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Thread: Camp report

  1. #1
    prerunner1982's Avatar
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    Default Camp report

    This last weekend I went camping with some Jeep friends in Sulphur, OK... just a relaxing weekend away and to play a little radio. They are all also hams and brought their HF radios and portable antennas with them.

    On the way down there Friday afternoon I heard someone start talking on the frequency we had set aside for the trip. Based on what he was saying I knew he was part of the group but I couldn't hear who he was talking to. It ends up it was another member of the group at least 30 miles away. I know antenna placement affects range but this is the first time I have ever experienced such a dramatic example of that. The other two have 5/8 wave 2m antennas on the roof and my current XJ just has a fender mount as I knew my radio install would only be temporary. My black 2 door that I am building does have a roof mounted antenna though. Around town the fender mount showed only slight difference from the roof mount, but vehicle to vehicle over a distance it was blatantly obvious.

    Friday we set up camp and antennas and by the time we had dinner we were all pretty tired. I did fire up the radio for a bit though and made contact with South Cook Islands in the South Pacific, a new DX for me. One contact for me but it was a good one.

    When I had set the camp date I hadn't looked to see what contest were going on, but there were multiple QSO parties involving about 15 states so there was going to be enough radio to play with for the weekend, we hoped.

    The weather appeared that it was going to cooperate with us as well with very few clouds and temps in the upper 70s/low 80s and lows in the 50s.

    Saturday morning, woke up at 4am......44. Finally crawled out of bed about 0530, made a fire, and eventually cooked up some breakfast burritos.

    We pretty much played radio all day with 3 of us making contact with South Cook Islands, second time for me with a different operator using a different call sign. A couple of us also made contact with Italy. One guy did it all with 5 watts. I did find out that my radio was not putting out full power (100 watts), it's more around 50 and I have not yet figured out why.

    Sunday morning was a much nicer 52 and I was able to get a nice comfortable 6hrs of sleep. Started breaking down camp while it was still cool out. Kept the radio on and would make contacts between packing, the last thing to get taken down and packed was the antenna. Two of us were able to make contact with Australia, which is now my longest contact at about 8600 miles. Again one guy did it on 5 watts.

    Had a good time and we all learned a few things to make out setups better.

    My antenna is a fan dipole with 20m and 40m (20m will do 6m and 40m will do 15m) atop an 18' collapsible mast. It can also we strung up into a tree with a rope. Once I finally got it dialed in it worked well.

    In total I made 56 contacts with the other guys getting 20-40 each.

    We had quite a few people stopping and asking us what we were up to....
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Camp.jpg   camp1.jpg  

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    Last edited by prerunner1982; 05-09-2017 at 11:05 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Camp report

    What kind of radio/ant. setup was the 5w guy running, do you know by chance?? And when the people stopped by, I would have just told them you were talking with people from outer space!! At the right time(s) you could do that... so wouldn't' be a complete lie.. lol
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Camp report

    Quote Originally Posted by bluedragon436 View Post
    What kind of radio/ant. setup was the 5w guy running, do you know by chance??

    I believe he was using a Yaesu FT-817 with a telescopic 20m antenna and/or wire dipole.

    Quote Originally Posted by bluedragon436 View Post
    And when the people stopped by, I would have just told them you were talking with people from outer space!! At the right time(s) you could do that... so wouldn't' be a complete lie.. lol
    I have said something along the lines of trying to contact the mothership, but generally take the time to explain ham radio to them
    Last edited by prerunner1982; 05-11-2017 at 05:05 PM.
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    Default Re: Camp report

    Nicely done Jon! Australia and Rarotonga?! I picked up E51DLD last Saturday on 20m as well. What bands did you work them on?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Camp report

    20m for both.
    Australia was on a DX net that is on 14.240 every morning. He was booming in.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Camp report

    Turned this into an annual trip. Had a couple new guys join us this year.
    Decided to try a different location this year about an hour further down the road, McGee Creek State Park.
    I had hoped that everyone could get into some of the first come first serve camp sites near the sites that myself and another guy had reserved but surprisingly when the first guy got there at 7am on a Friday morning the entire place was full so we all ended up in 2 camp sites. It worked out well as we took turns working stations.

    20m was good and with the multiple contest going on I was able to work coast to coast well into the evening. Saturday night after 10pm I tuned tuned to a net on 20m, the net control was in HI and was booming in with a great signal. There was also a station from New Zealand that was coming in great as well. Both were running 600-1000 watts on beam antennas. I waited until after the net and called the NZ station (ZL2OK) and after a couple of tries was able to easily work him with 100 watts and a wire inverted V up 18'.

    Had a great time as always and can't wait until next year.
    View from the front door of my tent.
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    Saturday morning sunrise.
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    And then the fog moved in.
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    A friends set up for the weekend.
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    Last edited by prerunner1982; 05-11-2018 at 03:41 PM.
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Camp report

    Another friends setup for the weekend. Yep, I have at least 2 friends.
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    Sunset Saturday night.
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Camp report

    Hope ya spoke slowly for the Aussie ... oi
    keeping it red........

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    Default Re: Camp report

    That's pretty cool deal.. I need to get on it and get my lisc., and start doing something like this maybe annually... Especially now that I'm up in the mountains now, I can actually get up and get some signal and good contacts... unlike when I was living at sea level up in DE!!
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Camp report

    Another year... we were at the same place as last year, McGee Creek Res but this year the water was almost up to the camp pad so we were lacking much of the room we had last year.
    We made the best of it and had a good time. I didn't make many contacts but got some projects done.
    Got my solar panel setup working and build a balun.
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    Default Re: Camp report

    Nice. Running fully off grid?

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    Default Re: Camp report

    This year I would be chaperoning a camp with my middle daughter the first of the week following our camp trip so I left McGee creek and headed up to Sulphur, Ok and the Chickasaw National Rec area as it was only about 20 miles away from where the YMCA camp where I would meet my daughter. The camp area I had intended on staying was closed, not sure if it was due to flooding as Oklahoma has received more rain than Noah ever had. I made my way up to another "primitive" camp area and found it open, but not a single person camping there. Out of the 60 camp sites I was the only one there. It was nice and eerie at the same time.
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Camp report

    Yes sir. For now just running radios but would like to add a fridge at some point.
    The radios are all mounted in the back of my Jeep, I run extension cables for the HF radio control head and mic. The APRS radio ran the whole week I was away non-stop. Never had a problem so I am happy with the setup at the moment.
    I will have it all setup again next weekend for Field Day, pending any inclimate weather which is happening often lately.
    Unfinished Radio box in the back of the XJ: https://youtu.be/HB1TaPqS-Jg
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    Default Re: Camp report

    I had heard on the news that it was wet. Proof positive
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