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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

An impromptu field test of my FT817 and Squid pole.

I recently acquired a second-hand FT817. It's got warts but it is never-the-less a capable little rig that I purchased specifically for HFpack purposes.

Only yesterday I'd purchased three heavy duty 7m squid poles and spikes from Haverford Pty Ltd, a local supplier in Sydney. I don't mind plugging these guys as their product seems very good quality and was a great price. As soon as I walked in the door and asked for squid poles the response was: "For radio use?". I guess I don't look like the fishing type :^)

Today, while on leave from work with the kids who are on school holidays we took them bike riding at a large nearby park. It occurred to me that this would be a good opportunity to give the radio a try.

Anyway .. I quickly grabbed a back-pack, the FT817, a squid pole, a spike, a pair of diagonal-cutters, a length of wire, my old antenna tuning unit and a patch cable and stuffed, or strapped stuff onto the bike before I went. It literally took me about 20 minutes to collect and pack the relevant bits and pieces.

After arriving at the park I found a shaded spot and stuck the spike into the ground helped by a handy bit of wood as the soil was firm. I threaded a length of wire inside the pole and used the rubber cap at the top to hold it in place. A strap around the spike secured the pole into the spike. Another length of wire run along the ground served as a counter-poise. Connected both to the tuner and the tuner to the radio.

After working out that I had the radio misconfigured to use a filter that wasn't installed, everything was up and running. Again, it took about 20 minutes to assemble.

I didn't bother trying to make contact with anyone this time, I didn't have time to charge the batteries. So instead I tuned the antenna for all HF bands in turn and listened about to what was to be heard. I've been out of touch with HF for quite a few years. I was surprised. This setup seemed to work really well for something thrown together with little thought or planning. I spent a short time listening to some Shortwave thinking about what I'd do differently next time and then packed up again to join the kids.

I'm pretty enthused. I've got my eye on the Elecraft T1 tuner; it looks perfect for my intended use. Now to plan the hiking trip :^)

1 comment:

  1. You should try 23cm FM, just look for a high hill, 23cm Xcvr, a Double-Quad antenna, a short bit of coax and a battery of course, the Double Quad very small, but excellent on 23cm.
    With SSB u can work a couple hundred kms, in some respects, can be easier than 2m & 70cm. I documented some portable locations I been testing on my VK2KFJ Field Portable webpage and my VK2KFJ blog.