28 July 2015

Flight of the Bumblebees 2015. N4HAY. Jordan Lake NC

I really enjoyed the FOBB this year. Unlike last year the bands were in good shape and the wx was beautifully mild. I set up in roughly the same spot as last year only this time I deployed a far superior antenna system. My operation did not involve a major trek since I merely walked from the car park to a nearby picnic table. Oh well perhaps next year I will commit to more of an adventure hi.

The FOBB was held on Sunday afternoon from 1pm - 5pm Eastern time zone. Check out the following link for The Adventure Radio Society Flight of the Bumblebees details of the contest rules.

I set up at the Ebeneezer State Park at Jordan Lake North Carolina. This is about a 20minute drive from my QTH. I arrived on site at noon. First I had to build a 40m dipole. I was not well prepared for this contest! I then deployed my 20m and 40m dipoles. This turned out to be more of a challenge than I had judged. Thus I was only QRV an hour into the contest. However once my antennas were deployed they were very effective. My 40m dipole was beaming N-S and was up about 55 ft agl. My 20m dipole was beaming W-E and was up about 45ft. I used my trusty slingshot to launch the antennas to this height.

Rig was a K2 running on the internal battery. I ran a frequency and S&P about 50/50. Battery indicated voltage on the K2 was down to 11volts by the end of the contest.

Band conditions were good and I was able to work almost all stations that I heard. I had the feeling that I could have done better with a W-E facing 40m dipole. Lesson learnt here was to stick to a simple inverted-vee doublet center-fed with ladder line next time. Ideally deployed in such a way that I could change the orientation easily. I am sure I could have done better if I had been better prepared.

I also had problems with my pen that would not write properly! This brings to mind the reason why early astronauts used pencils on their early missions hi!

I was unable to copy my fellow Knights from the Knightlites QRP club Sirs Derek W4FI, JP AB4PP and Paul AA4XX indicating that the 40m band was long.

I look forward to next year's adventure with much anticipation. Many thanks to all stations who worked N4HAY. 72 de Dick.

Log of N4HAY. FOBB 2015. Jordan Lake

N4HAY. FOBB 2015. Suffering no pain!

24 July 2015

Headset Technical Specification comparison

I did a little technical comparison, based on online technical specifications, between the shown headsets. I found it interesting. Perhaps not surprising. On a qualitative level I note a 'very big' difference in sensitivity between the David Clarks and my Sennheisers. However I assume that I am driving them with an amplifier (a current audio  amplifier in my Elecraft K2 ham radio) and  may not necessarily be optimized for either.

I also do notice a difference in both low and high range frequencies between my Sennheiser and Earpods on listening tests. But still the Earpods are very very good and have to be some of the best value for money on the planet?

I would say that all 3 headphones would benefit from a Headphone Amplifier. 

Also note that the SPL measurement is made at one frequency only. Generally seems to be 1KHz. So the sensitivity may seriously degrade at the ends of the claimed bandwidth.

It is interesting to note the technical differences between the sets as optimized for different applications.

Given the complexity of comparing headphones due to many parameters way beyond this list I would think that the 'crowd sourcing' method of opinions may be the best way to make a determination as to which headset is best for you.

Headset technical comparison

18 July 2015

Field Day 2015. WQ4RP. The Knightlites

As in all previous years for me, Field Day 2015 with The Knightlites was a total pleasure! A great adventure and an opportunity to learn and appreciate the challenges presented from operating in the great outdoors in less than ideal circumstances. Certainly that was the case this year!

Four intrepid Knights Sirs Derek W4FI, Joe WA4GIR, JP AB4PP and Dick N4HAY operated Field Day as WQ4RP, Class 3A Battery, NC from the Holly Point State Park at Falls Lake North Carolina.

The Great Setup. Pics by Joe WA4GIR

Sir JP and Sir Derek before the action began. Pic by W4CHX Karl

Violent thunderstorms on Friday evening, and Saturday, destroyed a tent and relegated some of the Knights to sleeping in their cars. But the intrepid few remained at the Key...Sending and Receiving in spite of it all! Great adventure, camaraderie and plain good fun was had for sure.

MRE's issued by Sir JP just in case.  Pic by W4CHX Karl
A shelter destroyed by a violent thunderstorm. Pic by JP AB4PP
20m operating position.
20m operation position. Pic by Joe WA4GIR

Sir Derek WF4I pounding the key on 20m on Sunday morning

40M operating position. Pics Joe WA4GIR

Sir JP at the key. 80m, 15m, 10m operating position. Pic by Joe WA4GIR

Mason (or Consul) Jar LED lamp. A South African product
The Knight's Trebuchet built by Sir Gary N3GO.
This weapon gave us at least a 3dB advantage!
Some finer details of the event.



Operating Conditions

Lessons Learned

Inventory Checklist

DUP Sheet

Here find Band analytical information: 

10 meters

15 meters

20 meters

40 meters

80 meters

All Bands

WQ4RP The Knightlites. Field Day 2015 QTH.  Pic by W4CHX Karl