let the sun heat the water for bathing.  I've done that many times. A couple of large trash bags in your emergency kit are a good investment. Shelter and water are enhanced with them.  Water tight materials are RARE in nature.

One piece of radio TFC passed to me from Gil.


73 de RadioRay ..._ ._

Title: Gil's Most EXCELLENT Radio Adventure
Post by: RadioRay on April 20, 2013, 03:21:36 pm
ha ha -

OK , so it's not that old Bill & Ted movie, but it's fun.  We've been having a good series of contacts and ALL HERE are welcome to join in.  A few have and it's a good party.

Gil is hoping for more rain, for a good shower.  He's in an area where it's best to pack-in your water (ouch!). Rain is in the forecast for this afternoon.

The little Weber MTR QRP transceiver that he built is doing a VERY good job!  He is quite impressed with it.  It draws so little power n receiver (35 mA) that he can listen with little worry of battery drain.  The 3 to 5 Watt transmitter sounds very good on the air.  It's repeatable & accurate in frequency, so very easy to find him on the air.  The only glitch is the Morse paddle is a bit erratic.  Probably just dirty contacts. Easy to fix in the field.  Over-all , he is VERY pleased with the entire set-up.  He will be hiking out Monday and if we are VERY nice to him, perhaps he'll post some of his pics and video. 

So - all is well- other than insects...    ;)


73 de RadioRay ..._ ._
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: cockpitbob on April 20, 2013, 09:37:56 pm
I finally heard you guys! It was during your 9:00pm sked.  Ray was 599 the whole time for me.  I was getting about 60% copy from Gil due to QSB.  He was about 449 when there but would go away completely for many seconds at a time.  I'm in MA, down in a hole and about 1,200 miles from Gil.  Very impressive that I copied any of his 5W.

Gil's code speed has really improved since the last time I heard him when we tried the Prepper's Net.  I think you guys were chugging along at better than 15wpm tonight!
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: KC9TNH on April 20, 2013, 10:45:32 pm
Quote from: cockpitbob on April 20, 2013, 09:37:56 pm
I finally heard you guys! It was during your 9:00pm sked.  Ray was 599 the whole time for me.  I was getting about 60% copy from Gil due to QSB.  He was about 449 when there but would go away completely for many seconds at a time.  I'm in MA, down in a hole and about 1,200 miles from Gil.  Very impressive that I copied any of his 5W.

Gil's code speed has really improved since the last time I heard him when we tried the Prepper's Net.  I think you guys were chugging along at better than 15wpm tonight!
Agree with all the above; the times I was able to copy both sides (also 1200+ miles away) he was doing OK (although I agree with Ray & could almost tell when he sounded tired). A Neanderthal-tolerant simple little straight key, adjusted a bit further than one might on a regular shack desk key, might be something to put in the bag. (I have a couple of J-37's, either attachable to a pilot's knee-board; have looked at a little Czech key that I've heard has a good rep but further research needed.)

But his speed has definitely improved (slow is smooth, smooth is fast, less repeats). So...

Gil:  Future self-denigration of your code-learning obstacles or mention of being stuck at 10-12wpm will not be tolerated without penalty of pile-on.  Nice job!

Will be seriously looking for the AAR; in particular I'd like to hear not about the comms piece but how you can reduce that ~63# tick on your back for next time.

Tomorrow is official flake day, so I will be lounging (without the bugs) in the rear area here and listening for the AM sked.
8)
Title: Gil's Russian/Cuban Connection -
Post by: RadioRay on April 20, 2013, 10:56:11 pm
Cockpit Bob & Wes!  Glad that you're able to hear and copy.  It's ROUGH on forty at night QRP during thunderstorm season. Your copy of Gil at >60% through all that racket is GOOD!  I had him send his message traffic (short notes for other people) three times, so that I could be certain that I got it correctly, through the T-storms and SSB voice interference.   The Army kinda drilled that whole 'perfect copy / no interpolations' thing into me... ha ha

OK - So what's Gil up to in camp?

Seems that he had a little rain, but just enough to dampen things and no lightning. He mentioned that twice.  I think that he meant to infer something about not sitting on wet ground with a long piece of wire UP in the trees connected -eventually- into the ear buds inserted about 1/2 inch from his brain -  :o - during a Florida lightning storm  -  ::) - hmmmm... .

