Tag Archives: Guest Post

Scott’s “Fun Harbour-Side POTA”

Many thanks to Scott (VA3EKR) who shares the following field report:

Apr. 15, 2024, Great Lakes Waterfront Trail Recreation Site (CA-6003)

by Scott (VA3EKR)

Decided to try the other side of the harbour for the activation, in Tannery Park.

For the setup, I picked a picnic table on the north side of Walker Street, as there were larger trees there.

This is the view of the harbour from the picnic table.

The bands were misbehaving, and interestingly, I have never experienced listening to the band go very quiet suddenly, due to the solar flare and the R1 radio blackout that resulted.

I used the trusty QRP-Guys random-wire antenna with 9:1 matching transformer.

Here is a map of the QSOs. The longest distance was to the Czech Republic, 6,970km away. I also pleased at getting some California QSOs, especially using only 10 watts. Three park-to-park QSOs. Orange markers indicate 20m, Turquoise represents 15m, and Red is 17m.


After the activation, I scouted the other side of the park. This is a fairly newly-renovated park, and so I was interested in seeing what they had done with it.

I met a new friend, Pierre, who is retired from IBM, and is very into astronomy. He showed me a very nice image of the sun with sun-spots. He even has a virtual-reality display that allows you to see the images! This was nice, as my recent viewing of the solar eclipse was a complete wash-out.

The Bronte Astronomy Group has public viewings, so I will have to monitor the Facebook page and go out some time to see some nice astronomy images!

The last thing I noticed is that the sculpture they put up, is rusty and tall.

I am hoping that next time I can bring an alligator-clip, a small counterpoise wire, and I can attempt to tune up this and use it as an absurd but fun antenna!

16th Floor QRP: Coffee break portable at the office

Many thanks to Bill (KG4FXG) who shares the following guest post:

Return to the Office:  Operating portable during coffee breaks (Atlanta to England)

by Bill Carter (KG4FXG)

Have you ever thought about operating from your work location?  Perhaps during lunch or a coffee break?  What if that location was downtown in a big city?

In my case, I work in a 17 floor Skyscraper.

The building has several large outside balconies on the 5th, 10th, and 17 floors.  There is also a green space on the 5th floor that is a grassy area with a lawn and trees.  What are all the possibilities here for portable operation? Let’s find out!

Amateur Radio is about learning, and to that end we may build antennas, perhaps QRP Rigs, and other things.  I’ve been building many QRPGuys and Tufteln antennas.  I also use a few that I’ve purchased, such as the Chelegance MC-750, AX1, Gabil Vertical Antenna GRA-7350TC [gear links below].

Sometimes, the weather does not play nice and I’m forced to try operating indoors.  Here I am using the Chelegance MC-750 on the 16th floor where I have clearance all the way to the top of the 17th floor.

The antenna almost touches the ceiling on the 17th floor.  I was able to make a contact in England: John G4RCG.  His location was in Kirkhamgate, Wakefield–about 11 miles from Leeds. We were able to exchange names but that was about it on 20M.

This antenna is amazing, I can’t wait to try it outside in our green space.

I was using the Elecraft KX2 but I have several QRP Rigs that I have brought to the office.  Such as the Norcal 40, Elecraft K1, both of which were kits I built.  I started QRP back in 1999 before there was POTA.  Back then, you had to build your radio.  Most did back then.

Learning about propagation has been interesting.  It is not ideal to operate indoors.  One simple way I test conditions is to see if I can hit the reverse beacon network.

Here’s a screenshot of the Reverse Beacon (below) while I was using the Chelegance MC-750 on 20 meters:

(Click to enlarge)

Simple Office Setup

I work for the railroad.  You will notice my mug says Taggart.  Some humor here, but that is from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.  Story about a railroad and so much more.

Here is the Green Space on the 5th floor.  Could you use this space for portable operations?

Here is pictured where I operated off the 10th floor balcony.  The view is amazing!

For the balcony, I just throw a wire over the glass railing.  The balcony is huge with many tables and chairs for lunch.  I have used K4SWL’s Speaker Wire antenna build here.

My hours are very unusual.  I normally work from 2AM to 5PM and I leave to drive home at 11AM.  I love telecommuting for work these days.  So, when I operate, it is around 3AM or 4AM.  Not ideal times for POTA, but a great time of day to work DX!

I have so much more to try.  I have a Spiderbeam Pole and SOTABEAMS Pole that I am playing with as well.  I also have the Alex Loop Antenna that I will try from work.

Another operating position: here I am inside running RG-316 through the door to the 10th Floor Balcony.  I am using Thomas’s Speaker Wire antenna here.

One of the challenges that I face at 3AM is cold temperatures and wind.  There can be wind around these large buildings that can make operating difficult.  In cases of cold weather, I just opt for the little table and chair next to the door.  Besides, the coffee stays warmer longer inside!

New buildings make it very difficult if not impossible to get an RF signal out.  Getting an antenna outside is key.  And even then, that does not guarantee success.  The building’s corners have glass conference rooms.  You feel like you are outside, but I haven’t found a really good location for QRP.  That said, there are many more options to try.

Have you tried operating from your work location, perhaps at lunch?  Maybe as a POTA chaser?  What is your go-to method and set up?  Check out more of my shack on QRZ.



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