Bitcoin donations to: 1CE9UfWJcHBYkWPns7iqBqZgKhd5xfqEaM thanks!
Buy Bitcoins easily by clicking HERE!


Use coupon radiopreppers for 20% off on the above site.Become a Patron!

Author Topic: Ham Radio Camping Trip.  (Read 36494 times)

RadioRay

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 802
  • SMeter: +45/-2
    • View Profile
Gil Is On His Way Home Today
« Reply #30 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





 ;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. 

« Last Edit: April 22, 2013, 10:39:20 PM by RadioRay »
"When we cannot do the good we would, we must be ready to do the good we can."  ~ Matthew Henry

gil

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2967
  • SMeter: +78/-3
    • View Profile
    • Radio Preppers
Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
« Reply #31 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.

KC9TNH

  • Guest
Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
« Reply #32 on: April 23, 2013, 05:34:17 AM »
The 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.
:)

gil

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2967
  • SMeter: +78/-3
    • View Profile
    • Radio Preppers
Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
« Reply #33 on: April 23, 2013, 10:44:08 AM »
Quote
In which direction was the high end pointing?

South-West.

Gil.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2013, 11:26:16 AM by gil »

KC9TNH

  • Guest
Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
« Reply #34 on: April 23, 2013, 06:36:22 PM »
Quote
In 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?

Geek

  • Guest
Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
« Reply #35 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

gil

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2967
  • SMeter: +78/-3
    • View Profile
    • Radio Preppers
Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
« Reply #36 on: April 23, 2013, 09:32:46 PM »
Quote
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?

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.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2013, 09:41:55 PM by gil »

gil

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2967
  • SMeter: +78/-3
    • View Profile
    • Radio Preppers
Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
« Reply #37 on: April 23, 2013, 09:34:51 PM »
Quote
83 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.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2013, 09:37:08 PM by gil »

RadioRay

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 802
  • SMeter: +45/-2
    • View Profile
Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
« Reply #38 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 ..._ ._

"When we cannot do the good we would, we must be ready to do the good we can."  ~ Matthew Henry

cockpitbob

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1180
  • SMeter: +39/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
« Reply #39 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? ::)

gil

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2967
  • SMeter: +78/-3
    • View Profile
    • Radio Preppers
Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
« Reply #40 on: April 24, 2013, 12:19:05 AM »
Quote
Would 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.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2013, 01:11:53 AM by gil »

KC9TNH

  • Guest
Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
« Reply #41 on: April 25, 2013, 02:43:59 PM »
So, 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.

So, 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.)

KC9TNH

  • Guest
Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
« Reply #42 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.

gil

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2967
  • SMeter: +78/-3
    • View Profile
    • Radio Preppers
Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
« Reply #43 on: April 25, 2013, 05:52:25 PM »
Quote
I 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.

KC9TNH

  • Guest
Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
« Reply #44 on: April 25, 2013, 07:49:48 PM »
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...

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.
 :)

Radio Preppers

Re: Ham Radio Camping Trip.
« Reply #44 on: April 25, 2013, 07:49:48 PM »