Tuesday, June 21, 2022

mcHF is going to Ecuador

 


I'll be spending most of July and part of August in Ecuador, escaping the Florida heat in the mountainous towns of Quito (for one week) and Cuenca (for 3 weeks).

As a kid, I often listened to HCJB, the "Voice of the Andes" and wondered what such a place must be like. I'll find out soon. 

I've settled on the mcHF as the rig that I'll be trying to get through Customs, with lithium battery. To the uninitiated, I'm sure it'll look suspicious. 

"Es un radio" I'll say, before letting my eposa linda take over with a more articulate explanation in fluent Spanish.
 
Why the mcHF?
  • It's inexpensive, small & lightweight
  • Operates 10-80 meters with 10 watts
  • It easily (one USB cable) operates digital modes if CW activity is lacking

Although photography will be the priority, two POTA-valid parks beckon: Parque Nacional Cotopaxi HC-0002 (near Quito) and Parque Nacional Cajas HC-0001 (near Cuenca). Neither have ever been activated.

The parking areas are surrounded by mountains, so I'm not hopeful of being able to complete 10 contacts required for an activation, especially for Cotopaxi, although we can drive up to the 16,000-foot level (4900m) where the glacier begins.

Our physical reaction to that altitude may prevent this. We stayed in Cuzco Peru years ago, at 3400m with no ill effects - but 4900m is another animal.

Cajas will be easier as a high-altitude road (3100-4400m) traverses the park for many miles.

The antenna will be the MFJ-1979 telescoping whip. Retracted for travel, it will be attached to my camera tripod. Extended, it becomes a 1/4-wave vertical for 20 meters. A magnetic base/RG-58 assembly will be tucked away in the luggage.

.
.

6 comments:

  1. Good morning John, have a great trip and I am sure you will come back with some great pictures. My father-in-law way back used to work for HCJB when it was in Quito. He was involved in the programming end of things. I remember when they came back to Canada we would sit in the living room and he provided us with an amazing slide show of the area.
    73,
    Mike
    VE9KK

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Mike, we're very much looking forward to it. Sounds like your father-in-law's life there was an adventure - it's too bad HCJB's SW service is now relegated to the history files, shut down in 2009. I would love to have seen it.

    73,
    John

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh my goodness that sounds like fun! Ecuador is on my bucket list for sure. Can't wait to read your report(s).
    Anything special to operate there? I've never looked to see if we have a reciprocal agreement.
    -Thomas (K4SWL)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Thomas, Ecuador & the US do have a recip agreement but we still have to do just a bit of paperwork. The Guayaquil Radio Club assists with that.

      Happy Birthday and I hope you're having fun in VE2-Land!

      73,
      John

      Delete
  4. Unfortunately I can´t comment on your blog with my google account, it´s not only you but every blogger blog. I did write about a workaround however hope google will solve this problem soon. Have a great trip and hope to see some beautiful photography here. The chance of working you will be limited I guess. You know were the original quad antenna idea was made I guess? The HCJB antennas are probabely long gone, just like many other good SW stations. 73, Bas

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Bas,

      Yes, I am aware of the commenting problem introduced by Blogger "updates". That's the problem with free blogs on a Google platform - they own the content and the implementation, not us.

      Years ago, flying into Quito was a bit dangerous due to the location of the old airport being in a valley between mountains. So they built a new, modern airport where HCJB used to be - high on a flat plateau. My plane will be landing on the old HCJB QTH!

      I doubt we'll work each other - it would take a miracle to get into EU I think. I have researched the terrain around car-accessible areas on Cotopaxi and will have an unobstructed view to my North, so getting into W/VE should be possible after all...if propagation permits.

      73,
      John

      Delete