Tag Archives: Plessey PRC-320

IX1CKN: Packing the PRC-320 on an activation of Tsatelet Natural Reserve

Many thanks to Christian (IX1CKN) who shares the following field report:

Activation of I-0120

by Christian (IX1CKN)

After “infecting” Andrea (IW0HK) with the use of military surplus for POTA activations, on December 26, 2023, I decided to repeat the experience. I brought the Plessey PRC-320 to the 791 meters of the Tsatelet Natural Reserve / I-0120.

With its 11 kg weight, two images came to mind. The first was from an article on QST dedicated to “green radios,” where it was said: “if you’re not fit, carrying one on your back will make you.” So true, even truer.

The other reminded me of all the Army officer cadets (who attended courses at in Aosta for years) that, specializing in transmissions, carried stations (also) on short waves on their shoulders around my Valley to ensure connections (I’ve seen some beautiful photos just in the past few days, here: http://www.rosti1.it/fixed/ja_AUC_BN/).

After 10 minutes of walking, I didn’t have much more left. Wonder how they made it…

After dispelling the mysticism, once at the destination, I set up the PRC in manpack configuration: with its whip vertical antenna and the counterpoise consisting of four coils to be laid on the ground.

Finding a frequency in 20 meters, I started calling. Propagation in phases, but a satisfying activation emerged, with 40 contacts scattered throughout Europe in 70 minutes on the air, including 5 “park to park.” Among them, even IW0HK, who was at Montemario Park.

A small curiosity: with the Christmas Eve activity, I had exhausted the dedicated logbook since 2013 for portable operations. To continue, I used the “Radio Adventure Journal” that I had seen mentioned on a Facebook group (being available on Amazon [QRPer affiliate link]).

It’s nice to see a program like POTA spreading like wildfire, not only in practice but also for some “accessories.” Thanks to everyone for the contacts.

Chris activates Les Iles Nature Reserve with his Plessey PRC-320!

Many thanks to Christian (IX1CKN) who shares the following field report:

Activation of I-0395

by Chris (IX1CKN)

Hey folks, I just wanted to share my activation at the Les Iles Nature Reserve (I-0395) on Christmas Eve (December 24, 2023)!

It’s been a while since I last visited (in July). The weather was perfect, around 20 degrees Celsius, and I was in the mood for a real outdoor activation.

I decided to go with the manpack Plessey PRC-320, a trusty companion delivering a solid 25 watts. I wanted to be one with nature, so no benches or bird-watching huts this time.

Got off to an exciting start on 20 meters with two stations from the UK recognizing my gear. One even complimented the excellent modulation with a whopping 9+10 signal strength, giving me hope for the rest of the activation. Then came a Spanish station, the always attentive IX1VKK Rinaldo (following me from home), a colleague from the Netherlands, another Brit, and then… silence. I kept calling for another 5 minutes, but no luck.

Could it be the morning flare that affected propagation? Who knows, but I noticed on the POTA cluster that another Italian colleague was activating on 28 MHz and being spotted by several American Hams. I decided to give it a try, found a clear frequency locally, and started calling. And guess what? Responses from across the Atlantic started pouring in – Massachusetts, Georgia, and even a park-to-park with Jim KC1QDZ from Brenton Point State Park in Rhode Island.

Short video:

Maybe not my first contact with a U.S. park on 10 meters, but definitely a memorable one.

Signal reports weren’t super strong, hovering around 5/3-5/4, but hey, as long as the noise floor isn’t sky-high, that signal is enough to complete the QSO. Moved to a different frequency as the band was buzzing with North American stations – Kentucky, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Maryland.

An hour in, and I’ve logged 12 contacts. Pretty incredible considering that what “saved” my activation were stations on the other side of the ocean. Europe on 20 meters was a bit challenging, but hey, that’s ham radio for you. You’d think POTA, with its simple and not-so-full-power setups, is a local affair, and then, on Christmas Eve, you realize DX is very much on the table.

I turn around, a duck dives in, and the last rays of sunlight caress the wetlands. Perfect way to end it.