Monday, May 18, 2015

SOTA Mountain Goat Trophy Arrives

My engraved SOTA Mountain Goat trophy finally arrived. It took 118 summit activations to earn this little piece of glass making it priceless, to me at least.

My Ph.D. in Portable Mountain Ops
No two trophies are alike, each is hand chiseled. Pretty cool!!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Dayton Finale

Dayton Hamvention 2015 is over for me. I have a plane to catch Sunday morning so I made my final rounds through Hara Arena just before 5:00 pm. I will be back, good Lord willing and the creek don't rise. It was a good time and I now have lots of ideas of things to do in and around the shack.

Below is a picture of the new K3S. There are some significant differences that I'm sure will be documented soon. Some of the differences will be mods that can be applied to current K3's, other changes will not. Only minor changes to the appearance of the radio


There are always new things to discover and I came across a neat product for portable QRP practioners. One of the processes to getting efficient in portable QRP operation is to try to figure out a reasonable antenna configuration. Enter PackTenna, .

The product is a prepackaged antenna system, including the telescoping 32 ft. pole. The antenna is an innovative design that allows you to configure the antenna as a dipole or a vertical. Check it out.


Finally, I didn't get away without a couple of catches of my own. I found a Navy Flameproof straight-key and a 100 year  commemorative version of the Vibroplex Original semi-automatic key. Both are seen below.

So another Dayton experience in the books, can't wait to go again.

Live From Dayton

I am taking a break at the Dayton Hamvention to capture a few thoughts. This is the first time I've been to Dayton since the late '90's. The good news and bad news is that not much has changed. The good news is that all the cool stuff is here.Yesterday I got a look at the new K3S that Elecraft announced and all the other new toys and old ones are here. It is Ham Radio Heaven from that perspective.

The gatherings around town are still a highlight. The social aspect of Dayton is always a plus, getting to hang out with your "on-air" buddies in person and getting together with people of common interests

So what is the bad news? Hara Arena was in bad need of a facelift in the late 90's and I can't tell that anything has been improved. Even a light rain brings out the buckets, inside, to catch the leaking water. The Flea Market area has crumbling asphalt, to the extent of being dangerous in places. Although it's early on Saturday, the crowds seem much smaller.

I was able to mix in a little SOTA fun while here. The highest point in Ohio is about an hour north of Dayton in Belle Fountain, OH. So I ventured up to there to activate a summit in a new association and get 4 points. 

                  A Collins Amplifier

                  Activating Campbell Hill

I will try to take a few more pictures to day.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Miscelleneous Radio Stuff

I've had so much to blog about lately and so little time to sit down and actually write it down that I felt the need to just say a few words in summary fashion without pictures. So below are a few radio things that I have going on.

As I have blogged in the past, I have a QTH is Santa Fe, NM. From there I have done the majority of my SOTA expeditions. There is a great ham radio community there and an even better SOTA community. Including myself, there are four hams who have earned SOTA Mountain Goat status in the Santa Fe areas and soon to be five. So we have a lot of fun in the mountains of New Mexico. To bring some organization to that group, we have formed the New Mexico Mountain Goat club to promote efficiently summit radio operations. This week the club call was finally issued, NM5MG. So listen for this call around Memorial Day weekend (end of May).

I have built my first stealth antenna with help from AD6D, in the form of a flagpole, at my Santa Fe QTH. The 20 ft. flagpole from ZeroFive antennas works great. I've installed an LDG tuner at the base to get the antenna resonant 10 -20m and added a piece of wire, attached to the flag fastener and raised to the top, in an inverted L configuration to get tuned resonance on 40m and 80m. No doubt it is a compromise, but I'm on the air and can work a lot of stuff.

I will be travelling to Dayton for the first time in 15+ years. I am looking forward to seeing old friends there. My focus in ham radio has matured a lot since the last time I was there, so looking forward to the flea market.

I am also working on perfecting remote operation of my home QTH station in Boerne, TX. Early results are encouraging. I just to need to tweak a few things and get comfortable with the process.

Hopefully next time, I can write some specifics about these projects.