(https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRs48y2IhL_IkWbPj_dnGDBQ3vMdj0tKeXbPFbVejVShVPQQj4Vkg)

He located an old fashioned hand pump for NON=potable water and boiled it for use. He's had armadillos walk through camp, talked with hams in France & Italy as well as all over the USA, using that itty-bitty , MTR kit radio that he just built  and the BIG news was today, when other hikers came in and shared vodka and cigars! I don't know if it was Russian vodka or Cuban cigars, but let's have a little fun with this !   ;) 


73 de RadioRay ..._ ._
Title: Re: Gil's Russian/Cuban Connection -
Post by: KC9TNH on April 21, 2013, 10:58:28 am
Quote from: RadioRay on April 20, 2013, 10:56:11 pm...and the BIG news was today, when other hikers came in and shared vodka and cigars! I don't know if it was Russian vodka or Cuban cigars, but let's have a little fun with this !   ;) 


73 de RadioRay ..._ ._
So did we finally find that numbers station that's been trying to energize the sleeper-cell now making a living selling turquoise in Taos? Or maybe E. Howard Hunt left a couple more guys on the beach...
How old were these feather merchants?
8)
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: Frosty on April 21, 2013, 02:44:45 pm
Quote from: RadioRay on April 20, 2013, 10:56:11 pm
Seems that he had a little rain, but just enough to dampen things and no lightning. He mentioned that twice.  I think that he meant to infer something about not sitting on wet ground with a long piece of wire UP in the trees connected -eventually- into the ear buds inserted about 1/2 inch from his brain -  :o - during a Florida lightning storm  -  ::) - hmmmm... .


Is that on the test?   :P

Quote from: RadioRay on April 20, 2013, 10:56:11 pmand the BIG news was today, when other hikers came in and shared vodka and cigars! I don't know if it was Russian vodka or Cuban cigars, but let's have a little fun with this !   ;) 


Those bastards!  Chechnyan terrorists is my guess, and infiltrating the US with Raul's assistance probably.   Don't trust them if they don't know who won the World Series Gil!
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: RadioRay on April 21, 2013, 03:48:20 pm
FROSTY !  You owe me a new keyboard ! IN FUTURE, Please preface all hillarious comments with

/// SPEW ALERT !!! ///


Yes, he was on-air again this afternoon , tapping code from under a tree. Gil passes his best regards to the forumites. KC9TNH joined us on the air as well and volunteered to send some of his SNOW to Gil, who is roasting in +85F and humid conditions.  This time/frequency combination is not good from Florida to KC9TNH but Gil could still copy (though barely) Wes/KC9TNH. I did a little relaying between the two since it's always strong between Gil and I on this sked and Wes was Loud and clear.  // You gotta LOVE the ability of Morse code to be heard! // It was good to have some of our radio lunatics from this forum on the air together.

I mentioned coffee to Gil and you could almost hear the symptoms of java withdrawl from 800 miles away!  He has had no coffee on this trip, having brought tea to keep the weight and bulk to a minimum.// Vietnamese coffee solves this.//  He is planning to break camp tomorrow and hike out to his rende' point for helo 'extraction' by one of the many Radio Prepper birds.

(https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRu8yZvL0NYojI4dNaekVj0gWlEynsf0vBmWTnzxxe_b_XlKtfR)

//OK - this is total BS, but it sounds more exciting than meeting his ride.//

73 de RadioRay ..._ ._


Aaaah! I can hear the Spanish lady now in my headphones WITH A FEW SCREW-UPS FROM THE BROADCAST ENGINEER....

ATENCION!  . . .   UNO DOS QUATRO SIETE OCHO.....   BUENOS DIAS MI AMIGOS Y RADIO AFFICIANADOS. ESTE ES LA VOZ DEL RADIO HABANA CUBA, TIERRA LIBRE EN AMERICA! ....  QUARTO QUATRO NUEVE UNO  TRES          FINAEL  FINAEL. 
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: KC9TNH on April 21, 2013, 04:24:31 pm
Quote from: RadioRay on April 21, 2013, 03:48:20 pm
I mentioned coffee to Gil and you could almost hear the symptoms of java withdrawl from 800 miles away!  He has had no coffee on this trip, having brought tea to keep the weight and bulk to a minimum.
What weight? I used to pack those little teabag-like Folger's packets or just a week's worth of coffee for at least a cup/two a day (to be savored). Done right it's just down to boiling a little water. (Alot of teas have as much or more caffeine in them but, alas, it's tea, which is like saying the American League plays baseball...). 'Course if water is an issue, they're also a diuretic. But coffee would be in the pack, just 'cause.

