02 April 2013

Cedar Lakes picnic bench upper lake

Today, Easter Saturday March 30th, I took a walk and set up my field station from a nice picnic bench with a lapa for shade. A lovely view from here looking NW across towards the Lion Park. There is a tree about 50 feet away which I was able to get my yoghurt bottle over in one shot. I reckon practice makes perfect. I find it quite easy to get the end of the EHHW up at 20 feet with the center up about 10-12 feet. I still find that the launch rope is too sticky for this application. It is often more effort to get the weight to fall to the ground than it is to launch to 20 feet. I also need to think about getting the middle of the wire up at 20 feet in a kind of inverted Vee config. Max radiation takes place from the center of this antenna according to what I have read since it is basically a dipole (albeit NVIS config). This is an interesting area to explore further.
I quickly fed the other end of the efhw wire through a convenient spar atop the grass lapa shading and down to the picnic table. I was QRV after about 15 minutes set up time at 14:15hrs local. I started calling on 7020KHz and was answered by ZS4SF om Monk in Welkom, We had an good chat although Monk was having some trouble copying me from time to time due to heavy QSB. I would receive a 599 report and then next over, the signal would drop to a zero on his scale. He even tried swapping radios to see if an improvement could be obtained. I had no trouble copying his QRP and QRO signal fb. The propagation conditions definitely were down since I only copied the ZS6LP antenna test signal at 549. Grid square KG33xu.
At 14:00 hrs local I checked into the ZS0AWA net run this week by ZS6AJY om Barrie. Also on the net was ZS6AZP Dave from Irene. I copied Dave's QRP signal FB and I look forward to working Dave and his QRP signal in the future.

Lessons learnt this trip:

  1. Take a cloth to clean the picnic table
  2. Take some timing measurements for set-up time as a measure of improvements in technique
  3. Write in detail what the steps are for a fast and smooth field deployment

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