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Thread: Amateur Radio

  1. #441
    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkr View Post
    Yikes!

    What about a VHF activation with an HT?

    Chris
    I spotted using the SOTA Goat on 146.58, nothing heard. Not really surprising; surrounded by national forests and far from the city.

  2. #442
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2xAGM114 View Post
    I spotted using the SOTA Goat on 146.58, nothing heard. Not really surprising; surrounded by national forests and far from the city.
    Gotcha. I know there's a move for SOTA activators to use 146.58, but when I use it I only get the handful of regional stalwart chasers (if that). I normally use .52 so I get the random folks who monitor .52 while camping, hiking, driving, etc. I'll move to .58 if there's another activator already on frequency or some other consistent traffic.

    BTW, activated w4v/sh-030 yesterday. Managed a single 6mFM contact with my newly built slim-jim and did the rest on 40m and 20m. I was mainly interested in how well the 6m antenna would work, but my contact there was only 30-some miles away, a stretch I could do on 2m. Still, it worked.

    This summit is festooned with many radio and cellphone towers, making VHF contacts challenging.

    Chris

  3. #443
    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkr View Post
    Gotcha. I know there's a move for SOTA activators to use 146.58, but when I use it I only get the handful of regional stalwart chasers (if that). I normally use .52 so I get the random folks who monitor .52 while camping, hiking, driving, etc. I'll move to .58 if there's another activator already on frequency or some other consistent traffic.

    Chris
    I have read and heard via podcast that "they" are trying to make .58 the Adventure Simplex freq. Same as you, sporadic activity on .58 and not much on .52 either. Every once in a while I'll post a spot on SOTA and someone will cold call me on .58.

    On another note...I saw a VX-8DR, minus the antenna, at a SK estate sale today. The reseller wants $175 for it. I'm tempted, as they're no longer in production. Not sure how much use I'd get out of 6m on a 5w HT.

  4. #444
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2xAGM114 View Post
    I have read and heard via podcast that "they" are trying to make .58 the Adventure Simplex freq. Same as you, sporadic activity on .58 and not much on .52 either. Every once in a while I'll post a spot on SOTA and someone will cold call me on .58.
    .52 is pretty active around here and it's a rare activation I can't do it entirely on that frequency with an HT and slim-jim antenna. But, the folks that chase me on .58 would also hear me on .52, so it's not really much benefit. It's my 2nd choice if I can't get on HF.

    Quote Originally Posted by 2xAGM114 View Post
    On another note...I saw a VX-8DR, minus the antenna, at a SK estate sale today. The reseller wants $175 for it. I'm tempted, as they're no longer in production. Not sure how much use I'd get out of 6m on a 5w HT.
    I've heard mixed reports about the VX-8 series. Mainly complaints about the GPS. As for 6m on a 5wt HT, most days if I get anything it would be people in range via 2m, but I sometimes get a response well outside 2m range bordering on HF distances. I just built and tested a slim-jim using 300 ohm ladder line. I've also built variations of EFHWs using a mix 61 toroid. While I've made contacts with the EFHW, I can't shake the feeling that it's not very efficient. I'm hoping to do a bit of A/B testing between it and the slim jim during the upcoming VHF contest.

    If you get the VX-8, let me know. I have a j-pole made with 450ohm ladder line from MFJ you can have. I've made some mods to it because the resonance point was really high, nearly out of the 6m band, but it works well. I don't use it because it's bulky and my other 6m antennas are more compact.

    Chris

  5. #445
    Chris: Saw your post on the AX2 / MFJ 1820. I've considered one as a backup, and hear good things about the verticals. Curious about resonance with these, though it's a non-issue with the KX2 / ATU setup.

    99% of our summits have trees for a throw line. The vertical would be great for business trips; short on time and don't want to mess with a mast.

  6. #446
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2xAGM114 View Post
    Chris: Saw your post on the AX2 / MFJ 1820. I've considered one as a backup, and hear good things about the verticals. Curious about resonance with these, though it's a non-issue with the KX2 / ATU setup.

    99% of our summits have trees for a throw line. The vertical would be great for business trips; short on time and don't want to mess with a mast.
    In my experience they work well. Not as good as a full size antenna, but still good enough. I used the 1820 with an FT-817 and my KX2. I've also used the 1815 and 1810 with my KX2. I've only used the AX2 with my KX2. For radios without tuners, you can adjust the length to dial them in. My buddy uses them with his FT-818.

    I used the AX2 on 20m to activate a summit last fall while camping, then went back the next day and did the same summit with the 1815. Successful activations both times. Also, using the KX2's internal mic, it's like having a big HF-capable HT.

