POTA Field Report: Pairing the Xiegu X5105 & MFJ-1984LP on the Blue Ridge Parkway

On Monday, September 27, 2021, I had just enough time to stop by the Blue Ridge Parkway on my way back from Asheville, NC and fit in a short activation.

I had my Xiegu X5105 along for the ride and decided to pair it with the MFJ-1984LP EFHW since I knew propagation was going to be rough.

That day, Earth was being pounded by CMEs and, frankly, I didn’t know how pleasant it would be on the air.

I picked one of my favorite spots along the Blue Ridge Parkway: a grassy hill I’ve used numerous times in the past. I love this particular site because it’s incredibly rare that anyone else parks or walks there, so I can set up larger wire antennas and not have to worry about others walking into the radiator or tripping over the counterpoise.

Even though I always try to set up my antennas and gear away from foot traffic, it’s always a concern so I try to maintain a certain level of situational awareness during the activation.

Gear:

During this particular activation, I didn’t take a single photo, so the images in my post have been swiped from my activation video (below).

I set up the antenna on one side of the hill pretty much in a vertical orientation then set up my operating position (a fold-up chair) on the other side of the hill, extending all 50′ of my coaxial line.

On the air

The good news was the MFH-1984LP didn’t let me down. Despite nasty propagation and an elevated noise floor from QRN, I worked a total of ten contacts within 16 minutes on the air–all on 40 meters.

I then moved up to 30 meters. My thought was that 20 meters might be the roughest band with conditions the way they were, but 30 meters might have a little life. Thing is, the 40M end-fed half wave design is not resonant on 30 meters, but that isn’t a problem when you have a good ATU like the one built into the X5105.

I simply pressed the X5105 ATU button and it quickly found a match.

I then worked an additional six contacts on 30 meters.

In 32 minutes of time on the air, I worked 16 stations in total–not bad for a CME day!

A lot of regulars in this logbook! I’ve always said that POTA and SOTA sometimes feels like an on-the-air family reunion!

Video

I had hoped to stay in the shade of the tree the entire time, but eventually the sun peeked through. My action camera struggled with the contrast, so unfortunately, the logbook and my writing is difficult to see in part of the video. For those who follow my videos to practice CW, check your copy from the logbook above.

Click here to view on YouTube.

QSO Map

Here’s what 5 watts and a vertical EFHW can yield when our local star has an upset stomach:

Thank you

Thank you for coming along with me on this short road-side activation!

Also a special thanks to those of you who are supporting the site and channel through Patreon and the Coffee Fund. While certainly not a requirement–as my content will always be free–I really appreciate the support.

Here’s hoping you get a chance to play radio outdoors soon! Don’t let propagation get you down–even when our local star isn’t cooperating, you can still have fun on the air!

Take advice from Admiral Farragut: “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” 🙂

73,

Thomas (K4SWL)

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