Friday, April 17, 2009

April 11th Georgia QSO Party Outing

We had a wonderful time out at Holbrook Pond last Saturday during Day 1 of the Georgia QSO Party. Less than a week before the event, Dan-KF4MND, came up with the idea of getting outdoors and doing some operating in field conditions. So we quickly put together some plans and let the local HAM community know about our intentions. So on Saturday morning we all began to arrive at the operating site. What a beautiful facility they have there at Holbrook Pond on the Fort Stewart reservation and the weather was absolutely georgeous. Most folks began to show up around 10:00am. Of course Dan was there early and mostly setup before we got there. Over the course of the day we had maybe 15 operators from both Savannah Area clubs. It was a great time of fellowship. We had five stations setup to operate a variety of bands and modes. Dan had his very nice "Go-Kit" consisting of a new Yaesu 857-D and a Kenwood Dual Band capable of crossband repeat. Dan also had a TS-2000 for HF and satellite work. Dan also had a television that was recieving some nice signals. Dan was also setup to work Amateur Satellite and was using his new Arrow antenna that he picked up at the Orlando Hamfest. Dan's station was operating on a combination of commecial and battery power.

Ralph-W4REQ was operating with his "Go-Kit" that consists of a Yaesu 847 for HF. Ralph used his very nice "Big Shot" slingshot to launch some lines into the trees for support of his Double Zep longwire antenna. Ralph has quite an operation and I enjoyed watching him setup. See some pics below.
Ryan-AJ4MY and his dad Clifford-KJ4JKD setup a nice station using Ryan's Yaesu FT-450 and a High Sierra Sidekick screwdriver antenna. This was Cliffords first time to operate HF and had just recieved his upgrade to General Class a week or so before.
Andrew-KI4WHN brought his Yaesu-857D and a tuner to operate with. Only one antenna. Well, here comes Mark-KA4CID to the rescue. I enjoyed watching Mark and Andrew construct a dipole antenna from some telephone wire cut to be resonate on 20 meters. Andrew got a great lesson in antenna construction and with the use of my MFJ antenna analyzer and some simple math, he and Mark achieved success. Next they just needed to launch a line up into the tree in order to hoist thier project into the air. This was achieved very nicely with some string tied around a half filled plastic soda bottle. One toss over a limb later, the antenna had some elevation! Just a few minutes later Andrew was up and transmitting, quickly racking up a contact to a station in Europe. Don't ya love it?
I also set up a very simple station using my Yaesu 857-D and an LDG Z-11 Pro autotuner. I used a G5RV dipole antenna that I borrowed from Mac-KF4LMT and it performed very well. I operated my radio with battery power and my laptop and accessories with commercial power using my RigRunner for power distribution.

Although the band conditions were not the best throughout the day, we all did manage to make quite a few contacts including several in Europe. Everyone had a great time and we got to exercise operation in quasi-field conditions. We agreed to do this type of thing much more frequently in the future, in fact we are already talking about another outing toward the end of May. The last of us packed up and headed out about 9:00pm. Long day but very enjoyable indeed.

No comments: