Winter Field Day 2018 Part 1

This winter field day was a little different as lots of preparation work was required, to get my signals into North America.
I started Saturday morning setting up the shelter, chopping wood, and getting gear setup. That didn’t even include powering on the radio. Once the physical station was setup, I turned my attention to the spiderbeam telescopic mast and the Chameleon CHA TD terminated dipole.

Two things needed to happen if I was really going to make it into North America on Sunday. First, I would need to find an antenna configuration that was directional, and compatible with the spiderbeam 12 meter mast. Second, I would need to test using some digital mode which gives me instantaneous signal to noise ratio so I could fine tune the azimuth of the antenna in real-time. wSPR was too slow for this task!

I decided on a rather strange antenna configuration, but it seems to be working. That configuration is a Lazy-L, with the long end sloping to 330° North West. I used FT8 to get spots into, and out of North America. The majority of spots came we’re situated in the Midwest and Northeast Corridors. With a little more tuning, I was able to cover most of the United States simultaneously.

If you have previously followed my spots on psk reporter, you would see that I’m constantly hitting Japan and South Korea. That’s because I wasn’t taking in to account magnetic north vs North on a map (thanks Bonnie KQ6XA). Noob mistake, but it made all the difference. The following image shows you all the spots I’m getting from North America, once the Azimuth of my antenna was correct.

I’ve never had this many spots from North America in a single session, so this gives me some confidence that my goal of reaching North America and completing a qso for winter field day, from a portable qrp station might actually be successful.

Let’s finish up this post with my comms gear.

From left to right top to bottom.

  • Asus Eee pc running wsjt-x for azimuth testing and all the normal software.
  • ZLP MiniProSC was the audio interface between the radio and the laptop.
  • QRPver 10w amplifier
  • LDG z817 antenna tuner
  • Yaesu FT-817ND
  • Chameleon CHA TD in Lazy L configuration
  • Spiderbeam 12m telescopic mast

Sunday I will be back on from 12 UTC until 18 UTC shoot me an email at my callsign at (text only).

Julian oh8stn