"Sergeant Muldoon, I'm not a Marine. I believe in my comfort."

Oh, well; this ought to be an interesting AAR.
Thanks Ray for playing NCS, aka 'pivot man' & calling for audience participation.

:)

ERRATA: When it comes AAR time I'd be interested to know Gil's specific words on his sleep solution, bug mitigation approaches, and the feed point & compass orientation of his antenna. I know he has copied me better at his home location which is specifically why I used the dipole, vs the end-fed that his broadside to Ray.
Title: Gil Is On His Way Home Today
Post by: RadioRay on April 22, 2013, 12:20:23 pm
JUST got off the radio with Gil.  His code speed has really improved during this time in the woods!  Just like any other language, you learn Morse best by immersion, yet remaining relaxed. His copy speed sprinted to 18-20 WPM for the first few minutes today - I know, because I ASK questions and expect detailed answers...  After about ten minutes we let him ease-up by dropping to about 15+ WPM, which is good solid CW - real communication.

Remember:

With Morse code - accuracy is more important than speed.



He had a good rain shower last night, so this morning all of his luggage porters, flagsman and rifle bearers were able to wash, dry, fold &  pack & load camp while the cook saw to his breakfast. All this well before before his eventual departure.  :o



(https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRxGPZT_CZq7sBaEW0BoamNY9wCowcz46SzpZQMAlLWUi93vjV7)

;D  ;D   All good.  ;D  ;D

73 de RadioRay ..._ ._


Ps. Seriously though - this trip demonstrated long range, high reliability communication using a tiny solar rechargeable radio transceiver. 

Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: gil on April 22, 2013, 11:40:41 pm
I'm back! Hello everyone. And thanks again to Ray for being there for all those skeds! It was a great week. I have much to report about radio and camping.. Probably not all tonight though.. I do have photos and video. To make a long story short, and Ray already did a great job reporting, here is how it went: The hike to camp was hard, mostly because of my 83Lbs pack. That was dumb. Twenty years ago, sure.. These days, my lower back isn't cooperating anymore. Though, we got there, my friend Christine and I. She stayed two days, and it was nice to have someone with me in camp to ease into the rest of the week solo.

On the radio side, everything worked flawlessly, though my paddle was acting up at times, and other times, horse flies were pestering me and causing extra dits and dahs  ::) Not to mention missed words while listening. I only used  one set of AA NiMH cells for the whole week, and only got them down to 9.6V or so.. Unbelievable! I could have used them another week! The MTR draws very little curent. That included 26 QSOs and much listening. One problem, or more of an annoyance, was the fact that my station was composed of a few items connected by wires: MTR, paddle, battery, key, speaker. Moving the whole thing was troublesome. I plan on getting a clipboard and securing all these items to it so that I can move the station around easily, along with a notepad. The combination of the BetterQRP tuner and LNR wire/choke was perfect. It did give me an SWR indicator for the MTR. The antenna was fed at the bottom and sloped. The tuner was resting on the ground, held by a tent stake. I would take everyting down every time, except the antenna, which stayed up the tree. I admit, when the storm hit last night, it took me a while to find sleep, even though I had moved the dangling wire away from my tent, which was pretty close to the tree. I was hoping my thermarest pad would offer some insulation in case of lighting strike.. Wishful thinking probably..

The GoalZero solar panel proved useful to recharge my Veho360 speaker and Guide10, which I used for the light, reading at night. Again, I did not have to recharge batteries for the radio.

I learned a few new lessons about camping. The first one I can summarize in one word: Weight. I knew already how important it was, but knowing and experiencing are two different things. When your straps start bruising your shoulders, you really understand what that means. The target is no more than 20% body weight. I had more than 40%. I won't do that again. Fortunately it was only a few miles.
One item I absolutely need to get is a head-lamp. A must-have for radio operations and anything else for that matter.

