A “Regional” Field Day…

Propagation conditions for HF radio waves have been rather poor, as the sun continues to inch towards the bottom of its 24th cycle… With just traces on the solar disk of sunspot AR2715, there were no large expectations of breaking any record in the ARRL Field Day, last weekend. Also, around the Ottawa area, the forecast was for some rain and it was easy to decide not to bring back the “1C ONE” QRP/Portable/Afloat station that VA3PCJ operated last year from the deck of “Sassy Gaffer” from Pinhey Point in the Ottawa River (https://thewakesileave.wordpress.com/2017/07/03/va3pcj-field-day-1c-one-qrp-afloat-from-the-ottawa-river/).

Instead, a decision was made for operating a “1E ONE” station from the QTH, with the old Icom 706MKIIG at abt 50W, powered by a 12V, 48Ah, deep-cycle battery (borrowed from the boat), charged intermittently with a Honda 1000W generator. The antenna was the 50+ Ft. end-fed long wire with the single set of elevated counterpoise cables, tuned at feed-point by an LDG RT-100 allowing the wire to be tuned in five of the HF contest bands (80m, 40m, 20m, 15m, and 10m). But there were two problems: I did not have a logging program for Field Day that could also interface with the ICOM 706MKIIG. Eventually, I resorted to old-faithful “Genlog” running in a Thinkpad T-60 with Windows XP. However, all entries had to be done manually, the only perk being the date and UTC captured directly from the computer. Also, all the exchanges had to be done using “human power”, since the ICOM 706MKIIG lacks a built-in keyer beyond its ability to produce dots and dashes with a paddle… never mind a CW decoder!

Operating in and out, some 48 contacts were logged in five bands. A few signals were heard mid-afternoon in the 10-meter band, and three QSO were completed in this band, which was a surprise, since the 10-meter band had been closed for my antenna since February 2017.

Nevertheless,  overall it really felt as if this was a “regional” radio event, with few QSOs surpassing the 2,000 Km (1,200 miles) distance. Here is proof:

VA3PCJ - FD 2018