Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Mobile operations on Independence Day

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog, post 162

Topic:  Mobile operations on Independence Day

Happy 236th Birthday to the United States of America.  As is the custom in this country, the national holiday is reserved for barbecues, sporting events, parties, fireworks, and just kicking back and enjoying what we fought for over these past 2 1/4 centuries.  Those celebrating the holiday on Hawaii Island have some added attractions, such as classic car cruises, outrigger canoe races, parades, and special concerts of Hawaiian music.  This will turn out to be quite a noisy affair.  Everything should return to something close to "normal" on Thursday. 

This year, I'm getting away from all of the noise, heavy traffic, and crowded beaches to operate HF mobile and portable in my own neighborhood.  Over the past few weekends, I've been using my emergency mobile set up in the van to operate from highlands above my qth.  When the Laupahoehoe Sugar Company closed its doors in the mid-90s, they left some excellent roads and other infrastructure in place, giving hams and those who love the outdoors a chance to "get away from it all" without traveling miles to do so.  After charging up the road in the van, I will park at a small turnaround at the 2,000-foot elevation and set up the emergency station.  The Yaesu FT-7 will sit on a small portable table next to my Drake MN-4 ATU.  The Drake will be connected to a B & W apartment antenna (similar to the MFJ-1622).  I'll run a 33-foot counterpoise from the  operating position to a nearby tree.  Power will be supplied by a deep cycle marine battery.  I brought along a set of solar cells to keep the battery charged while I crank up the Yaesu FT-7 to a mighty 10 watts cw.  In my "go" kit I have an old J-38 key and a decades-old Yaesu hand mike.  I've used this arrangement before with good results.  A good picnic lunch and plenty of iced tea will keep the operator running for several hours.  This should be great fun in the outdoors.  If I have time, I'll erect a homebrew 2-meter beam and try to contact several repeaters on the neighbor islands.  Two meters will be served by my old, but trusty Kenwood TH-21A hand held.  I don't know how many 2-meter contacts I can make with 1 watt, but I'll try out the arrangement just for fun.

After the brief mini expedition, the xyl and I will join some neighbors in a block party.  With each home bringing something to the potluck get together, no one should go away hungry.

Enjoy the holiday and get home safely.

Aloha de KH6JRM--BK29jx15