On Sunday, I met up with Michel VE3EMB on the roof of Carleton University next to the Dan Kessler Observatory. I set up an inductively loaded 31′ fiberglass pole (approximately 45′ wrapped helically onto 29′ of the pole) with a tapped base loading coil on the railing fed against 16′ of RG-174 shield snaked across the roof. I set the tap for maximum noise and then fine tuned it for minimum SWR (4:1) and the KXAT1 tuner brought it to 1:1. As I was setting up my antenna, I caught sight of José VA3PCJ on my VX-8r’s APRS screen, he was driving to his operating location for the net.
As luck (or lack thereof) would have it there was extremely loud electrical impulse noise centered on 3.760MHz (the pot hole net frequency). The noise was only around 5kHz wide but it wiped out the net frequency. There was no noise evident elsewhere on 80m or anywhere on the 20m, 30m and 40m bands either (what bad luck!!) I tried a different location for the antenna but it was just as noisy there.
Right when the net started, the noise stopped for a few minutes so I was able to get checked in and thereafter I was able to hear most of the action. Everyone had good strong SSB signals except for Ante VA2BBW but he’s over in Gatineau and the distance attenuated his signal somewhat.
The SSB net finished very early and that gave me a chance to sit down with Michel and compare my KX1with his. He just build his. We did find some differences and fixing them has made a big difference to Michel’s KX1 so it was a valuable exercise. We heard Dennis WA2USA on 20m chatting to another station (whom we could not hear). The last time that Michel and I worked Dennis we were at the summit of Mont Morissette (you can read about that here) doing a summits on the air activation. We made contact with Dennis using Michel’s KX1 & buddipole combo, in fact it was the first QSO which his KX1 ever made. As I was chatting with Dennis, the top of the hour approached so I excused myself and went back over to my own station.
I re-tuned my coil for 3.620MHz which is where the pot lid slow speed CW net meets. The lack of noise was an immense pleasure after the brutal punishment listening on 3.760MHz. I was able to hear all the net participants very well including Ante VA2BBW (what a difference CW makes to signal strength) and I checked in and out of the net (I had to get going to meet my family elsewhere in the city by bike).
All in all a really fun morning on the radio!