Category: HFPack

QRP Demo Day & QRP Chillicon

By , September 18, 2011 11:22 pm

OARC Photo

OARC Photo

Saturday was a QRP bonanza!

I arranged to pick up Bob VA3QV at the Ottawa Amateur Radio Club‘s QRP Demonstration Day at Britannia park.  I spent a thoroughly enjoyable half an hour at the tail end of the event checking out some great QRP field stations.  Check out Chris VA3CME‘s excellent video of the event here.  You can find Bob’s write up for both events hereMike VE3ZY (VE3FFK) was making a contact with KB1PBA in the New England QRP Club‘s QRP Afield contest.  I couldn’t hardly wait to get active in that event later in the day :mrgreen:

Video (press play)



Bob and I drove down to the Rideau River Provincial Park, sending APRS beacons as we drove…  we got the park around 2pm and met up with the Ottawa Valley QRP Society‘s Chillicon Campers and spent some time socializing (that’s the most fun part of Chillicon!). 

Chillicon is an annual weekend campout featuring divine coffee, red hot chilli, eclectic beer, resistors, capacitors and wire.  Lots of wire.


Read Bill VE3CLQ‘s excellent account of Chillicon here and Michael’s account here.

It’s been a long time since I have operated pedestrian mobile.  I recently purchased a book entitled “Amateur Radio Pedestrian Mobile Handbook” written be Ed Breneiser, WA3WSJ and it re-kindled my interest in this style of operating. 



I wound 28′ of #26AWG teflon coated, silver plated wire onto 24′ of Jackite fiberglass pole and inserted it into a frame made of PVC plumbing zipped into a small backpack and hooked it up to my KX1 strapped to a clipboard with rubber bands.  I connected a 32′ drag wire with a crocodile-clip-to-crocodile-clip quick release and went a’walkin’ around the park starting around 3pm.

The antenna tuned up nicely on 20m, 30m and 40m.  I was using 2W on 40m and 1W on 20m.  I split my time between calling CQ QRP de CF3SIE/PM and seeking out others operating in the New England QRP Club’s QRP Afield event (calling CQ QRP).  My first QSO was on 40m with Cal K4JSI in Maryland.  Cal gave me RST 559. 

Sittin on the dock of the bay...

Sittin' on the dock of the bay...

I wandered over to a dock which extends out into the Rideau River and I walked out into the river.  I cast my drag wire out into the river in the hope that it would improve my signal strength.  It did actually seem to make a difference.  Dave AB9CA was just booming in from Loxley, Alabama with 5W.  We exchanged RST 579 both ways.

I called CQ for a while and hooked Dave NE5DL running 5W from the Lone Star State.  Dave gave me an RST 549.  My next QSO was also with Texas, it was Andy WA5RML.  The best thing about these QRP sprints is re-connecting with all these guys!  As I was walking back off the dock, I gave another call to Bob N4BP whom I had called earlier in the contest unsuccessfully.  Bob was gradually getting stronger.  Bob heard me and we exchanged RST 599 both ways.

I walked back into the campground (catching my antenna several times on the trees … hi) and caught up with the action.  Ying VA3YH had arrived :-)    Everyone was having a blast, so I walked back out to the cleared are by the river and tuned to 40m.

River Portable

River Portable

Suddenly I heard ‘CQ SOTA‘ (Summits-On-The-Air).  As luck would have it, I had stumbled upon J.P. CF2SG who was portable on the summit of the Grand Morne mountain in the Appalachian Mountains near the city of Thetford Mines in Chaudière-Appalaches.  J.P. gave me a huge, welcoming GRRRR  (the call of the wild QRP Polar Bear) and we exchanged signal reports for SOTA chaser points.

You can view J.P.’s video here.

I dashed back into the campground to let the others know that J.P. was on 40m.  Michael VE3WMB was successful to work J.P. but Pat VE3EUR missed him by only a few short seconds (those summit stations don’t hang around!)

My final QSO of the day was with Budd W3FF in California (… of Buddipole fame…).  The contact was tough going, RST 229 with QRM, so we kept it brief.

Chillicon wrapped up with ordering in pizza, partaking of the boundless hospitality of the OVQRP fellas, drinking a can of Rolling Rock beer, the official beverage of the QRP Polar Bears given to me my Michael and throwing some logs on the campfirefire! …great fun!

73 and thanks, guys!!

VA3SIE/PM webcam calling W0RW/PM webcam!

By , December 21, 2009 7:16 pm

This morning I checked the QRP-L list and I saw an announcement from Paul W0RW that he was planning to operate pedestrian mobile within view of the web cam at the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument in Colorado.

Great idea Paul to operate from within view of a web cam!

I glanced at my watch and realized that if I left the house in the next few minutes I would have enough time to get to a local web cam and make contact with Paul webcam-to-webcam!

Here’s a video of the web cams which I captured while I was out…

Before leaving the house, I set my PC to monitor both Pauls webcam and my webcam and take snapshots once per minute.

So I dashed downstairs, grabbed (almost) all the stuff I needed, fired up my APRS radio and walked to the park.  Hmm, now that I’m home I see that my APRS packets were not making it to APRS-IS, will need to look into this – maybe my radio was off frequency.  Anyhoo, I got to the park around 1715Z and set up the pedestrian mobile antenna on a park bench, and I was on the air on 20m around 1750Z – 10 minutes before Paul was due to QSY to 14342.5kHz USB.

I realise that I had forgotten my pencil so I had to copy morse in my head – a skill which could use some improvement.

Unfortunately I could not hear Paul on 14061kHz 😥 …  I did throw my callsign in there a couple of times just in case but no joy I think the band was too long.  Just before 1800Z I heard a station calling me, it was Michael VE3WMB he was watching me walking around the park on the web cam!  Cool – thanks for the call Michael.

It was interesting to hear the emissions from OC Transpo buses on 20m.  Everytime a bus would stop at a nearby bus stop I would hear a very interesting (and pretty loud) pulsing noise.

Right after Michael, Budd W3FF called me.  His signal report was 529 and when I thought about it I realized why…  I had placed my batteries inside my fleece to keep them warm but I had forgotten to connect them to the radio so I was on the internal (almost completely depleted) batteries and must have been putting out around 0.5W of power.  I connected the batteries and Michael mentioned I jumped up to around an S7 at his station.

Click for full size

Click for full size

I QSY‘ed to 14342.6kHz at 1800Z and walked around for another hour hoping the propagation would change and Paul would pop out of the noise.  A couple of times I did hear him but in each case I got only 10 to 15 seconds of speech and nothing more.  I also popped my callsign out (in CW) a few times.  After an hour I had not managed to contact Paul  😥   Oh well maybe next time, propagation was not with us today.

I QSY‘ed back to 14061kHz once or twice and called CQ once or twice.  One of the times I did that I got a call from NG7N (?) Paul.  Well I think I copied Paul’s callsign down wrong because says NG7N is Craig.  Oops.  That’s the problem with not having a pencil along.

Here’s some videos I shot:

72 / 73 de Dittie Bear.

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