Sunday, February 28, 2021

First outdoor op with IC-705

I had a very nice two hours of outdoor operating time with the new rig this morning. The weather was fine (a balmy 73F/23C), conditions were good and activity levels were excellent.

I finally learned to use a microphone
 

The QTH was K-3056 Sheldon Lake State Park just east of Houston. It is a birdwatcher's paradise and many (watchers, not birds) were there with binoculars and notebooks. In summer months, alligators sometimes bask in the sunlight, right on one of the many trails.

As can be seen from the photo, I took along the Hardrock-50, easily one of the best purchases I've made for this hobby in 43 years. Since only 2 watts of drive is needed for the amp I didn't need to take along an external battery for the IC-705. The 5 watts provided by its internal battery were more than enough.

Can you see the antenna?
To power the amp I used a 5AH LiPo that is several years old and has suffered through many charge/discharge abuses and more than a few crashes of the RC airplane that was its original home.

All that and it still has its advertised capacity. As an added benefit, the misuse has caused the battery to swell and puff up the exact amount needed to allow it to fit snugly into the heatsink channel of the HR-50.

The antenna was a PAR EFT-MTR that I've has since Noah was a landlubber. The internal autotuner in the HR-50 wasn't needed - the antenna was a near-perfect match on both 20 and 40 meters (I didn't operate on 30m). It was configured as a low-to-the-ground inverted V with the apex at ~20 feet/6m.

Despite that, I was called by stations in Alaska, Slovenia and some lucky dude on a sailboat in Puerta Vallarta. That would be Dan KD3SN/mm. I offered to trade places with him but he didn't seem interested... As Rod Stewart said, "Some guys have all the luck".

I also enjoyed working four other park stations: W8MSC, W1SRR, K6WFV and KD9QKL.

At the conclusion of my 2-hour op with 75 contacts, the IC-705's battery indicator showed that it was only 1/3rd depleted. This was with a 2 watt output from the rig and near constant operation on both phone and CW.

The LiPo powering the HR-50 had 1.6AH remaining, so it was about 70% depleted. I could have probably gotten another 30 minutes out of it. In the future I'll take along the 4s4p LiIon - this should allow more operating time than I'm likely to need.

Many thanks to those who called and my apologies to the few that I just couldn't copy well enough.

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6 comments:

Unknown said...

You had a big signal on the West Coast, Orange County California. de W6LEN / Jess

John AE5X said...

Thanks Jess - good to work you again!
73, John AE5X

VE9KK said...

I tried once again John but no luck! I could hear the stations both DX and local calling you and making contact but just was not able to hear you either on 20 or 40m. During the same time I was operating in the North Carolina QSO party was using the 7610's dual watch to keep an ear open for you. I also had POTA spotting page up on the PC, so I could track your moving from band to band.
73,
Mike
VE9KK

John AE5X said...

GM Mike, thanks for trying. I seemed to have a pipeline to W9. I did work a couple VE3 stations but nothing in New England or the Canadian Maritimes.

In the future I would like to have a better antenna - my options with the end-fed were very limited - no trees taller than 20-25 feet. That won't be a problem for my next outting at a different state park.

Thanks again - I appreciate the effort! 73,
John AE5X

Unknown said...

Hi John... Can I ask if your LiPo is a 3s (12.6V max) or 4s (16.8V max)? I'm guessing 3s, since a 4s would be outside the Hardrock-50 nominal supply voltage, unless you deliberately left the LiPo only partially charged.

John AE5X said...

Yes, it was a 3S LiPo. I have since bought a LiFePO4 battery though and it is a 4S. In that chemistry, 4S produces 14 volts with no load, so close to ideal.