Saturday, August 26, 2023

#QRP from Winterberg DL

 On vacation in Winterberg Germany I brought my portable station with me to do some experiments. Because I was with my family I could not do any SSB as voice would disturb the others. But of course there is a lot to do with various digital modes on HF.

My location near Winterberg was on a side of a hill 577m height at locator JO41gg. I've been QRV on 3 different occassions. The first time was to setup the station and get it working. I've tried at home but setting up away from home is different. In the end I found the right way to connect everything and get the most out of this portable setup.  The station consisted of a Yaesu FT-817 (5W), homemade Magnetic Loop Antenna (MLA) and a Dell Latitude E5250 laptop. Coax 50 Ohm H155 with quality connectors. The radio was connected to a 5Ah Li-Ion battery.

This was basically my working position on the balcony. Which of course is a lot more comfortable compared to fieldwork. The complete station fits in the backpack viewed behind the laptop. The extra green loop is to extend the antenna for the lowbands 80m and 60m, which I did not do this time. I only worked 40m and 20m on VarAC, JS8call and FT8.  In my opinion most efficient mode in this case was JS8.

Result 21-August: Worked GI0IOT on VARA but signal went missing into the noise.

Result 23-August Yellow is 20m, Blue is 40m. Made contacts with GJ0KYZ on 20m FT8, PD0WAG on 40m JS8, MI0NWA on 20m FT8, EA5FHG on 20m VARA.

I have to say, VarAC is very convinient to work with. But JS8Call is clearly the winner this time. It's a lot more sensitive and very suitable for QRP. 

Results 25-August: I had a nice QSO with Tony GM0DHD. Both sides wit QRP and in most sensitive mode which is 8wpm. Signal was very good and a faster mode would have been possible. Before that I contacted OH8STN Julian who had a great signal down here, I left him a message which I hope he received it. I tried VarAC and FT8 and received a lot of stations but wasn't replied by someone unfortunately. 

Oh yes, JS8call receive reports. Nothing while calling on FT8 though...

At the end the battery went low so I decided to do some WSPR till it switches off.

WSPR RX reports

WSPR TX reports

Unfortunately 15 minutes later the battery switched off and the laptop battery went low. It was time to end the experiment.

I now know that especially in case of an emergency it is possible to setup this simple tiny station within 10 minutes. And make contacts at least in Europe and with a bit more patience possible across the atlantic. 


VE9KK said...

Good morning Bas, I very nice portable setup and some good results to build on regarding portable digital setup and operation.

PE4BAS, Bas said...

Hello Mike, tnx for the comment. You know how things go with a mla. It is very difficult. But the reward is big when you finally make a solid contact especially when it is someone that is also QRP. Even using digital. 73, Bas

MadDogMcQ said...

Great read Bas. I enjoy other people's posts about working away from home, more than any other. Looks like a fine setup and reminds me of my HamLoop/705 arrangement.

I keep saying this - I MUST TRY JS8CALL!! Never tried it so far but I WILL soon! LOL

Take care,
Tom, M7MCQ.

PE4BAS, Bas said...

Hello Tom, tnx for your comment. JS8Call is really worth trying, although the big disadvantage is time keeping like FT8. I got a tiny GPS receiver which connects through bluetooth, it will keep track of the correct time with dedicated software. But you need at least a GPS signal which is difficult inside a building. In this case I had WiFi because I was almost inside the apartment. VarAC (VARA) doesn't need time keeping but is less sensitive. VarAC is more convinient and the software looks are great, it is also regulary updated. Imagine not so long ago we nly had CW and SSB (phone) to communicate with, these digimodes are a huge advantage. 73, Bas