A hike or two, and all sorts of unrelated miscellany

With many updates; February 28th to March 9th

The foresters must have had a bit of fun 50 years ago, planting this perfectly straight promenade on a connecting trail at Wildcat Mountain near the Amphitheater and the Taylor Hollow Overlook.

Cold on Saturday and Sunday, raining on Monday, it was never quite a weekend for radio. Tuesday (February 28th) was sunny, if hazy, and the temperature made it into the 40s; I didn’t feel like taking the time for a park activation but I did go out for a hike at Wildcat Mountain, and just for practice I carried my radio pack with all the bottles full.

About 12 1/2 pounds with all the liquids (hot coffee, cold Gatorade, spring water), but not counting the Icom T90A HT in my jacket pocket

The snow was firm and crunchy, but not icy; ideal for a winter hike. A few skiers and one snowshoer had preceded me on the trail to the Taylor Hollow (so-called) Overlook, which is surrounded by trees whose foliage obscures the view in the summer months. As I often do in the woods, I was monitoring 2 meter simplex on 146.52

One week later:

So most of a week has gone by since then; I am accumulating the parts to make a reasonable approximation of an AX-1 / DS1 style short antenna. Some are from the little plastic drawers of my dozen-or-so parts cabinets, a few from the plumbing section of the little hardware store in the next town, a few coming from Amazon. I will write more about this soon, when I start building it. (March 3rd)

No activation; not even much of a hike.

I went to Mill Bluff State Park this morning, thinking that I might try an activation, but all the gates were closed and locked; no parking! Pulled off onto the wide, flat shoulder by the start of the trail and started out, carrying my radio pack, to climb the stairway to the top of Mill Bluff (223 stone steps; built in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps) but I didn’t get far; the trail was solid icy frozen slush, so irregular and slippery that it was hard to walk on, and the steps were just as bad. I went grocery shopping in Tomah instead. (March 5th)

An FT-817 note

I had been working up an FT-817 radio bag for the car, but that project has kind of gotten re-routed into a pair of 817s and my Arrow satellite antenna, another Dayton Hamvention purchase that has been occupying shelf space for a few years … maybe I will make a few satellite contacts sometime this year! The package will still include the other components needed to use the radios in all of their available modes to meet any situation that might arise.

Waterfowl are another harbinger of spring.

  • down at Kickapoo SWA 3 weeks ago I saw 2 swans? and heard many unusual bird calls.
  • heard the first sandhill crane at least two weeks ago, I’m hearing more and more of them over an increasingly wide area.
  • saw the first pair of geese on Wednesday in New Lisbon; on Thursday there were 4, on Saturday there were a dozen. (March 5th)

About that counterpoise for the 20m Buddipole

Counterpoise blowin’ in the wind at Mirror Lake.

I think it goes back to Winter Field Day, when I was first setting up; the four insulated wires that I had carefully cut to 19 feet back in the summer were in a frightful tangle that my already-numb fingers were not even going to attempt. What to do?

In one of the bags of random antenna supplies that I had tossed into the car I found a 40-something foot length of electric-fence twine that I had thought of using someday as an end-fed random wire antenna; quickly I unrolled it, found the center point (now two 20-something lengths from a common point), attached it to the Versa-Tee, and ran it up into the air. Grabbed a hank of it toward the end and doubled it back on itself and secured it with tape. (in a hurry, hands freezing!) Luck was with me, got a pretty good SWR right away, and used it for both days of WFD and for lack of anything different I have used it on every activation since then. (March 6th)

New battery for portable operating

8/10ths of a pound, not too heavy; and there’s just enough room in the gear bag!

As read by the Watt’sUp meter I typically use about 2 1/2 amp-hours @ 12 nominal volts during an activation, so this should be just the thing for operating in the field this year. (March 6th)

One final waterfowl note

This morning (March 9th) there were between 50 and 60 geese at Riverside Park in New Lisbon!

Weather forecast is for snow later today and overnight, we’ll see what happens!

Parts for the antenna build are mostly here

I still need to find the small hardware and the 22 ga. magnet wire, but this project is moving forward; I will probably do a whole post about it soon.

Speaking of posts, this one has been sitting in draft for close to ten days, time to hit the “publish” button and start on something new!

Thanks for visiting driftlessqrp today!


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