Field Testing the new portable 80M vertical antenna

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Between Christmas and just after New Year I have been able to get in, three, two night trips away.  One at the family farm in country Victoria, one in the Big River State Forest Taking my four year old daughter and the most recent with VK3MRG were we headed out past Warburton into the surrounds of Reefton.  Apart from hanging out with family and friends I also wanted to do some real world testing of the new portable 80M vertical antenna.  However a seperate blog on how that’s worked out for me coming soon.

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Each of the trips away bought about challenges with equipment dealing with rain, wind, extreme heat and a four year old.  On the most recent trip Marshall and I experienced the extremes in temperatures.  With day one temperatures hitting the low thirties with the following day’s temperature to hit fourth three degrees.  The cool change promised never seemed to come until around seven pm and even then it wasn’t as dramatic as other area’s had commented on ABC radio.  Being a state wide total fire ban day we were monitoring ABC radio as well as local CFA frequencies for most of the day. 

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Keeping batteries charged with solar was a challenge as the solar blanket was only 120 watts and the fridges compressor seemed to run most of the time as expected under those conditions.  We were keeping in touch using digital HF as we had no VHF/ UHF comms.  So our second battery which is only 25% the size of our primary battery got a hammering.  However by using several systems, Emcomm and Winlink we were able to get messages in and out of our site.  We had no telephone comms coverage area with Optus and  Telstra had marginal coverage allowing Marshal on days two and three to get the occasional SMS. 

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Keeping hydrated in extreme temperatures is so important and I think on day two I drunk around 6 litres of water.  Marshall had several good idea’s while away on this adventure and one of those we have to thank Little Creatures, Session Ale, Dog Days for their support.  Radio and Beer do mix in moderation until you run out (of either).  However hear my warning if you over Hydrate you run the risk of needing after noon nap (right Marshall). 

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Marshalls other great idea to support the VK3KQ, VHF / UHF field day station in maximising their points is centred around keeping Ralph, VK3LL at the microphone longer.  So Ralph we have developed the ultimate radio seat for you .  It will enable you not to have to make the drive to the nearest outpost minimising any near misses.  It puts a hole new meaning to talking S@%@#^T on the air :-). 

Day 3 we made a side trip to Mt Donna Buang were it was raining, in cloud and 10 degrees C.  Fourty three degrees the day before who would have thought.

73’s and Happy New Year

Mark - VK3MDH