Sunday, June 18, 2006

Georges Island NA-148 QRV

I have just returned from Georges Island. The trip was pretty simple: drive down to Long Warf in Boston by the aquarium, hop a passenger ferry, and in 20 or 30 minutes walk onto the island. This is still early in the season so ferries only run once and hour but beginning June 23rd they will be running about twice an hour.
This was a “trial run” to the island to see if there would be good places to operate and to see if the solar panel I’d recently purchased from The Alternative Energy Store could successfully keep my Elecraft K2’s internal battery charged. I had purchased the panel in May but not long after it had arrived it seemed like we had 40 days and 40 nights of rain, so this was the first serious workout it received. I’m happy to report that the panel did a pretty good job of keeping the battery topped off while I sat and called CQ.
Here’s how I looked walking out of the house today: on my back was a backpack with the solar panel, charge controller, Heil Traveler headset, and plenty of water. My “small” Buddipole was slung over one shoulder, and an 8x8 pop-up enclosure folded into its 3-foot diameter carry bag was in my hand and my K2 with accessories in a Pelican 1510 case (“carry on” baggage size) with wheels was pulled behind me. It was a little cumbersome but easily managable for the short walk between the car and ferry, and then from the ferry to the picnic area on Georges Island.
Even with this very modest set-up, I was able to pop-up the enclosure over a picnic table, set up the Buddipole, and have a very capable and comfortable station that could stay on the air for many hours. That’s one of the things I’m trying to drive home with this 100 pound DXpedition idea: you don’t need complicated or heavy equipment to successfully operate away from home!
Propagation was a bit soft today but I still managed to have QSOs with Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, and Bermuda among others on 20m, and a few more on 17m. One of these contacts was with Bill operating from the Handihams organization. That was a very nice happenstance! If you don’t know about this organization, please follow the link and check them out.
I goofed up a couple of things and learned from the mistakes: I should have brought forgot the Triple Ratio Switch Balun for the Buddipole. I should buy a second one to pack with this antenna (the one I own is packed with the bigger antenna system). Also, I need to practice folding up that pop-up enclosure so I can get it back into that tiny carry case without looking so puzzled and clumsy!
What’s next? Field Day is next weekend. Just another chance to try some lightweight gear for the next trip. I’ll write more on Field Day later this week.


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