Sunday, August 1, 2021

The new POTA rig goes DXing

20m HamStick

My old-school way of activating parks is more fun and I'll continue to operate that way. But, for some locations, shooting a slingshot and fishing line into a tree is gonna draw attention - and sometimes, that's negative attention.

And some places have no convenient trees. Such was the case on my recent trip to Colorado.

The new method is with my resurrected FT-891 and Bioenno 12V 12AH battery. I have HamSticks for 17, 20, 30 and 40 meters. Today's test went well and I learned that:

  • the FT-891 sucks the juice out of a battery so rapidly that the barometric pressure along the Gulf Coast dropped by 20 millibars.
  • a 40m HamStick has a 2:1 SWR bandwidth of only 100 kHz. This means either CW or phone - not both.
  • the FT-891 is a good (not great) CW rig when set up as per N4HNH's video

The benefit: I can operate anywhere that I can park and draw no attention. The disadvantage: no  one comes over to inquire and get a demo of ham radio.

I've gotten into many conversations while operating from picnic tables, some of which resulted in email exchanges with links to the ARRL and other "What is ham radio all about?" types of websites. That won't happen anymore.

This new (for me) type of operation trades the personalization of ham radio for a greater number of places from which to operate and the ability to more quickly get on the air.

This morning I was tuning the 20m HamStick for lowest SWR on CW and heard a very strong CQ. I was very surprised when I heard the callsign: JE1RZR, calling from Tokyo - 7000 mi/11,200 km away. I was even more surprised when Manabu answered me.

I don't even have the radio properly installed yet. A cup holder mount and extensions to allow separation of radio front panel from its body are due to arrive today. Power came from a Li-Ion battery on the seat with the radio.

Manabu was using 500 watts and a K3 to a 5-element Yagi. When I told him my set-up, he said "Amazing!" I agree, Manabu - thanks for the FB QSO!

I had my phone with me so I quickly enabled the video camera app and recorded our QSO:




Unknown said...

Love my ‘891 as a portable rig…with a 20ah Bioenno battery.

Dave New said...

How many amps does your 891 pull on receive? My portable 100-watt radio is an IC-7000, and I wouldn't presume to run it on battery, it think it pulls 2-3 amps on receive.

John AE5X said...

1.2 to 1.3 depending on band. I'm glad to have the 12AH battery rather than the 9AH I had originally ordered.


JE1RZR said...

Wow! My signal in TX! Cong John and very glad to watch the clip. Your whip is working perfect. CU again and stay safe. Manabu JE1RZR

John AE5X said...

Your 5-element Yagi is doing all the work, Manabu - excellent job and thanks again!


Tim, N9PUZ said...

Do you do anything special regarding the mag mount to ground/bond it to the vehicle or are just running the coax to the radio and using it?

John AE5X said...

Hi Tim,

No, I haven't done anything yet other than placing it on the roof. With it being a magnet mount, I'm not sure how much else I can do except for maybe running radials when I'm on 30 or 40 meters (stationary mobile of course!). I would probably attach them to some part of the car's frame that shows zero resistance with the PL-259/radio's chassis. If I can't find such a place on the frame, I guess I'll have to look into bonding then.