Tag Archives: Wolf River Coils TIA

W6CSN: Activation 72 of the Presidio of San Francisco National Historic Site

Many thanks to Matt (W6CSN) who shares the following post  from his blog at W6CSN.Blog:

Activation 72

by Matt (W6CSN)

Today’s activation of the Presidio of San Francisco National Historic Site (K-7889) was pretty standard for a mid-winter POTA outing. Normally, I wouldn’t bother to write it up on this blog. After coming here 72 times there is not much new to say about it. Nevertheless, maybe somebody will find value in this field report.

Even though the weather was dry this afternoon, the radio operating began in the car where I used the FT-818 to net 14 contacts on 17 meters. I must admit being warm while doing a POTA activation is not bad!

The Bencher is a breeze to operate on the center console.

After a while, the calls started to dry up so I extended the antenna fully to get on 20 meters, but the best SWR I could get was 3:1. I suppose the lack of good bonding of the coax shield to the car body, which I’ve read about in other blog posts on qrper.com, was responsible for the less than optimal antenna match.

After taking down the badly matched roof mount antenna , I flipped the car around and backed into the parking space to set up my usual 20 meter station on the trunk lid with the antenna clamped to a steel post.

The trunk lid is where I usually operate from when at this park.

At the same time, I switched radios to the Mountain Topper MTR-4B. Previously the current draw of the FT-818 had dropped the battery voltage to 12.6v, but with the lighter load of the MTR, the voltage rebounded above 13v. The MTR-4b is designed to accept 13v, something the other radios in the MTR series are not recommended for. However the SWR in this antenna configuration was 1.0 to 1 so I felt okay to run the radio at the full 5 watts with the higher voltage.

The Wolf River coil provides a good match on 40 meters.

Unfortunately, 20 meters wasn’t performing all that great, yielding a mere four contacts. The POTA website showed several JA’s activating parks on 40 meters, so I added the Wolf River coil to the base of the antenna in hopes of hearing them. Alas, no copy, so I put out a few CQ POTA calls of my own on 7.062 MHz. W6OOD responded from Southern California, but my report was not particularly strong. And, with the light fading I decided to call it a day.

QSO map by http://tools.adventureradio.de/analyzer

Activation #72 netted a total of 19 QSOs on three different bands, coast-to-coast. Not bad for an unremarkable Friday afternoon ham radio outing.

POTA Field Report: Mount Mitchell State Park (K-2747) with the Mission RGO One transceiver

On Thursday October 15, 2020, my family made an impromptu trip to Mount Mitchell State Park to enjoy the amazing weather and gorgeous fall colors.

The Blue Ridge Parkway and Mount Mitchell State Park were predictably crowded with tourists, although nowhere near as crowded as the following three days which were “peak” leaf color days.

After arriving at the park, we claimed one of the little picnic areas tucked away from the crowds.  After a picnic lunch, I set up the station, my wife painted, one daughter caught up on her favorite book, and the other daughter took a deep dive in her recently acquired Yaesu FT-60R (and also helped me log).

And Hazel, predictably, slumbered.

I swear that dog is only awake maybe one hour a day.

On this particular activation, I didn’t want to deploy a wire antenna. Being the highest elevation east of the Mississippi river, the trees are short .

Instead, I deployed my Wolf River Coils TIA vertical antenna.

I consider the WRC vertical to be a “compromised” antenna especially in our region which is rocky and has poor ground conductivity. But at times like this when the park is crowded, it’s a great low-profile way to get on the air–and it’s self-supporting!  In any other year, I’m actually okay with my radio set-up being conspicuous–I love telling passersby about ham radio and Parks On The Air–but at the moment I choose to keep my social distance.

When I use the WRC antenna, I typically pair it with one of my favorite transceivers: the Mission RGO One.

I love the Mission RGO One. It’s a superb transceiver (indeed, my full review of it will appear in the November 2020 issue of The Spectrum Monitor magazine).

I like to pair the RGO One with the WRC vertical because the RGO One is capable of 50 watts of output power (the real max for the WRC), which I feel makes up for a bit of the antenna compromise. I typically start at QRP levels and increase wattage if I get no response.

At Mt. Mitchell, I rarely have internet access via my mobile phone, so I rely on the Reverse Beacon Network to spot me to the POTA network when I call “CQ POTA.”

Within a minute of calling CQ, I started logging stations. Thanks RBN!

I operated for almost an hour off and on. I took a few breaks during low activity to help my daughter with the FT-60R. At one point, she was in hysterics over a conversation she picked up on a local repeater. (Hysterics in a good way, fortunately. I do worry about some of the conversations I hear on local repeaters at times!)

Here’s my tally from Mt Mitchell:

Mt. Mitchell is one of our family’s favorite state parks and is accessible from my QTH via the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Unfortunately, the Blue Ridge Parkway is often closed during the winter, so we hope to make at least one more trip to Mitchell within the next few weeks.

I’ll add that this was the third time I’d taken the CW Morse “Pocket Paddle” to the field. It’s a brilliant set of paddles. It’s has a fantastic field-adjustable response. I’m uncertain if they’re on the market yet–CW Morse sent them to me for evaluation in the field.

I also have a set of N0SA paddles I love and typically keep packed in my dedicated MTR-3B pack.