A non-QRP post

DIY stuff around the house has been taking up a lot of my time these past few weeks, with a proportionate decrease in park activations! I keep on thinking about sort-of-related things that might make interesting posts though, so here are a few of them for your entertainment:

circa 10/13/23:

Interesting reading, and maybe a winter project

Over at qrper.com, Thomas, K4SWL, has been curating a gallery of guest posts about the field radio kits used by other POTA / SOTA operators. A recent entry was based on a Yaesu FT-857, a compact but high power (100 watt, or “non-qrp”) rig, and while I was reading it got me thinking … I own an 857, one that has lived in a box for years; I have a PowerPort WorldPack II which was designed to hold that type of radio (I bought it for pennies at a hamfest about a decade ago and have never used it once); I have that Bioenno 15 amp-hour 12 volt battery that I bought for my Oak Island trip earlier this year … in other words, all of the basics for building up a similar kit for my own use! Watch for more about this in the next few months!

circa 10/16/23:


I have found time for a couple of hikes, though; Old Settlers Trail at Wildcat Mountain mostly, though one Sunday morning I did what I call the Mill Bluff Trifecta: the Camel Bluff Trail, the Nature Trail around the base of Mill Bluff, and the 223 steps up to the top of Mill Bluff. This morning I chose to hike the Ice Cave Trail at Wildcat, to tread the fine line between “enough hike to invigorate” and “hiked so much I had no energy for household DIY projects”, and I think that worked out pretty well!

Along the creek that flows near the trail, something that looked like a long spiderweb strand in the sun caught my eye; on closer examination it proved to be a strand of monofilament fishing line. Nasty stuff to leave lying around out in the wild woods! Pulled and wrapped, pulled and wrapped, again and again until I had maybe 30 feet of the stuff; back at the car I cut across the loops, reducing it to a handful of 6 inch pieces that went into my trash bag.

A sudden return of Oak Island memories

Weather in the Driftless is growing chillier, and as I went out for a hike about a week ago I grabbed my fleece jacket off the hook where it has been hanging, well, since I got back from Oak Island apparently. In the pockets was a perfectly preserved slice of that trip: a compass; two AAA flashlights that I haven’t seen in a long time; a pocketknife, notebook & pen, hardcopy campsite permits; clearly I got home on June 5th, hung it up, and didn’t need it for the next 4 months. What a bunch of pleasant memories it brought back to mind!

Back in August I was having a few thoughts of trying to squeeze in another visit in the after-Labor-Day / first-week-of-October time frame, but the idea stayed an idle thought and didn’t really go forward at all. Right now I am thinking to go back again about the same time next year; first week in June, more-or-less, and for more like 5 to 7 days on the island. I think I can pack better and more efficiently this time, and do more with the same (or maybe even less) load.

Nature notes

  • It seemed as though the rain we got a couple of weeks ago halted the rapid progression of fall color we had been seeing, but now it seems to have picked up again where it left off. Water levels in the streams are still low, the rain has been soaked up rather than running off.
  • Seeing a lot of eagles and big hawks lately.
  • The cranes seem to be doing their pre-migration gathering, hundreds of them seen all together in the harvested fields. Were they gleaning spilled corn or soybeans?
  • The garden is about finished; still harvesting kale, herbs, and some San Marzano tomatoes. I already miss having fresh cucumbers every day!


Two thoughts about lightweight QRP radios

Another addition to K4SWL’s gallery of QRP radio kits posted the other day; an ultra-light setup by Adam, K6ARK. Under one pound, wow!

Elecraft just released the KH1, a handheld portable transceiver that might well have been designed with park and summit operation in mind. Thomas, K4SWL posted about it today at qrper.com, and will be doing a review soon. Literally handheld; costly but tempting, and also under a pound with all the options!


A rainy morning in the driftless.

  • A DIY-around-the-house day, it would seem.
  • Hiked the Ice Cave trail yesterday, after a supply run; I think this area is right at peak fall color right now, and leaves are falling fast. Same situation at Camel Bluff.
  • I think I have figured out how to use FT8CN with the (tr)uSDX, but I won’t have much of a chance to try it out before next weekend.

One more picture, just because:

Southern “hump” of Camel Bluff on Saturday afternoon.

Well, that’s almost 2 weeks of random thoughts; about time to hit “publish” ! I added a few dates to give a sense of the progression of the post, and to smooth over all the places where I used “yesterday” or “last week”, etc.

Thanks for visiting, thanks for reading, more soon!


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