Saturday, September 23, 2006

Scouting for Rover locations in FN24

In preperation for future VHF contests I decided to head down towards South Mountain in FN24 to try to find a good operating location in that grid. Local Rovers currently use a Fn24 location in Oxford Mills which is OK, but I was hoping to find a better spot. Ideal location would have year-round access, space for a vehicle, no near-by power lines, good elevation, few trees, and excallent shots to the north and south.

I packed up the FT-817, a MFJ 2m 3-element portable beam, 8' of mast, and my 5 gallon pail mast support (bucket 1/2 filled with cement ;-) and headed down with my 4 year old daughter Anna for this grand adventure.

Unfortunatly "South Mountain" is more like a gully with the elevation ranging from 80m to 90m and no "Mountain" to speak of. Lots of rolling hills, farms, and mixed forest.

We stopped along the side of Route 1 just south of South Mountain proper in FN24gw. With the 3-element beam I was able to work (using 5w) Rick (VE3CVG) in Fn25mh (~60kms), Doug (VE3XK) in FN15wg (About 55kms) and Al (VO1NO/VES ) in FN24cw (about 20kms) with Q5 copy but very weak signals, which makes me believe that the higher bands would be a tough go. As time was limited we were not able to scout for any locations that were off the main road. Several side roads looked promising so we will try it again soon when we have more time to explore.

I was able to copy the VA3SJS CW beacon on 144.290 from the FN24gw location. The beacon was Q5 copy but very weak. That beacon is going to be very handy in the future to help find good operating locations around Eastern Ontario.

Here are a few pics:

Overview map showing approximate locations of stations involved in this test.

FT-817 and 7.5 Ah battery pack with a Heil Traveller headset packed in a PowerPort backpack in the back of the van:

Pic of my 5 gallon pail mast support with the MFJ 3 element beam pointed North.

This outing was not as sussessful as we had hoped, but it was still fun as Anna and I enjoyed fine dinning afterwards in the Kemptville McDonalds ;-)



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