Well, I am getting tired but will post more tomorrow. That bleu cheese burger I had earlier makes me sleepy  ;)

This trip, I hope, is just a warm-up. The wild is calling me  ::)

Gil.
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: KC9TNH on April 23, 2013, 05:34:17 am
Quote from: gil on April 22, 2013, 11:40:41 pmThe antenna was fed at the bottom and sloped.
Good deal makin' it back & thanks for the brief. My only point of ref for your signals would be when you were in QSO with Ray. In which direction was the high end pointing? That is, literally, if looking at the high end of your wire are you facing N, or S? End-feds play different than the theory sometimes based on surroundings so am curious.

Thanks again for the report.
Agree with Ray totally on speed; when the wrist issues kick in & I go to the Vibroplex the keyer is still set at 14wpm and that's a conversational speed many people find very comfortable.
:)
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: gil on April 23, 2013, 10:44:08 am
QuoteIn which direction was the high end pointing?


South-West.

Gil.
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: KC9TNH on April 23, 2013, 06:36:22 pm
Quote from: gil on April 23, 2013, 10:44:08 am
QuoteIn which direction was the high end pointing?


South-West.

Gil.
Ah, smart move, so you were basically a bit of a back-azimuth to Ray but pretty much broadside to me which, for an end-fed sloper, explains a bunch - thanks very much for that info.

I probably missed it in the narratives before during the packing stage but how did your tent work out after living out of it for a week?
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: Geek on April 23, 2013, 09:03:54 pm
Glad you're back and looking forward to all the equipment reports.  I find the 83 lbs a bit amusing after you brought up diving.  83 lbs sounds like a nice set of steel doubles on a back plate.  Then again, in the water you're weightless so I guess it is a bit different!   ;D
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: gil on April 23, 2013, 09:32:46 pm
QuoteI probably missed it in the narratives before during the packing stage but how did your tent work out after living out of it for a week?


My ORC ICS tent worked well. It is small. I am 6'2'', and it is the minimum size tent I can comfortably fit in. It is 8ft. long so no problem there, but I can't sit in it. Width is 40 inches. Wide enough for me to operate my radio inside. You could fit in a skinny girlfriend, but you'd have to use the same sleeping bag  ;D Dressing or undressing in the tent is not very easy. Of course when nobody is around, no problem, you can do that outside, if the bugs let you  ::) What is missing is a mesh screen on the back door. That is a bad omission. Also missing are pockets on the inside. The tent is warm and well insulated. Not much air circulation unfortunately. That said, all-in-all, I am satisfied with it. The last day there was a storm and it rained all night. I stayed dried. I was sleeping on top of my sleeping bad and didn't feel a single drop inside. There was a bit of humidity at the bottom of the front door seal, but not much. It would probably work well in a colder climate. At 6.5Lbs, it is heavy for a hiking tent. If I was to carry one every day, like on the AT, I would not use the ICS. Ultralight one-person tents weigh less than half of the ICS.. I used a Tyvek 4x8 sheet under the tent to protect it's floor. It is a bit noisy but cheap and strong. Oh, and more good thing about the ICS: It's not bright orange!

By the way, one other tent I also liked and used extensively for a two-months trip across the West in 2011 was the Marmot Limelight 3-Persons. It belonged to my girlfriend. I have added it to my wishlist, since I don't intend on remaining single...  ::) And of course she would have to like camping...

One thing I missed was a hammock for comfortable, bug-free afternoon naps. I plan on getting the Grand Trunk Skeeter Beeter Hammock (Amazon), which has a built-in mosquito net. In the summer, I could even leave the tent at home..

Gil.
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: gil on April 23, 2013, 09:34:51 pm
Quote83 lbs sounds like a nice set of steel doubles on a back plate.


Well, I used double 120s and a steel plate :o which I don't think I could use today. My back would not let me anymore!

Gil.
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: RadioRay on April 23, 2013, 10:39:56 pm
Great notes about your tent, Gil.  Being able to operate the radio from within the tent is really necessary.  I think of the times when you had to pause to swat bugs and that cause a break in transmission/reception.  There is also the aspect of weather. I've whiled away the hours of a long mountain winter night in a snow cave, tapping away on 80 meters or in warmer weather in a tent. Having the rig on your chest while in a hammock is a treat!

