Even though we have leased the farm for months, I first got around to setting up a portable station this weekend. Usually when I am on Washington Island I have the luxury of guest operating from George W9EVT’s mega-shack, and even in this attempt George W9EVT saved the day helping me get on the air.
Equipment used was:
- SteppIR CrankIR antenna with radial and 80m kits
- FlexRadio System Flex-6300 transceiver
- A Toshiba Laptop running Win7-Pro I borrowed from work
- Power supply from my spares shelf
- Cisco gigabit router
- cables and power cords/distribution from my spares
This was our first use of the CrankIR and the Flex-6300, so we had a bit of a learning curve. It was also a fresh install of SmartSDR, SmartCAT, DAX, and fldigi on the Toshiba which all had to be configured.
Pictures cannot convey the experience of doing a first time setup of the CrankIR – an easy task once you’ve done it, but a dickens the first time. Winston KC9FVR helped the first setup and I don’t think I could have done it first time without my son’s participation.
I quickly discovered I had no audio out – I forgot to bring a headset or speakers, and ten Flex-6300 does not have an internal speaker, so my initial efforts were digital mode.
No joy there as my signal apparently wasn’t readable on PSK31 and without audio out the portable stup wasn’t going anywhere.
So the next day, hat in hand, I borrowed a headset from George W9EVT and switched to SSB.
Fairly quickly I was able to work a good number of stations on 20m and 15m phone, including several DX stations.
Found that the software juggling on the laptop was a pain, and ended up doing all the logging on the cardboard tabletop cover I used to have a mouse-ready surface. Later I entered the QSOs into eQSL and I’ll import the adi log file into my main log later.
Mother Nature ended my activation early as it started to rain and the winds started whipping. Knocking everything down went smoothly and with Labor Day still windy & rainy, further Rocky Ridge Farm activation will wait for another day.
Of course I have updated my gear checklist to include headphones and speakers for the next activation.