Portable Activity (4)
In an earlier blog my silver Ford van can be seen in a drone picture; so here's a little more detail about it.
Named Kath after my late mum the van is my mobile shack; I drive a car for trips out so the van is pretty much dedicated to amateur radio and TV. For security reasons I load the kit just before driving to the location. You'll see from the picture of the interior that some storage has been built in by one of my sons. Noticeable also is the outing was a rush job and therefore very untidy. On this particular occasion we were just granted an NOV for DATV in the four metre band so all was prepared in a hurry.
For power I use a 110 Amp leisure battery and a Honda 1000Watt generator; the battery is isolated from the vehicle electrics. During cold weather the generator can power a 600Watt heater. On the van roof bars I have added some clamps for mast support on windy days. The clamps secure a crossbar which overhangs either the offside front or nearside rear of the van. You might imagine using a van allows plenty of space for both carrying kit and operating, I found whatever size vehicle you use you'll always fill it.
Here are a few pictures.
Kath on Dunstable Downs
Hasty 4m setup September 2018
Rack and shelving in the workshop
Using the smart phone app Zello it's possible to use your phone in "Walkie Talkie" mode. This has proved to be very useful when operating portable.
In the south of england Shaun G8VPG has setup a Zello group ATV south. Since I wasn't aware of any group in the east I have created group ATV East with an uncomplicated sign in procedure. Please feel free to register if you either operate portable or wish to listen in during BATC Activity Weekends.
Arthur G4CPE and I had a test arranged for 10.30 this morning with Ian G3KKD. It was scheduled for a few weeks back but Ian went down with flu and so had to defer it. We both had new kit to test and were hopeful for some good results.
On arrival at Dunstable Downs I could see we were going to struggle with all the new hedge and tree growth; it had been much clearer on my last visit. Ian gave us a call just a little before 10.30 and told us he hadn't been able to access the spot he wanted; all considered it wasn't looking too promising.
My latest rig is running about 8 watts into a grid antenna so under the right conditions we should have been a cracking signal over 37K. Sadly it was not to be and after several attempts we had to settle for a fail.
So Arthur and I decided to send in a report regardless; we can't win all the time.
At least we got some good stills and video courtesy of our good friend Don G0WFT who risked the wrath of the National Trust to get some airborne shots.
Today was our local club boot sale; and Stockwood Park was bathed in sunshine from early morning.
My Son Rob and Grandson Archie had agreed to meet me there and help demo some Amateur TV gear. My mobile shack was fitted with modules for 70cm and 13cm DATV, alongside the shack we rigged a tripod with the 5GHz ATV equipment. We also used the day to test a new mast mounting in preparation for the June IARU contest.
Both the mobile shack and 5GHz equipment attracted a fair amount of interest; there were a few visitors who were in the process of building 5GHz portable gear. It was nice to put faces to some recent contacts.
Biased I may be but it was one of the best amateur radio events I have attended. A thoroughly enjoyable day.