Your mention of the enclosed hammock is a good one.  The Hennesey hammock is very good, but any of that design and quality serve well.  The main advantage of the hammock is the ability to make camp on sloped, wet or ridiculously rocky terrain.  While those with tents are looking for a flat spot that is not under water or covered with shards of broken stone, you tie twwo lines and have a nice soft bed.   The ONLY two problems are high winds - if you are not in tight trees- and the common mistake of not using an insulated pad under you while in a hammock.  You lie down in your sleeping bag, which compresses the bag's insulation, making it like sleeping with your back naked to the might air. Use a thick insulating pad and problem solved.  BT&DT

//I would even set-up my hennesey hammock aboard the sail boat when on the hook or at a dock.  I'd tie one end to the main mast and the other to the stay'sl stay, climb in and nap!  The breeze through the netting was often juuuuuust right!



>de RadioRay ..._ ._

Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: cockpitbob on April 23, 2013, 10:49:03 pm
Outstanding trip.  Nothing equals field testing your gear and skills.

Enough about the gear.  One of the most key components of survival is keeping your morale up and maintaining a positive spirit.  Would you care to describe the contributions made by the vodka, cigars and your lady friend? ::)
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: gil on April 24, 2013, 12:19:05 am
QuoteWould you care to describe the contributions made by the vodka, cigars and your lady friend?


Ha! Clearly, without a female friend there, I would never had made the few-miles hike with 83Lbs of gear  ::)

I had a small bottle of Cointreau, but finished it (not alone) on day two  :( Next time I will buy a larger bottle and decant it to a light plastic (heresy!) container. The problem is the weight of the Cointreau, which of course is a liquid, vs. the weight of small cigars... How do you call that again, ah, yes, a conundrum... Anyway, everything tastes better in the woods! Little daily pleasures are important for sure when comfort  isn't really there..

The three campers, a father (British) and two older sons (Americans) saved me in the middle of the trip with the Vodka and lemonade. They might have regretted it, because I started explaining Ham radio to them after I left them and came back from my sked with Ray. Maybe the missed dits and dahs then were not entirely because of bugs  ::)

Company was nice, as a preamble to solo camping. As you can see on the photo, chicks dig Ham radio operators  8) Note that I am busy keying Morse there, not paying attention (she has a boyfriend)  ::)
Sorry, no juicy stories  :o
She knows about camping, from experience with Rainbow Gatherings every year. From what she describes, I might like attending once, just out of curiosity. Next one is in Montana.

Another item I need to get is something to sit on. All I had was a couple logs. Sitting on a log gets old really fast... Maybe just a small foam pad. Very important...

Ah, and I forgot: Soap! Unbelievable what a nice smelling soap does to you when you haven't showered for three days in 90F weather... I used the water pump nearby to wash off the grime. It smelled like sulfur, but fortunately there was the soap.. It was weird to be stark naked in the middle of nowhere pumping cold water on myself. If someone had seen me, they might have thought I was molesting that pump! Maybe some spy-satellite operators somewhere had a good laugh. Hopefully I won't end-up on Google-Earth  ;D

One more comfort thing, and this is a big one, is to be able to fend off bugs; fliers, crawlers, whatever.. Today I ordered two head-mosquito-nets. I will also get those ultralight long-sleeve shirts.. It would have made my life better. Also the previousely-mentioned mosquito-net-hammock. Insect repellent doesn't work that well, and probably isn't that great for you either anyway. I remember watching a show about a couple lost in the Amazon. The bugs literally ate them alive and drove them crazy. They made it but barely, and in pretty bad shape. So, think about insect protection, especially where ticks abound. Don't forget to pack a tube of Benadryl, you'll thank me later..!

Morale indeed is very important. A bit of comfort can make THE difference.

Gil.
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: KC9TNH on April 25, 2013, 02:43:59 pm
Quote from: gil on April 24, 2013, 12:19:05 amSo, think about insect protection, especially where ticks abound. Don't forget to pack a tube of Benadryl, you'll thank me later..!
If one already knows they have a sensitivity and are likely to be in the area of things that bring that on, a regimen preemptively may be indicated - consult ur doc. Cream is just a topical "get rid of this damn itching" remedy. And you don't want to be on a Benadryl regimen already orally & then also use the cream - not good.

