I wanted to take part from home and had strung up my ZS6BKW open wire fed multiband antenna but the QRM I was getting and me switching the household TV on and off with each transmission wasn’t going to work. My XYL suggested we go away for the weekend and then I can take part in the contest from our little house down by the dry, burning, river. So that became the plan, much like a RaDAR ops but this time it would be “fixed station” (in another building) RaDAR. I packed the car with all I needed and maybe a little more. Elrika sorted out the logistics side of things like food and milk for coffee, can’t be without coffee 🙂
I went through a few hours before the contest to set up station. I put up simple wire antennas, one was the adjustable “clothes line” antenna and my trusty (QRP!) 40m end fed. I used my telescopic fiberglass “Eskom pole” for the mast guyed with nylon line and strong tent pegs. Didn’t want it to come down and damage the roof!
It was difficult to set up the antenna for lowest SWR, a guess at best, a matter of correct length working blind really relying on previous markers. Eventually I used it for 20m getting a reasonably good SWR and used the QRP end fed for 40m NVIS.
I’d never really used computer logging before but had played with the N1MM+ Logger software a day or two prior. I must say it was a pleasure. I’m used to writing hand written logs working in the field mostly. I was spoilt – no doubt!
I set up a nice comfortable station inside, the RG58cu coax coming through the window and a 220v a.c. supply from the wall socket just behind the table. This was “fixed station” RaDAR!
The Heil headset wasn’t doing too well. One or two reports on the audio forced me to use a standard mic and headphone. It could have been settings, I’m not sure.
Making contacts was reasonably easy with a surprising number of local participants. DX a little more difficult. At least I was heard by the RBN but heard from a friend in Germany that there were extremely strong signals from Europe that made it difficult for a two way QSO.
I had an easy SSB QSO with India though but seems my 100W signal was easily heard there on 20m. Certainly the clothes line antenna was doing it’s work!
After sunsent, things quietened down somewhat and I did my admin for the day uploading ADIFs to the “cloud”. My contacts were as follows :
Well it was fun but now looking forward to the RaDAR challenge in November. That’s my focus for now. The 897 needs to go through a few on foot tests beforehand …. The 817 will be an alternative QRP solution.
73 de Eddie ZS6BNE