    The AX2 is smaller and lighter, but the 18xx series feels more robust and is cheaper. Having used both, I haven't been able to identify if one is better than the other on the air. Oddly enough, while the AX2 works great with the KX2, it seems further out of resonance than the 1820 on other radios. I could not adjust it into resonance for my Tr(uSDX), but the 1820 only required a minor tweak. But, on the KX2, the tuner gets both into resonance without any drama.

    FWIW, until Elecraft released the AX1, they recommended the MFJ whips for portable ops.

    If you want to try the MFJ whips, you're welcome to borrow my 1820 and 1815. You'll need a counterpoise wire. The 1820 (and AX2) uses a 13' one and the 1815 uses one somewhat shorter (MFJ has a list of appropriate lengths but I think it's about 11' for 15m). Something people don't know...the MFJ whips unscrew from the coil. You have to heat them junction up a bit to loosen the cement, but once you do, they unscrew nicely. I did this after breaking the whip on my 1820, so now I share a whip between the two. It also makes it easier to take both since I only have the one whip.

    Chris

  7. #447
    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkr View Post
    In my experience they work well. Not as good as a full size antenna, but still good enough.

    The AX2 is smaller and lighter, but the 18xx series feels more robust and is cheaper.

    Chris
    Huh. I'll probably go the MFJ route then. Could have used it yesterday...summit with zero trees and all boulders.

    Saw your spot on SOTAWatch today, same time I was doing CW. Next time I have my KX2 we'll have to try a SSB S2S.

  8. #448
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2xAGM114 View Post
    Huh. I'll probably go the MFJ route then. Could have used it yesterday...summit with zero trees and all boulders.
    That's exactly why I have them.

    Quote Originally Posted by 2xAGM114 View Post
    Saw your spot on SOTAWatch today, same time I was doing CW. Next time I have my KX2 we'll have to try a SSB S2S.
    That would be great. Next weekend I'll be camping near Harrisonburg, VA for the VHF Contest, but I'll have my HF gear along as well. I might activate Reddish Knob, Flagpole Knob, and High Knob while camping (we'll actually be on or near the Flagpole Knob summit). I've already done Reddish and Flagpole for points this year, so I'll be a bit less interested in knocking out contacts.

    I was only on RA-045 for a little while yesterday. I'm in SW VA visiting family, so I don't want to be out for too long at a time. It's drive-up 2 pointer about 10 miles from my in-laws' house.

    Friday I did Cove Mtn, also known as Dragon's Tooth (W4V/RA-016). Awesome hike and great views from the summit. It's one of my favorites. I worked some DX in France (F4WBN, you've probably been chased by him) and Spain. I almost had a Spanish S2S but all I could get from him was the "EA" in his call, "S2S", and a "55" signal report.

    I started the hike before dawn and was rewarded with this view:
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    Chris

  9. #449

    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkr View Post
    I worked some DX in France (F4WBN, you've probably been chased by him) and Spain. I almost had a Spanish S2S but all I could get from him was the "EA" in his call, "S2S", and a "55" signal report.

    Chris
    Oh yeah, F4WBN Christopher has logged me a few times. His location/antenna is kinda badass.

    So...I got an email while camping Friday from a guy in Europe, saying he saw my SOTA alert and needed a QSO from this SOTA region. I replied that I'd setup, find an open freq and call him. I could hear someone on CW but it was weak sauce. I gave him a 009 RST; I couldn't make out anything.

    He emails back, saying he's never heard of '009' RST and asked me to log him as a 229 for some contest he's in.

    If you're gonna cheat, why bother turning on the radio.

  10. #450
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2xAGM114 View Post
    Oh yeah, F4WBN Christopher has logged me a few times. His location/antenna is kinda badass.

    So...I got an email while camping Friday from a guy in Europe, saying he saw my SOTA alert and needed a QSO from this SOTA region. I replied that I'd setup, find an open freq and call him. I could hear someone on CW but it was weak sauce. I gave him a 009 RST; I couldn't make out anything.

    He emails back, saying he's never heard of '009' RST and asked me to log him as a 229 for some contest he's in.

    If you're gonna cheat, why bother turning on the radio.
    I've never heard of 009 either.

    The worst I've given out is 31 and that was pretty rough copy.

    As for F4WBN, it's almost a failed activation if he isn't in the log. I've had him work me on 12, 15, and 20m. My buddy and I will do the same summits together and it's always fun to see who bags Christian first. I'm strictly SSB, but my buddy does CW (typically CW and 2mFM).

    ETA: Did you ever work K1LIZ? She passed away this year, but chased me a few times in the past and we even have a S2S. I didn't know until she passed that she was blind and still activating summits.

    Chris

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