Saturday, August 11, 2012

Radio in the great outdoors

I finally got the week off I have wanted all summer. OK, truth be told, I got sucked into work Wednesday and a couple hours Thursday in the morning. But..... My friend Eldon, WA0UWH and I had a radio trip planned for Thursday. I hit home long enough to change into some proper outdoor clothes, lit off the espresso machine and back on the road. My radio gear was already packed and waiting. We went to Mt. Pilchuck, which is northeast of the Seattle area and drove up a forest service road to a nice vista looking west to Puget Sound.

One of my favorite terms is: “This is not my first rodeo” When it comes to outdoor ops, this is certainly not Eldon's first rodeo. As you can see below, we had a nice table, mast for the end fed antenna and shelter to keep the sun off of us.
Being in the Seattle area, I take trees for granted. There is always a tree that is much too high to throw an antenna wire into by hand. On Mt. Pilchuck, the tallest tree was 12-15 feet. Needless to say, my antenna paled in comparison to Eldon's 36' mast which elevated his wire, but shockingly enough mine worked well.
Propagation was not happening like we would have wanted, but we did get a few QSO's in the log, including a 40-45 minute PSK31 chat with a California ham at 5 watts using the internal battery (W4RT) in my FT817. Shortly after we signed, I looked at the voltage display on my radio, smiled at Eldon, went key down on CW, which shut off the rig. About 6 hours of operation, including the 5 Watt PSK contact, on one charge. Not too shabby.

Finally: Mountains, radio and man's best friend. (Eldon's dog Tess.) Who could want more?
Bob, AD7BP