Quote from: gil on April 24, 2013, 12:19:05 amSo, think about insect protection, especially where ticks abound. Don't forget to pack a bottle of Cointreau, you'll thank me later..!

Morale indeed is very important. A bit of comfort can make THE difference.

Gil.
Fixed it for ya.  8)

BTW, forgot to say it but thanks for the gracious invites (when copy was possible way up here) to join in. Resurrected my appreciation of my 817 and had me hitting a SK sprint Tuesday night with 2.5w, just 'cause. As mentioned to Ray, retirement will bring some sane times I hope to establish a couple of different skeds with folks, for different reasons. But the time available will be the luxury, and using less power also lets one test different antennas a little better. (Thank goodness for that old Collins filter, I forgot how good that damn 817 hears, jeebers.)
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: KC9TNH on April 25, 2013, 05:40:28 pm
And one other thing just happened, just putting it here 'cause I thought Gil would be interested.

Just a bit ago as I filled in as NCS on a 40m net...  this time of day, this location, 40m is either great or junk and the 56? aurora ain't helpin'. Anyway, another station north of me did a relay of a station south of me, so total distance (as I heard the RF rounds flying over my head) about 280mi. Notable because what caught my ear on the readback was that we were his first SSB contact using his new KX3.  Inverted-V at 28-ft. Anyway, it would seem that it can make the trip voice in bad conditions as well as its already-notorious good CW performance.

I really like the versatility of my 817, but ya know, that KX3 is a really neat small package.
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: gil on April 25, 2013, 05:52:25 pm
QuoteI really like the versatility of my 817, but ya know, that KX3 is a really neat small package.


Sure is... Nice big screen and user interface too. I will get the auto tuner next. The great thing about it is the filtering down to 50Hz! Not to mention a minimum of 150mA on receive, with all options turned off...

I hear you on the Cointreau, it solves many problems in the field  ;)

Gil.
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: KC9TNH on April 25, 2013, 07:49:48 pm
Quote from: gil on April 25, 2013, 05:52:25 pmThe great thing about it is the filtering down to 50Hz! Not to mention a minimum of 150mA on receive, with all options turned off...

Gil.
That's about 1/3 of the 817, and about 1/2 of MY 817, since when portable I enable a bunch of stuff to reduce current draw. They're about equal in terms of xmit draw at 5w (battery). The KX3 is noticeably lighter & smaller. With a decent VHF/UHF h/t - something I might actually want on my person away from camp - some of the 817's versatility is moot. I like that, ultimately, I could use rechargeable AA's for either the KX3 or the h/t.  The 817 has a AA battery pack as well, but its pack is not protected enough for other than disposables, although there is a 2.7 AH pack available for it from W4RT.

I know folks have made vids (including the factory prototype #0001) up into the mountains running SOTA, etc. But I wonder how rugged it is, and wonder how long it will be till someone fingers-out a heavy rubber "bra" or "boot" for it. The 817 is heavier but notably more substantial. I like the potential of the KX3 though, and might already have one if it weren't 2x what a decent 817ND can be found for used from a reputable ham if one is willing to shop a bit. I operated for quite awhile at base with that as my only radio - the SUPERBLY engineered duck hit the local repeater and the HF went out the back.

The one thing I really want to know - suppose the only way is to do an audio compare - is how the filtering affects overall attenuation, or not. Alot of digitally-treated processing nowadays can filter the stuff, but they still end up clamping the signal too - not good when the other guy's only running 3-5w. The filter in my 817 eliminates the trash only and puts you in that "tunnel" but doesn't drop the level.
So I'd be interested sometime in an apples/apples test with something that does digital processing against the KX3 narrowed down to the same bandwidth.

Probably someone has some sound files on the internet thingy as I'm typing this.  I'll go searching...
But it sure is interesting.
:)
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: gil on April 25, 2013, 07:58:44 pm
QuoteBut I wonder how rugged it is


It does seem well built, but not water-resistant at all... I ordered a Pelican 1150 case for it, on it's way.. I would not carry it in anything short of 100% waterproof in the field.

