Fariba and I headed for Frontenac Provincial Park this past weekend to do some portaging and canoe camping. We got beautiful weather! During the trip, we encountered a swimming snake, a large snapping turtle, sunfish protecting their nests, a chipmunk, four thousand mosquitos, four hundered deerfly, one deer and loads of interesting bugs. And… no bears 😉
We had tons of fun canoeing in this beautiful park, we learned more back country skills/lessons, and of course I got to play radio. After dinner on Saturday night I got a fire going, poured myself a generous 21 year old Scotch and fired up my KX1. I was able to get my W3EDP up as a sloper up about 45′. On Saturday night I heard Mike VA3MPM on the 3730 group net so I gave him a call. Mike reported that my signal was pretty decent up at his cottage in VE2-land.
The bands were quite noisy but I was able to complete QSOs with AA8V Greg in Frostburg, MD… KB1CL Wilbur near Boston, MA… and a 2 X QRP QSO with WB9DLC Mike in IN with using his PFR3. Finally, I did try a QSO with F3NB on 40m and was able to sneak into his log.
During Sunday morning breakfast (Outrageous Outback Oatmeal and Re-hydrated blueberries) I called into the Pot Hole Net. Ed VE3GX was the net controller. Unfortunately, Ed could not hear me well enough. Mike VA3TJP jumped in and offered to relay me into the net but he was not acknowledged, I guess no one was hearing him either. I did enjoy listening along though… I especially enjoyed Ernie’s comments about my University Town – Edinburgh, Scotland. After the net officially closed I had a brief chat with Bob VA3QV and José VA3PCJ who were hearing me though not strongly. I also tried to check in to the Pot Lid Net but I guess I missed the QNI call and Ed wasn’t hearing me in the last QNI call either 😥
I heard all the stations, a couple of the net participants (VE3EJJ and VE3BNO) were actually painfully strong. There’s absolutely no man made electrical noise in the park interior 😀 …I did some antenna analysis and I think I know what I did wrong. On 80m I had a 2.7:1 SWR when I had both my 16′ and 32′ counterpoises extended. I coiled up the 32′ counterpoise and my SWR improved to 1:1 so I figured my signal would be stronger. I just crunched the numbers in EZNEC and actually the antenna gain would have been -1.5dB *less* than if I had left the counterpoise extended. 😳
Anyway here are some detailed SSB signal reports for those stations I was receiving:
VA3PCJ 32 peaking 44
VE3EMB 22 peaking 33
VE3GX 43 peaking 55
VE3EJJ 58 peaking 59+
VA2BBW 56 peaking 58
VE3YY 59 peaking 59+
VA3QV 32 peaking 44
After both nets I enjoyed another 2 X QRP contact, this time with Will K9FO who was running 5W from a Flex 1500 SDR.
All in all, a very fun camping trip!