This morning for the second time I headed up Red Hill (QF44NP) for some before work 2m SSB DX. This time though I had a slightly more significant antenna setup.
Last time I just used my half wave dipole on top of a 2m mast mounted up on my bullbar. This time though I had a 3m mast and my 4 element WA5VJB "Cheap Yagi".
Plus I also went with a more minimal power supply. Normally I lug around my ~30Ah Gel Cell battery, but this time I thought I'd try and go minimal with a 1.3Ah 12V SLA (see photos). This little guy worked fine, however I did notice that now and then the low power indicator (for 2.5W) was flashing – so perhaps the power output was sometimes down near 2.5W. I do have a 4Ah SLA which was the first one I grabbed for portable operation – but it's at least twice the weight – so I might run some tests with that over the week-end.
Anyway, with the new antenna and mast I setup on my bonnet so that I could easily 'peak' the antenna while watching the S meter on the FT-817. This worked a treat, as the beam has a workable F/B ratio so for the weaker VK3 signals I could really aim it as required.
Over all the session was a success with the most morning interstate contacts I've had to date (one – VK3II – with rather significant QSB – aircraft enhancement). So here's the log:
Call – Recv'd QS(T) – Sent QS(T) – Notes
VK1BG – 5/9 – 5/8 – Ian
VK2BX – 5/7 – 5/8 – Gerowa
VK2GKA – 5/7 – 5/8 – Karl @ Penrose
VK1KW – 5/9+ – 5/9+ – Rob
VK3II – 4-5/1 – 5/5-7 – Jim
VK3AJN – I could hear him, he could not hear me
A few others were heard too, but not strong enough to try and contact – especially with < 4W.
So all good fun, and really keen to get up there again before work one day soon. (Oh, and the maiden run for the Cheap Yagi was a definite success – and only took moments to erect as opposed to my 10el 2m beam.)
1 – The antenna on the mast mounted to the bull bar;
2 – A shot of the setup on my bonnet (with the nice little 1.2Ah SLA battery); and
3 – A shot up at the antenna from the ground.