Quoteis how the filtering affects overall attenuation, or not.


Little attenuation compared to the filters on my K1 and K2 (sold).. The preamp helps on the narrower settings.

I had considered the Ft-817ND before the KX3, but being 99% CW, and already an Elecraft user, the KX3 won. For VHF HTs however, I buy Yaesu.

Gil.
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: KC9TNH on April 25, 2013, 09:19:52 pm
Thanks for the note on the filters. I'll have to dig up some comparisons; the Elecraft community is so devoted I'm sure someone has some sound files up. But appreciate that you understand what I'm talkin' about. :)

I would've gone with an FT h/t of some kind but I can outfit several folks with the cheaper ones if needed and the Wouxun does seem to be doing ok. I'm not traditionally hard on stuff anyway.

One other question, are you using a separate paddle for it or the one that is shown with it all the time?
I'm thinking one can minimize the foot print of it (for packing) by detaching that unless it's simply easier on the connector to leave it on. Anyway, thanks for the info.
[/ hijack of Gil's camping trip thread]
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: gil on April 25, 2013, 09:30:54 pm
Quoteare you using a separate paddle for it or the one that is shown with it all the time?


I use a separate American Morse DCP paddle. I may get the KXPD3 in the future... It would certainly reduce the footprint, and more importantly, remove a wire, rendering the whole station more mobile, as in, "let's go seat over there now.."

That is one thing that bugged me while camping, a bunch of stuff connected by wires. You try to move eveything without disconnecting or turning it off, and invariably, you will accidentally hit that paddle and send a bunch of dits and dahs.. That is why I am thinking of modifying a clipboard to attach everything on it. Ray solved his problem with his custom KX1 case. I don't know if you guys saw the photo, but I think the only wire coming out of that box is the antenna coax... A regular KX1 with the attached paddle would do the same. No extra wires, except for the headphones however..

It would be great if Elecraft rebuilt the KX1 using surface-mount components, even as a kit, and added a mini speaker. My MTR is great, but you have to connect everything to it, batteries, paddle, antenna, earphones.. That's a lot of wires. A 9V battery can fit inside the case, but you don't get much power or time operating. With eight AA cells, I operated for the whole week, 26 QSOs, including a few half-hour ones.. On receive, my KX3 would have drained those batteries 4X faster. A FT-817ND, 11X faster. And yet, with the same input voltage, power output for these three radios is about the same. That is the difference...

Gil.
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: KC9TNH on April 26, 2013, 05:47:27 am
You bring up a good point, if moving the station around, how to have inanimate objects remaining calm while you jostle stuff around. Alot of the really old giant sets had a tiny key integral to the panel; of course you could also make your thumb medium-rare by the time you were done. Secure & repeatable is a good thing to have when one's mind might be preoccupied by other things.
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: gil on April 26, 2013, 10:55:09 am
QuoteSecure & repeatable is a good thing to have when one's mind might be preoccupied by other things.


Like swatting bugs...  ::)

Gil.
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: RadioRay on April 26, 2013, 01:18:51 pm
In military systems I  have built, the number ONE failure point was connectors on cables.  That is why, if at all possible, I like to integrate everything inside of the case, or bolt it onto the case with direct wiring to the inside.


>Ray


Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: KC9TNH on April 26, 2013, 02:17:39 pm
Quote from: gil on April 26, 2013, 10:55:09 am
QuoteSecure & repeatable is a good thing to have when one's mind might be preoccupied by other things.


Like swatting bugs...  ::)

Gil.
LMAO.
"WTH is that noise on Gil's signal?"
"Buzzing, and it ain't RF."  :(

Quote from: RadioRay on April 26, 2013, 01:18:51 pm
In military systems  have built, the number ONE failure point was connectors on cables.  That is why, if at all possibly, I like to integrate everything inside of the case, or bolt it onto the case with direct wiring to the inside.
Ray
Because anything with a cannon plug weighs 10x more than it needs to & cost us all 17x more to make.
;D
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: cockpitbob on October 22, 2013, 09:26:31 am
Finally did a little of this myself.  I brought my little Ten-Tec R4020 on a Boy Scout camping trip.  It was just car camping, not backpacking, but I tried to keep the gear light and use the weekend as a shakedown cruise.

