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Sidmouth
The View From Peak Hill

Starting HF QRP Portable

Introduction

40m Mag Mount..
40m Mag Mount With Counterpoise

As we were shortly going on holiday to Devon and I had been unable to organise a suitable HF antenna at home I was keen to try operating QRP from the car. Picking the easy way as ever..

A few days before we were due to leave, Sean very kindly loaned me his Elecraft K2. The plan was to have a listen on the bands using an antenna on the car and perhaps contact the club station.

While in Devon I listened on 40m and on Tuesday evening drove out of Sidmouth to Peak Hill, intending to call the club station. Unfortunately the antenna could not be tuned, so transmitting had to wait. Instead I listened across the band, as all around the carpark it got very dark.. and very quiet, then quickly headed back for a Fish 'n Chip supper!

Returning home and despite further antenna adjustment the SWR was still very high. Following Sean's suggestions and a good amount of experimentation this was resolved by connecting a stylish counterpoise wire to the mag mount and trailing it away from the car.

Now the antenna was matching, it was time to "wind the power up" to 10watts (Quiet at the back..) unsucessfully, as the K2's current limiting kept kicking in. Measurements revealed a distinct lack of voltage, a grudging 10.7 volts while in transmit. This required the installation of a cable directly from the battery to a new cigar lighter, the K2's handy volts/amp display then showed a healthy voltage and current.

Finally an HF QRP portable station..

Sadars JOTA Station

On Sunday I helped with Sadars 2m JOTA station a good time was had by all. The Scouts and Guides certainly seemed to enjoy the day. All of which encouraged me to do some more operating!

Sadars CQ WW SSB Entry

The following Saturday I visited the clubs station and made my first HF contest contacts! It's fun when press the foot switch, relays click and 400W beams it's way across the pond. I left keen to get some contacts from my station.

My Humble Contribution To CQ WW SSB

Elecraft K2 Operating Position
Operating Position

Sean assured me that if I could not get contacts during this contest, I was never going to. I still wondered though, QRP portable had not gone well so far!

“Thank you. Mike One Hotel Oscar Golf. You are 59 15”

Listening to 40m on Sunday afternoon, dozens of stations are calling, many telling "Europe to standby" while they work JA stations or "Beaming Africa". Tuning and listening I wonder how my 10watts and "skill" would fair, I was soon to find out.

LX7I was the first station I contacted, great to hear my call sign for the first time on HF! Certainly some keen ears out there! So, they could hear my 10 watts and loaded whip. Greatly encouraged I slowly worked through my first 10 HF contacts over the next 2 hours..

Well at least it works. Great to hear European stations returning my call sign for the first time!! The next step is to get my Kingsdon going in the car.

Log

Date
Time Start
Time Finish
Location
Station Called
Country
Band
Power
Zone
Comments
26.10.03
16:00
 
Home (Car)
Luxenburg
40m
10w
14
First HF QSO (CQ WW)
26.10.03
 
 
Home (Car)
EI5GM
Ireland
40m
10w
14
CQ WW
26.10.03
 
 
Home (Car)
Norway
40m
10w
14
CQ WW
26.10.03
 
 
Home (Car)
41ITU
 
40m
10w
14
CQ WW
26.10.03
 
 
Home (Car)
Austria
40m
10w
15
CQ WW
26.10.03
 
 
Home (Car)
Scotland
40m
10w
14
CQ WW
26.10.03
 
 
Home (Car)
GM5A
Scotland
40m
10w
14
CQ WW
26.10.03
 
 
Home (Car)
DL2ARD
Germany
40m
10w
14
CQ WW
26.10.03
 
 
Home (Car)
DJ8UV/P
Germany
40m
10w
14
CQ WW
26.10.03
 
17:30
Home (Car)
Liechtenstein
40m
10w
14
CQ WW