Friday, March 17, 2023 was a dreary, rainy day.
It was the sort of day made for reading a good book by the fireplace or…in my case…activating a park!
I don’t let rain stop me from playing radio in the field. I carry a rain fly in my car pretty much all of the time so if push comes to shove, I can create a dry space to play radio.
That said, a number of parks I frequent have large covered picnic shelters, so why not use what’s already there?
That particular Friday, I had one particular park and one particular goal in mind.
G106 + BCI Filter
If you’d like to see photos of the build, check out this post.
I built this BCI filter specifically to pair with the Xiegu G106 transceiver. Why? Because the G106 is prone to overload if you’re anywhere near an AM broadcaster.
The last time I visited Fort Dobbs State Historic Site (K-6839), a local AM broadcaster bled through the audio of the G106. I was able to complete the activation without any issues at all–in fact, it was a very successful activation (read the report here).
Still, I did feel that the receiver was a bit less sensitive due to the broadcaster overwhelming the front end of the radio.
That Friday, I wanted to pair my Xiegu G106 with the new in-line BCI filter to see if that might mitigate the interference I experienced before.
Fort Dobbs State Historic Site (K-6839)
After arriving at Fort Dobbs, and before taking my gear out of the car, I made my way to the park office (in the log cabin at the end of the sidewalk above) and asked for permission to use their picnic shelter.
Fortunately, no one had the shelter reserved so the park staff gave me an all clear to play radio as long as I wished. Woo hoo!
I went back to the car, grabbed my radio gear, and walked to the picnic shelter.
Instead of deploying an end-fed half-wave, I decided to use my Chelegance MC-750 vertical.
(Note that I include the full antenna deployment in my activation video below.)
I decided to start on 20 meters since that band had broadcast bleed-through during the last activation. I set the MC-750 whip to 20 meters (see above) and connected the antenna to the G106.
The G106 has no SWR or Power Output meter, so I had no way of confirming the SWR, but the MC-750 has been so reliably on the mark, I had no worries.
I turned on the G106 and heard no AM broadcast bleed-through.
It’s possible, I suppose, that the station was off the air this time or (more likely) that the MC-750, set to 20 meters, wasn’t receiving the AM broadcast signal as well as the larger 40 meter end-fed half-wave I deployed last time. I didn’t think about it at the time, but it would have been interesting to see if adding the 40M coil to the MC-750 would have made a difference.
All the same, I added the in-line BCI filter in the mix because the G106 receiver could be affected negatively even if broadcast signal isn’t audible.
Time to hop on the air!
- Xiegu G106 (note: using this link will include a $15 discount for you and a commission to QRPer.com)
- K9DP BCI Filter Kit
- Chelegance MC-750
- Key cable: Cable Matters 2-Pack Gold-Plated Retractable Aux Cable – 2.5 Feet
- Begali Traveler
- Blue Ridge Overland Gear Gadget Bag
- Bioenno 3 aH LiFePo Battery (Model BLF-1203AB)
- Rite In The Rain Weatherproof Cover/Pouch
- GraphGear 0.9mm 1000 Automatic Drafting Pencil
- Rite In The Rain Notepad
- N1JEO Battery Tester (contact Joel for availability)
- Camera: original OSMO Action Camera (the OSMO 3 is the current version) with Sensyne Phone Tripod
On The Air
Within 10 minutes, I worked my first ten contacts thus securing a valid POTA activation.
I continued answering calls and added 26 more hunters to the logs.
My battery died!
Right as I was signing off with Mark (W7GCY). Thankfully, I was able to complete my contact with him, he just didn’t hear the last letter of my suffix as I signed off.
I can’t think of the last time this has happened to me: I’m pretty meticulous about re-charging my batteries.
I grabbed my simple N1JEO battery tester from my field pack and hooked it up to the Bioenno battery only to realize (of course!), the BMS completely shut down the battery. (Note that in the next field report and video, I’ll show how the N1JEO battery tester works.)
In the end, I logged a total of 36 stations in 41 minutes! I was a happy camper.
Here’s what this 5 watt activation looked like when plotted out on a QSO Map. You can tell that the 20 meter band was very productive, and just a bit short that day.
Here’s my real-time, real-life video of the entire activation. As with all of my videos, I don’t edit out any parts of the on-air activation time. In addition, I have monetization turned off on YouTube, although that doesn’t stop them from inserting ads before and after my videos.
If I can hold onto the loaner G106 a bit longer before shipping it back to Radioddity, I’ll take it back to Fort Dobbs and deploy a 40 meter end-fed half-wave again. I’d like to hear the difference with the BCI filter in-line.
Back at the QTH, the BCI filter has effectively mitigated AM broadcast bleed through on the G106.
Post-activation, I realized that I had indeed used this same 3Ah battery with the G106 during a different activation–in other words, this was the second activation on one charge. Most of my other general coverage QRP rigs can do multiple activations on one charge of a 3Ah battery, but the G106 does use 2-3 times more current than, say, my KX2, KX3, or TX-500.
I contemplated grabbing my MTR-3B kit and 9V 3Ah battery from the car–I believe I mention this in the video–but in the end, I decided against it. I would have only been able to play radio a few more minutes before needing to pack up anyway.
Note that the G106 can operate down to 9VDC, so I’m guessing the fully-charged 9V 3Ah battery pack in my MTR-3B kit would have given me quite a bit more air time. It’s a good thing that the G106 has a fairly wide voltage range (9-15VDC).
Alternatively, I could have hooked up the MTR-3B to my 9V battery and played radio for a few hours longer. It uses something like 20mA in receive, 500 mA in transmit! It’s insanely stingy current-wise.
I hope you enjoyed the field report and my activation video as much as I enjoyed creating them. I love this stuff!
Of course, I’d also like to send a special thanks to those of you who have been 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.
As I mentioned before, the Patreon platform connected to Vimeo make it possible for me to share videos that are not only 100% ad-free, but also downloadable for offline viewing. The Vimeo account also serves as a third backup for my video files.
Thanks for spending part of your day with me! Here’s wishing you an amazing week ahead! Go out there and play some radio if you can!
Cheers & 72,