Portable-Afloat from the cove at “Horaceville”

The forecast for Friday June 3rd and Saturday June 4th was a of clear weather with good winds. I planned to spend the night at anchor either on the lee of Aylmer Island or at the “Horaceville” cove in Pinhey Point, returning Saturday afternoon after a BBQ onboard and some HF radio “portable afloat”.

On Friday the skies were clear with fluffy small cumulus, the temperature was in the mid 20ºC and the wind was steady between 5 and 10 Kts. with long gusts reaching 20 Kts. At deck level some gusts peaked at 18 Kts. and the maximum gust speed reported at the Ottawa International Airport (by Weather Canada) was 39 km/h (21 Kts). Only one problem: the wind was blowing from the NW… exactly against the direction upriver. The river had 1-2 Ft. waves and gusts could be seen coming over the water (darker waters with waves with small white crests). It seemed perfect for tacking upriver… and it was: after some dozen tacks Sassy was on her way to the anchorage.


Pictures of the two-day adventure can be seen here: http://picasaweb.google.com/jose.campione/6292774841222464241

Radio-wise it was also an eventful trip:

On Friday evening I experimented on how to rig an 85 Ft. antenna on a 17 Ft. sailboat with a 17 Ft. mast… The antenna was the W3EDP in its “flimsy” version, and the trick was to use a 43 Ft. telescopic mast (from an S9 antenna) with the wire threaded through a ring affixed to its tip. With the mast fully extended, the tip of the antenna was brought forward and attached with a small cord at the bow of the boat. It roughly formed an inverted narrow “Vee” with a 21º angle at the top. The W3EDP has a reputation for being able to be deployed in different shapes, and certainly this sharp angle did not seem to affect much the signals that were heard in the only three HF bands active at the time: 20m, 40m and 80m.

On the morning of the 4th, after the mandatory cockpit breakfast of coffee and toasts I rowed the Sportyak II to land for a stroll in the park. Back at the boat I decided to operate CW. For this I rigged the 20m-band Par EndFedZ using a 10-metre SotaBeams telescopic “travel” mast. The radio was the KX3 at 5 Watts. Here is the harvest :

  • WW2DD (USS Cassin Young Radio Group) operating in the Museum Ships Weekend (MSW) from USS Cassin Young (DD-793) at the Charleston Navy Yard in Boston Historic Park (NPOTA HP04), Boston, MA.
  • II1TLA, in Alpignano, Italy (West of Turin).
  • W8COD, Bill KA8VIT (USS Cod Amateur Radio Club), also operating in the Museum Ships Weekend (MSW) from USS Cod Submarine (SS-224) in Cleveland OH.
  • F6HKA, Bert, operating from Couerrassas near Limoges, France, in the IARU Region 1 CW Field Day.
  • NB8F, Andy, calling CQ SKCC from Howell MI, with whom I exchange RST reports, names, QTH’s and SKCC numbers.

For the first four contacts I used the Palm single paddle with the KX3 keyer at abt. 21 wpm. For the last, since SKCC does not allow the use of keyers, I used the same Palm as a “cootie” sidesweeper. Two trans-continental, two ship-to-ship and one SKCC QSOs, all with only 5 Watts and a 30 Ft. wire, while gently rocking and swinging at anchor in an idyllic cove… not bad for a day with SSN=0 (zero Sun Spot).

I weighed anchor past noon. With no wind on sight I leisurely motored at hull speed the seven nautical miles to the marina.



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