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Cofounders in the wind



2020 Assateague  

5 members have voted

  1. 1. Would you be 'possibly' interested in joining us next November 2020 for an Assateague outing? This is not a commitment, we just want to have a general idea if people would want to join us for three or four days by the Ocean.

    • If nothing major comes up, would love to
    • Maybe
    • Sorry, can't

Blog post category: Personal opinion

Every year for the past three years, a group of us, notably the co-founders of Ham Community, has gone out to Assateague Island, by the Atlantic Ocean, on the first weekend after November 15. Yes, it's always a little cold and a little windy. Yes, we have to pay $20 to get into the park and $30 a night for a spot. No, it's not pure wilderness camping. But yes, it's magnificent. What beats getting out into the field with one's amateur radio buddies, setting up, operating, having a nice chat around the fire, and then tearing down?

This year, two of our regulars could not make it. We still managed to get five people out there including myself, @W4DOI, @KW4TO, @KC3LUM and W2LNX (David) who is not yet a Ham Community member. Alan, Glenn and I arrived Thursday, Josh joined us Friday morning super early, and David arrived rather late on Friday.

On the one hand, as you will read, the weekend was an utter failure. On the other hand, it was a resounding success. In all cases, it was windy, really really windy. We were warned, and we did not heed. We could outdo the wind. And we could have, but some of our gear failed, making it a little difficult to continue.

large.1053789311_assateague2019-34.jpegOn the failure side, we simply did not have a chance to operate for any length of time. What basically happened is that our operating tent failed and started to blow away. Worse – this was Saturday – we saw the forecast for Sunday. It would be as windy as Saturday but raining, and raining hard. That would have meant taking down camp and antennas in pelting, horizontal, rain and sand, blowing in our face, not to mention the high probability of a storm surge; in fact, on Friday night the water came up to the base of the antennas. We did not catch it on film or video, but when we went out in the morning, the puddles were still there. So we decided to tear down. This said, there was some good news.

One of the main goals of this year's outing was to test our new bow and arrow, 40m, wire, four-element beam with its 20m companion. Setting it up and tearing it down in the wind were no easy task. In fact, tomorrow will be spent untangling said wires. But we did have time, thanks to @KW4TO, to test the antenna with his Yaesu 817 and WSPR. The results were fantastic. We reached the Ile de la Réunion, in the Indian Ocean, with 5W. Also, the test showed clearly that the antenna was definitely directional.

The basic concept of the antenna is to have two corner masts and one at the apex of a triangle. Running directly between the two forward masts is a director. Then, connected by a central guy, are three wires including a first director, the active element and a reflector.

Next year? We'll see, but there was talk of opening the event to a greater number of Community members and using the group campsite that can host up to 30 people. To be continued.


K3MRI – clear.

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I used to do this in the '80s with my dad and Hammerlund SP Rx only (in the summer with the cool sea breeze clearing the bugs), and sometimes a kite to hoist the antenna.  Maybe next year I'll have time to join you for a note worthy adventure of nautical & electrical forces.  Good for you guys. 

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