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Operating QRP Portable

Column #82 by John, K3WWP - This column features info from Mike Greenfield, N9JIY who writes:

"John, ...always like your Fists articles, and this note isn't about contesting, but may be of some interest."

I'm sure it will as there is much more to QRP than just contesting. In fact portable operating which MIke discusses is very popular with QRP operators. Back to you Mike.

"Another QRP 'Flavor' may be "Hogan's Heroes" operating.

When I was travelling, I'd often pack a small 80M rig, a small MFJ random wire tuner, wire and various clips/connectors, then try to get out of my motel/hotel room back to the Wisconsin evening CW nets.

Most often antennas had to stay in the room. Sometimes it would work. Sometimes not, but I learned a lot. For example:

1. A banana plug in the 3rd hole on a wall outlet generally makes a pretty good ground, but you can pop your GFI. Water pipes/fixtures are much harder to connect to, and may not work anyway.

2. Keep ant wires away from curtain rods & mirrors. These make tuning impossible.

3. Dont worry much about RFI in the TV. Hotel cable systems are pretty bulletproof.

4. Get a room far from all neon lights, ice machines and similar if you can. These are a huge QRN problem.

5. Rigging a wire out a window is usually not an option. Same with down an interior hallway. Too much mechanical interference.

Keep up the good work & 73!

MikeG/N9JIY, Fists1282, CC1107, CC/M12"

I asked Mike to elaborate further and talk about some of his specific setups and results. Here's what he added in a later email:

"...sounds good. The "when all else fails try this" antenna was a loop of wire layed out on the bed with a cuple of big 10 or 20 ohm non-inductive power resistors in series to get "impedance" close enuf for the tuner to reach.

(I) often cud hear sigs, but cudn't be heard. Occasionally got picked out by sum station & did QNI via QSP.

80M (was) vy tuff fm cramped space, BUT figgered better to try 80M where net ops looking for my sig, recognize it, and willing to work hard to pick it out, than random luck on another band. I think 80M QRP has advantage of regular nets as "targets".

Rig I used then was an ancient Swan MB-80 monobander.

Rig-of-choice now is 40M RockMite outdoors to real single-wire-fed Windom w/o tuner or anything, but w/ a counterpoise layed on ground. Dont know if counterpoise any help, but makes me feel better. Advantages are: No bulky coax, just 20ga wire feed w/ clip on 1 end and banana plug on other. No fat center connector for coax. Just hang ant w nylon string.

Operate at 9V w 2 9V batteries in PARALLEL. Single 9V just not horse enuf for much xmit time, BUT other batteries need bulky holders. Key is Tee-Knee key. Very small. All this makes travel package abt size of really small shaving kit.

Tested final 2N2222 on RockMite key down into open circuit and key down into short circuit. 2N2222 got hot, but didnt blow, so no tuner needed I say! Mite even wrk w end-fed wire, but I figger Windom better. 73! MikeG/N9JIY Fists 1282/1107/12M NAQCC 1791"

Good info Mike. Thanks for sharing. Portable operating can be a lot of fun if you are properly prepared. Mike's info should help in that preparation.

We've had some NAQCC events geared toward portable operating, and will have more in the future. See the NAQCC web site at http://naqcc.info/. Also come visit me at http://home.windstream.net/johnshan/. Till next column, 73. -30-