My plan was to work some CW from the tent after the social obligation of hanging around the camp fire with the other dads was done, so I set my tent up by some trees.  I forgot about rigging the antenna until it was dusk.  This was a BIG mistake  ??? :o .  My antenna launcher is a slingshot with a fishing reel hose-clamped to the wrist support.  It was dark enough that I couldn't see the fishing line and it kept getting looped around the reel, a twig or something else before I shot.  It was almost full dark when it sounded like I got the dayglow-orange painted 1oz weight over the branch ( I was going by sound it was so dark).  After finding the far end of the line I took off the weight and tied it to my spool of dayglow-orange mason's string and strarted pulling the string over the branch.  When I thought I was done I realized the spool tangled and instead of being on the ground playing out string it was half way up the tree ??? .  That took more than minute to sort out in the dark but I finally got the wire rigged.

My antenna is a half-wave end fed.  Just a 63' piece of wire and a home brew broad band transformer.  No adjustments needed to go between 40/20/15 meter bands, and it's water proof so I can leave it out all night.  I got the wire about 35' up so I had a pretty good inverted-V arrangement.

By the time I crawled into the tent it was getting late.  The bands were a mess that night.  It sounded like there was a digital contest on 40 and 20.  I did hear Brazil and some other far off places.  I had one nice long QSO with someone in Wissconsin running 50W into a dipole.  He was 589 for me and he gave me a 569 report which made my 4Watts feel real good.  One problem I need to fix is to find a more comfortable way to work the key from a inside a tent.  I'm a bit too old to sit there indian style (cross legged).  Laying on my belly or side, proped up on elbows got real tiring real fast.

Lessons learned:
1:  Put up the damned antenna before it gets dark >:( (duh).
2:  The antenna launcher is great, but big and heavy for backpacking.  I want to find a more compact solution.  Maybe I can learn to swing a weight on a string and get it up 30'.  Something to practice in the back yard.
3:  Find a comfortable way to work the key in the tent.  Something like a CrazyCreek chair (http://www.amazon.com/Crazy-Creek-Chair-Blue-Black/dp/B000296Y3G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1382447683&sr=8-1&keywords=crazy+creek+chair) might work, but that's more stuff to bring.  On a real backpacking trip I might have enough gear to make a pile to sit back against, but I hate to bring dirty wet things with sharp corners in the tent.

Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: Lamewolf on October 22, 2013, 10:09:24 am
Quote from: Geek on April 13, 2013, 09:08:53 pm
Safe camping requires a minimum of three people.  If one gets hurt, then one can go get help, while last renders assistance.  That point leads me to the fact you didn't list a first aid kit.  I hope that is among the stuff not worth mentioning, along with map and compass.


I've roamed the woods for may a year now, solo, and never once do I remember ever taking along a map.  I always have at least a small button compass but never saw the need to use it.  But then most of the places I go I am very familiar with just through my own exploration.  I do it the old fashioned way by marking the trail as I go, ie, I break a small branch, carve marks in dead trees or logs, pile up rocks or sticks, just anything to mark where I've been and then just follow my marks back to where I started.  And I always carry a survival kit with means to carry and purify water, start a fire, and build shelter and it also includes a good first aid kit.  And thats one piece of kit I'm proud to say I've never had to use so far in my 57 years - but it will always be there if needed !
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: KK0G on October 22, 2013, 01:10:37 pm
Yep, there's no better way to find out what works and what doesn't for portable QRP than a real live shake down. I did the same thing on first couple of trips also and learned quite a bit in the process.
Title: Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
Post by: cockpitbob on December 19, 2014, 01:20:41 pm
Interresting discussion on eHam. (http://www.eham.net/ehamforum/smf/index.php/topic,100487.0.html)
He's taking an 800 mile hike and wants to charge batteries from the motion of walking.  My take-away from the discissions and some web searching is that the technology isn't there yet.  Flexable solar, hand crank or stoves with thermoelectric generator appear to still be the main options.  For trips of a few days bringing lithium primary batteries and leaving the charger at home is the lightest approach.
People are working on a piezo insole for you shoe, but a reliable implementation looks a long way off, and I wouldn't want to go 15 miles/day on high-tech insoles.